Northern Cattle Capers

There’s a story told, in the far north,
I’ll spin for you now, for what it’s worth.
Some say it’s true, but I’m not sure:
We’ll call it "fiction" – stay within the law.
Anyhow, it’s many years ago,
So it wouldn’t be anyone you know.

It seems some stock, from a well know Station,
That was part of a family aggregation
Had wandered off – with some help, was suggested:
Local "trackers," had been thoroughly tested.
Near three hundred cattle and five fine horses,
Were tracked down several watercourses.

Whoever had done it, showed sound bush sense;
They’d covered their tracks, and mended the fence.
It looked like they’d built a portable yard
And brought in two road trains,
While the ground was hard.
Three inches of rain, left a subsequent puddle:
Cattle, horse and truck tracks, a terrible muddle.

Brisbane Detectives, spent two weeks or more,
With local "trackers" they tackled the chore,
But had to admit the trail had gone cold:
The rain washed the tracks out,
And the culprits, bold
Had seemed to "escape": at least for that day –
But the law had a plan for another way.

See, the cattle were fat, and ready for slaughter,
So the Detectives went, with the Owners daughter,
To all the meatworks for miles around,
Asked them to notify, if the brand was found
Amongst any cattle sent to the works;
Then, went to the saleyards; they knew all the lurks.

Four months went by, without a trace;
It seemed the D’s had egg on their face,
When a meatworks down the road from Cairns
Spotted a cow, with the "wanted" brands.
She’d come from an auction, so tracing was hard
And of course she’d been put
In the wrong buyers’ yard.

But the D’s were keen to get on the track,
And so to Cairns, from Brisbane flew back
And drove to the Station, the cattle had come from
With a warrant to search –
They were keen to find them.
The owner was sure ‘twas a "genuine mistake"
And every co- operation, he’d make.

"My two best stock-horses,
will be saddled and waiting,"
"I’ll bring in the stock camp,
They’re out Dingo baiting,"
"Just take whatever time you need,"
"I’ll send the camp cook, to give you a feed."
Ten days they mustered the dry hard ground,
And none of the "wanted" brands, were found.

Three days spell, for men and horses,
Then back again, to the dry watercourses,
For two weeks more, with no success.
So they headed home to Brisbane, no less.
And in outback pubs, in far north Queensland,
The yarns were flying, of the "wanted" cow brand.

You’d know about the "Ned Kelly" syndrome,
Where "dodgy" types, can be heroes ‘round home.
And the Law can be treated with scant regard,
When the locals make crime solving hard:

It seems that the neighbours
Had scattered the cattle,
So the Detectives had an uphill battle,
And for three weeks, the Brisbane law enforcers
Had been riding two of the stolen horses.

©Dennis Scanlon – July 2004