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Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 19 - 01 of 02 (Raw)

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Respondent Interviewer
IN 00:00:00 OUT 00:37:35
Trish FitzSimons
Jean Lois Scobie
Griffith Film School
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19 - 01 of 02
6 June 2000
Updated 4/1/10 using timecode from tape 19_BC_DV Topics in Bold
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 19 - 01 of 02
Gender Relations History
PTA refers to Part A of Tape 19
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Jean Smith
End of Interview with Jean Smith. Tape 2 of 2. While Jean is drinking, some interference with the mike.
part of:
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 19 - 01 of 02
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                          INTERVIEW WITH JEAN SMITH
                                      6 June 2000
                  Updated 4/1/10 using timecode from tape 19_BC_DV
                                     Topics in Bold
                        I = Interviewer          R = Respondent

I   Okay, so this is camera tape 19, we’re still in DAT tape 9. The DAT is on 4147 so
    we’re about half way through the DAT tape, and this is the second camera tape
    interview with Jean Smith in the kitchen of the Bedourie Hotel, and it’s 6 June 2000.
    TAPE 19_BC_DV

    So tell me about Edna Zigenbine again.

R   Braided Channels: Relations between Women

    00:02:02:00    Edna? Yes, Lindsay, when they were little, I can’t remember how many
    children Mrs Ziggenbine had there but I remember they had, they camped for dinner once
    just about a hundred yards from home and we ran over to see them. Mum sent us over to
    ask Mrs Ziggenbine to come over to the house, you know, but she was too busy to come
    over. Had to feed the children first and then after that she, I think she went to see Mum
    then, I think. She was a marvellous woman, Mrs Ziggenbine. Edna, too. And so was
    Kathleen. Kathleen married Dick and they used to go droving. Monty was with them, my
    brother. And he said that Dick and him had never been down the [Murrinjai?]. Dick was a
    wild man, real wild man. They’d never been down the [Murrinjai?] Track, you know up
    there, and Kathleen had been, and she piloted them all the way down the [Murrinjai?].
    Both horsewomen, they were, oh Edna.              00:03:12:20

I   Edna and Kathy?

R   And Kathy, mmmm. Most of the Ziggenbine girls were, I think.

I   So Edna’s sister Kathy – just explain …

R   Married Dick, my brother Dick.

I   Can I just ask you that question again because I want you to tell it all to me. How are you
    related to Edna?

R   00:03:31:22    Oh, well, Edna’s sister was my sister-in-law. Edna’s not blood related but
    she’s sort of, you know. I like to see her every time I go to Mt Isa but I’ve been up there a
    couple of times and got my teeth done, you know, and I just didn’t go up but I’ll go up next
Jean Smith                                                                                            2

         time I go up there. I’ll go over and see her. ‘Cause Mt Isa is a bit strange to me but now I
         know exactly where she is. I know where she is, she lives up near the museum, up there,
         up on that hill. Grey Street, it is. So I intend to go and see her next time. I will go and see
         her next time I go up there. I haven’t because I had a lot of trouble getting me teeth out.
         Oh, it was awful.

I        And when you say that, as a child, well before your brother married Kathy, that you’d see
         the Ziggenbines going past and your mother would call out to her, was that kind of one
         woman looking out for another woman she didn’t know? Was that how it went?

R        00:04:16:16    Oh, yes. Well, she knew Mrs Ziggenbine, see. Harry Ziggenbine, Dad and
         Mum knew him and there was, oh there was a few. The Sodens too, they were a married
         couple. Mr and Mrs Soden, they used to drove down there and they had two kids, you
         know. A girl and a boy. Don’t know where they are now. They should be still around
         because the girl was older than the boy, but they were younger than me, the children, so
         they should be still … I don’t know where they are but I tell you where you find out a lot
         of people, is in that Hall of Fame paper. That’s a very handy paper if you want to know,
         you know, where people are. And I’ve been going to write and ask, oh lots of times, and I
         haven’t, you know.

I        The Hall of Fame has never interviewed you, I don’t think, have they?

R        No.

I        So were you and Edna mates as kids?

