Andy Page’s Rival

AND he hadn’t any “ideers”—at least, he said so himself— except as regarded anything that looked to him like what he called “funny business”, under which heading he catalogued tyranny, treachery, interference with the liberty of the subject by the subject, “blanky” lies, or swindles—all things, in short, that seemed to his slow understanding dishonest, mean or paltry; most especially, and above all, treachery to a mate. That he could never forget. Andy was uncomfortably “straight”. His mind worked slowly and his decisions were, as a rule, right and just; and when he once came to a conclusion concerning any man or matter, or decided upon a course of action,

Continue reading →

Brighten’s Sister-in-law

JIM was born on Gulgong, New South Wales. We used to say ‘on’ Gulgong—and old diggers still talked of being ‘on th’ Gulgong’— though the goldfield there had been worked out for years, and the place was only a dusty little pastoral town in the scrubs. Gulgong was about the last of the great alluvial ‘rushes’ of the ‘roaring days’—and dreary and dismal enough it looked when I was there. The expression ‘on’ came from being on the ‘diggings’ or goldfield—the workings or the goldfield was all underneath, of course, so we lived (or starved) on them—not in nor at ’em. Mary and I had been married about two years when Jim came—— His name wasn’t ‘Jim’, by the way, it was ‘John Henry’, after an uncle godfather;

Continue reading →

Bermagui – In a Strange Sunset

BERMAGUI: Where The Mystery was – and where mystery is. Sunset, and a sad, old mysterious bright gold fan-like to dull copper one. Red flag with broad white cross; gloomy and half fearful, half threatening in sunset glare.
Sort of jumbled curve of bay – sand, rotten rock and beach scrub and tussock. As if it were meant to be a clean curve with white sand. But juttings-out of rotting earth and sand and bastard rock that were not “points” nor anything else were left – mixed up with scraggy bush and scrub and coarse tufts that Nature forgot, or hadn’t time to shove away and tidy up.

Continue reading →

The Loaded Dog

DAVE REGAN, Jim Bently, and Andy Page were sinking a shaft at Stony Creek in search of a rich gold quartz reef which was supposed to exist in the vicinity. There is always a rich reef supposed to exist in the vicinity; the only questions are whether it is ten feet or hundreds beneath the surface, and in which direction. They had struck some pretty solid rock, also water which kept them baling. They used the old-fashioned blasting-powder and time-fuse. They’d make a sausage or cartridge of blasting-powder in a skin of strong calico or canvas, the mouth sewn and bound round the end of the fuse;

Continue reading →

The Bath

THE MORAL should be revived. Therefore, this is a story with a moral. The lower end of Bill Street—otherwise William—overlooks Blue’s Point Road, with a vacant wedge-shaped allotment running down from a Scottish church between Bill Street the aforesaid and the road, and a terrace on the other side of the road. A cheap, mean-looking terrace of houses, flush with the pavement, each with two windows upstairs and a large one in the middle downstairs, with a slit on one side of it called a door—looking remarkably skully in ghastly dawns, afterglows, and rainy afternoons and evenings.

Continue reading →

A Case for the Oracle

The Oracle and I were camped together. The Oracle was a bricklayer by trade, and had two or three small contracts on hand. I was “doing a bit of house-painting”. There were a plasterer, a carpenter, and a plumber — we were all T’othersiders, and old mates, and we worked things together. It was in Westralia — the Land of T’othersiders — and, therefore, we were not surprised when Mitchell turned up early one morning, with his swag and an atmosphere of salt water about him.

Continue reading →