R        Race Relations: Edna Zigenbine

         00:05:28:12    No, no, we weren’t, no. Edna, see I was too little. I didn’t … I was only
         little. Edna and I are the same age. I think I’m a year older than Edna but she was small
         then when they came down and she didn’t drove down the Marree-Birdsville Track. She
         was boss drover after her … see she was nursing. She was nursing Tennant Creek, I think
         it was, and her father took ill, so she went and took over the plant of horses and they
         reckon that she could really handle the Aboriginals, you know, even those that never wore
         boots, you know, big toes in the stirrup iron. They reckon Edna … they’d do anything for

I        They respected her?
Jean Smith                                                                                        3

R        Yeah. She was droving for years.

I        Do you think she would have had difficulty as a woman doing a job that was usually a
         man’s job?

R        00:06:18:00   No, I don’t think so. She was brought up to it, see. She was looking after
         the common up there too for a long, long time. Years she was there looking after the cattle
         in the yard. Oh you see most of these papers, you see Edna’s photo in them. But I haven’t
         seen Edna for a few years. I’m going to see her next time, though, when I go up in
         November. No, September I go up again. In September I will go and see her then.


I        So how did you and your husband come to run this pub? How did the shift come …?

R        00:06:54:15   My husband never ran the pub. My son did, Jimmy. He never ran the pub.

I        So your husband, you weren’t with him for so long?

R        Oh, yeah, a long time. I forget how long now. He’s buried up there in the cemetery. I
         forget how long. Hang on, we were married in ’48, ’49 I think. ’48 or ’49 we were

I        So your husband couldn’t work because of the drink?

R        00:08:09:22   No, he had ulcers too. He used to work. But he was very sick with ulcers.
         He died of cancer.

I        How much older than you was your husband?

R        About 18 months.

I        So, Jean, did you ever have a period when you weren’t working and you were looking after
         your kids, or was it always …?

R        00:08:13:00   Oh, yes. I lived over in that old house over there and in that big house on
         the corner for a while. That belonged to … Jack Clancy built that house on the corner. He
         had an old man helping put down the floors, then he built the rest himself and just had
         jackaroos, young fellows who used to put on and then Peter’s father bought it then. When
Jean Smith                                                                                         4

         he died, we went to live in it too, and then when his brother Nick came along we shifted
         into that old cottage.

I        So when you were living with your children in the house opposite, tell me the kind of the
         physical conditions of your life there. You know, like did you have an electric light?
         What did you cook on?

R        Washing
         00:09:06:22       Oh we had engines, yeah. A wooden stove. And then we had a gas stove
         but we had, always had the washing machine there. Old, you know, washing machine, but
         we had to start up the engine, our own engine to wash. It wasn’t so bad then, not like in
         Mum’s day. You had to wash by hand, the old copper out the front. And even when I
         went to Davenport, Ethel washed by hand and she had the copper. That was a big day, the
         wash day, in those days. Now you can just go out and put the washing machine on.

I        And so you had one of those washing machines with the wringers? Would that be the sort
         you had?

R        00:09:47:14       Mmmm. Ethel did have one over there after. Yeah, no, no, we never. Or
         did we? Yes, I did. Yeah, and it was so long ago, it’s over twenty years. Yeah, we had
         the wringer on it. Mmmm. Yes, it was only in the latter years that they had, you know,
         the spin dry. They had a spin dry here when I came over to the pub, though, but we never
         had a spin dry.

I        So while your kids were young, then, your husband was earning enough money to keep
         you and the children?

R        Gender Relations

         00:10:19:04       Oh, yes, he kept us. He managed [Clifton Hills?]. We were there for about
         three years, I think it was. Took our horses, some of our horses there, and then we took
         some of them down, left them at the gate and the kids and I, or he trucked them to
         [Mungaranie?] and then the kids and I took ‘em down to the [Clayton?]. We lived 30
         miles this side of Marree and we left them there for a while, then we picked them up and
         the kids and I brought ‘em up. I wouldn’t drive in the motor car but people reckoned that
         he made me drive the horses. He never made me drive the horses at all. I wouldn’t drive,
         ride in the motor car, I wanted to ride the horses and I did. That was before Maxie was
Jean Smith                                                                                              5

         born. And then a lot of people, you know, ‘Oh, yes, he made her drive’. He never at all.
         Nobody could make me do what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to drive the motor car
         and I wouldn’t drive it.

I        And that was not about being afraid of the car, it was about you wanted to ride?

R        No, I wanted to ride.

I        So have you ever owned a car, Jean?

R        00:11:15:00    Yes. Yeah, I owned a little Morris, second-hand Morris. And I’ve reared
         calves for year, you know. Years and years and years I’ve bred calves for 25-30 years or
         something. Here. I                        home too. But then I bought a Suzuki, there’s the
         cattle money, and Danny used to help me a lot. If it was too dry here they’d take the cattle
         over there and then when they mustered, they’d muster mine with theirs and send them
         away for me, see, and Gordon Reid bought the lot that I sold to buy this Suzuki. Good
         little car, I had it for a few years, and then twenty years ago I sold some more and bought a
         Hi-Lux. I’ve got it here, still here, the old Hi-Lux. I wouldn’t part with it for anything.

I        So when did you buy the pub, then? And did you buy the pub and …?

R        00:12:06:02    Oh, well Jimmy was the one. He was the youngest publican in Queensland
         at the time. He was just 21, I think it was, and he did all the business. I didn’t. And even
         when he was trucking, he did all the ordering and paying for things. But if, he’d ring me
         up and tell me to pay an account. I wouldn’t pay anything unless he rung me up and told
         me and then I’d pay it, see. But if he didn’t come home, he used to come home every, oh,
         sometimes he’d be away a fortnight trucking, but not too long, be back for a couple of days
         and then he’d go again. But he did all the ordering and most of the paying for things but if
         he wanted anything paid before he got home, he’d just tell me to pay it, see, and I used to.

I        So you and your son went into business to buy this pub here?

R        00:12:55:20    Yeah, mmmm. Yeah, there was … oh, the other boys were in it, too, I
         think. Yeah, they were, but it’s a good while ago and then they sort of … Jimmy bought
         them out. Donny and David, I don’t know about Roy. But I know Donny and David were
         in it too.

I        So how long ago did your family take over the pub from the Gafneys?
Jean Smith                                                                                          6

R        00:13:24:12     Oh, it was from the Shores. Len and Margaret Shore. Ahhh, it’ll be 30
         years next year, 29 years.     Margaret and Len Shore, they live in Toowoomba now.
         Margaret Shaw’s Sandy Kid’s sister. Sandy Kid from Windorah, you know, he’s well
         known, old Sandy. One day their father, Jim Kidd, he said, ‘Where’s Margaret, Sandy?’
         ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘she fell out a long way back’. Always casual, old Sandy.

I        I’ve heard Margaret described as ‘History Margaret’ or something. She might know a lot
         of …

R        I think she probably would, yes. Mmmm. Sandy’s got an aeroplane and he’s a good pilot

I        So the Post Office was always part of the pub?

R        00:14:22:00     Mmmm, far as I know. And we’ve got a box up there that came from one of
         the Post Offices up further, I just forget the name of it, but there was a young fellow lives
         in town and he told me that that Post Office is burnt now, that this box has been here …
         well, when I first come up here, it was here then, so I don’t know how long it’s been here.
         This box with the different names on it – Arcadia Valley and all those. I kept the names on
         it too.

I        So what was the box for?

R        To put the mail in. Letters and things.

I        And were you like the bank for this community as well?

R        00:15:01:05     Jimmy was. Jimmy was but I wasn’t, no. My intelligence doesn’t work to
         that, I don’t think.

I        So what would be involved in being the bank for this community? Was it like agent for the
         Commonwealth Bank?

R        Mmmm. Agent he was, yeah. Mmmm. But it’s not worth it. He’s got that, oh what do
         they call it now? EFTPOS or something. I don’t understand it but

I        So if Jimmy was away and you were left running the pub, how would the banking side of
         things go?
Jean Smith                                                                                             7

R        Work: Bank Agency/Post Office

         00:15:39:18      Oh, well, he used to come back in time to bank, usually. Usually he’d come
         back … oh, he never, once he started trucking he gave that up. It’s not worth it. Not worth
         it. You start a new account off and you get $2.00. And that’s about all you would get. It’s
         not worth it. The Post Office isn’t worth much either but I still do it because you can see
         how many houses there are in town now. I’ve been going to write and tell them too. They
         wouldn’t want to know, of course, but …

I        So how much money do you get for running the Post Office?

R        Oh, you get $1,037.00 every three months, that’s all I get. That’s a seven-day-a-week job.
         A big firm, see.

I        So what’s involved in running that Post Office? What do you do for your $1,037.00?

R        00:16:29:19      Oh, well, Monday the mail goes out. Monday afternoon. I’ve got to miss
         my session. I usually miss that movie, you know, that’s on, midday movie. I generally
         have to miss it Monday ‘cause the mail goes out. But today, Tuesday, the mail comes in.
         All mail comes from Mt Isa. Today it comes in. I’ve sorted most of it. And then
         Wednesday, tomorrow, is the road mail. It comes and my daughter-in-law runs that from
         Boulia, Carol.     Roy comes down sometimes on it.          The little girl comes down too.
         Anyway, and then that’s Wednesday. Thursday the mail goes out again. I can’t watch my
         midday movie again on a … I watch scraps of it, you know. Friday the mail comes back.
         Saturday we don’t have any mail but then I’ve got to do up the mail for Sunday morning.
         Sunday morning at half-past-nine we get the mail to South Australia. We don’t get any
         mail from there, it just all comes round through Brisbane or somewhere. I don’t know
         why. And once when the school children left some parcels behind, I sent them a bag and
         sent it straight to Brisbane so they’d get it and oh, didn’t I get into trouble over it, to send
         that bag to Brisbane. It’s supposed to all go to Mt Isa, I don’t know why, because the bag
         goes to Brisbane, you see, the same day, but then it may be just as quick to Mt Isa, I don’t
         know. But I would have had to wait a day or two so I sent it down and got into trouble.

I        And your goats, when did you start running goats?
Jean Smith                                                                                           8

R        00:18:05:06    Oh, goodness me, a long time ago, when I was over in the old cottage,
         around calves then. I’ve been around calves for years. The station used to give them to me
         when … see, on a station now, the muster, when they have a muster on the big station, they
         can lose up to oh 50 calves a year, something like that. It’s no fault of theirs. They’re born
         when they’re mustering, see. They’ve got to muster and when the calves are born when
         they’re mustering, the mother might … if the mother feeds them once, they’re right, but if
         she doesn’t feed ‘em them, then I’ve got no colostrum to give them. Should have now but
         they don’t give calves away much now. I don’t know why.

I        So you take on the poddies?

R        Yeah, goats too. Sometimes you feed the same goat with the same calf for about six
         weeks, they’ll mother them then sing out to them, run out and feed them and everything.

I        So you have a herd of goats and the mother …?

R        Mmmm. I did have a lot but now I’ve only got eleven nannies.

I        And the mother goats will feed …?

R        00:19:04:10    Feed the calves, yeah. Doesn’t matter how big the calf is. They reckon it’s
         cruel. It’s not cruel at all. The goats will run out and feed them. And that’s the trouble,
         see, then when the dingoes come around, that goat will go out to save that calf. The calf
         will stand and look at the dingo, of course the goat will run out, see, and the dingo gets the
         goat then. That’s the trouble.

I        So you’ve got a lot of dingoes round here?

R        00:19:25:18    Yeah, more than there should be. One day, a few years ago, I went up there.
         I heard the goats sing out and I ran up there. It was a hot day, too. Usually dingoes won’t
         kill, only morning and evening, but I ran up there and here’s this dingo, the calves are
         trying to … three calves, and they’re trying to, four I think there was, they were trying to
         get this dingo away from the goat. Of course as soon as the dingo saw me he went, see.
         About a couple of hundred yards down from me. He went and the calves brought that goat
         home. There was one calf on each side, one behind it, and one in the lead, and they
         brought that goat home. It’s when they get a bit bigger, I suppose, it’d be better.

I        So, raising goats and poddies, is that partly to provide milk for the community or …?
Jean Smith                                                                                          9

R        00:19:10:00    No, if there’s any sick kids they can go up there any time they like. There’s
         no milk there now. It’s not right. I haven’t had a Billy goat for about two or three years
         now. Three years, I think, and of course when I was away I don’t think the goats
                           maybe it’s not, it may be that they’re going to have kids again because
         I’ve got an Anglo-Nubian Billy goat now, a thoroughbred, he’s pedigreed, and I’m not
         going to let him out. I put him in with the goats at night, then I bring him up here or leave
         him up there in the yard, you know, through the day. Some time, we had him up here for a
         good while in the fowl house. The trouble is, he gets out of there. Gracie, that’s one of my
         friends, she mended the fowl yard and it got out again, and she mended it again. I don’t
         know how many times she’s mended it and he gets out in a different place.

I        And, Jean, you’re not running the pub any more, are you? You’re just doing the Post

R        No. That’s right.

I        So is that the closest to retirement that you get?

R        00:21:08:20    Oh, I think it would be, yes. I don’t think I’ll get much help either, I’m too
         . I don’t think I would. You know, when I do want to retire I don’t think I’ll get much
         help. When Peter was crippled up there and my sons had to look after him. They talk all
         this here carers and all that sort of thing, but I don’t think there’s very much done. My
         sons had to bath him. That’s wrong, you know. A bushman that’s worked all his life, and
         that’s how he ends up, and they don’t do much for him.

I        So this was when your husband was dying of cancer?

R        00:21:27:04    Yes, he was in Mt Isa for a start and Maxie and Trace, that’s my youngest
         son, he was allowed to come down to Boulia. He was a mechanic there in the council so
         Peter came down to, and there was a cottage, Roy and Karen’s cottage next to the house.
         They built a landing where he could walk across to the house, he could walk first, when he
         first came down there. It didn’t last long, they had to bath him and everything, and
         where’s the carers? Where are their carers? Yeah, I know about that.

I        So what do you see in the future for yourself?

R        Work/Retirement
         00:22:20:00    Well, I don’t know. I’m just not thinking about the future. Thinking about
Jean Smith                                                                                       10

         today is the best part. Today. Every day. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I do
         know one thing, that my family is not going to keep me like that. I’ll go into a home if I
         get too sick. I will not … here the other day, they said, ‘Oh, Jimmy’s caring for you’. I
         said, ‘Oh, is he?’ I’m not interested in it but they’ll be … the damn government will be
         because we’ve paid tax for years and worked hard – pioneers. And that’s the way you get
         treated when you’ve got teeth that give trouble my bottom teeth, I broke them off when I
         was 12, four of them on the bottom, and I had to put up with that all the years because of
         the, you know, we didn’t get away to get them fixed up. Mum didn’t even know they were
         giving me trouble. I had to put me tongue over ‘em when I drank cold water and I thought,
         ‘Well, that’s all right because I was only 12 when I did it’. I thought well, you know,
         we’ve suffered enough too, but one of these days if … I might even get onto the news in
         Longreach.     I have before, you know.     Let them know a few things that won’t be

I        And what would you say? If you were on the news in Longreach now, what would you
         want to say?

R        00:23:39:20    I don’t know, I’d have to put it very carefully, wouldn’t I? You can’t say
         too much, can you? When carers come to Bedourie and they don’t even come down to see
         me, when they come here twice, and don’t … from Mt Isa, and don’t even come down just
         for five minutes to say hello. So.

I        Who are these carers? These are local government community nurses?

R        Ah, I won’t name the carer but I’ve finished with that carer now anyway, because she
         doesn’t want to come down and spend five minutes talking to me, or just hello and go
         again. But to come to Bedourie twice and not even come near me. That’s enough for me.

I        And tell me about floods, Jean. Does this area … it looks very lush between here and the
         creek. Does that flood?

R        Drought
         00:24:30:16    Yes. Oh, well, it all depends. This year it has. I think there’s been water
         over that twice this year but, oh, you should have been here last year. Oh, my goodness, it
         was dry. The cattle, the poor things, you know. I used to fill mine whenever I could. I’d
         see the worst ones fed but the trouble was there was so much big stations’ cattle were here
         too, see, and you can’t feed the lot in there. It wouldn’t feed ‘em. And the poor things,
Jean Smith                                                                                          11

         their eyes used to stick out and they’d stare at you, and well you know that’s sad, it’s
         terrible to see them. I can’t understand why they don’t look after them better, you know.
         Give them a bit of feed anyway.

I        Drought has been more of a problem than flood?

R        Flood
         00:25:13:18    Yeah. Mmmm, droughts. We’ve had a couple of bad droughts in the last
         few years. We had a flood in ’91, I think it was, but see the people that are here now,
         there’s only one person that’s seen a big flood here and that’s Alby Smith. He comes from
         up, oh way up Kywong up there, you know that station up there, and he’s been in this
         country for a long time, though, years. He was married here and had his family but the
         others, they don’t know what a big flood is. They reckon the ’91 flood, oh, it was a big
         flood, blah, blah, blah. It wasn’t at all. It was a very small … it wasn’t a big flood. It was
         a good flood but it wasn’t a big one.

I        Was it ’74 a big one here?

R        Women/Land
         00:25:59:00    Yes. There was ’50. The 1950 flood was a big one too. It came up here.
         And the ’74 flood, it was a real big one and Colin Tully was managing Clooney. He said it
         washed out the Aboriginal camps over there so it was a big one. But the old blackfellow,
         Old King Billy, he’s buried just up the sand hill there, he’s told George Gafney that there’d
         be three big floods. Now how did he know that? See, they know all right. He said there’ll
         be three big floods but he didn’t know when. He said there’ll be one big one, he said, and
         another bigger, bigger still. Well that’s ’50 and ’74. And then he said there’s going to be a
         real big flood, so I’m not looking forward to a real big flood. Ooh, ooh. He was right
         about the other two. But still, you know, the way they fiddle with the atmosphere so much,
         we may not get it, see. But they always know. The old blackfellows know.

I        How high did the water come in ’74?

R        00:26:52:04    Well I used to wear my bathers going to the goat yard. It was right up to
         there, between here and the fence.

I        In here?
Jean Smith                                                                                          12

R        No, no, not in here. Down there, yeah. Oh, it did start to run in up there, just started up
         there where they dug drains, you know, to let the water out, but only just a little bit. A bit
         higher, it would have really come in. It would now, I think. It would come in now if we
         had a                            because they just won’t take any notice, although there is a
         big bank up there now which is pretty good.

I        So who lives in Bedourie now, Jean?

R        00:27:27:20    Oh, a lot of people here. A lot of people that have, you know, some of them
         have been reared here, some of the girls. A couple of them. One girl, she’s … two girls
         now, one from … oh, they’re both from round here, I suppose. They’re the teacher’s aides
         up at the school. They’re doing pretty well, too, I think. They’ve got a teacher and two
         teacher’s aides and an administrator, the school here now. Four. Four in the school. It
         might be five. Oh, and then they’ve got two sort of working part-time – David Parsons, he
         works part-time in the garden, you know. It’s good too. It looks good now but before that
         when the summer came, when the summer came they had nobody to water the gardens and
         things, so David does that in the summer. Bill Knight did it too for a while. He’s a
         carpenter, good one too. Lives in town.

I        Are there many Aboriginal families in town these days?

R        00:28:32:22    Oh, yeah, I suppose, but I don’t know whether you’d call ‘em Aboriginals.
         You just don’t know. They’re white people and they work. Bedourie, Birdsville and
         Windorah, their people, they look after their houses and they’re the same as clean white
         people, the same thing. They’re not dirty, oh no. They’re very, very clean.

I        They’ve been vital to the pastoral industry, haven’t they?

R        00:29:09:16    Yeah, oh, I suppose. Yeah. But there’s been other people as well, you
         know.    It’s not only around here.       They used to get jackaroos up from the city.
         Always same in Monkira and all those stations but there were a few really good stockmen.
         There was an old fellow there in Birdsville – Jimmy Lynch was a good stockman. I saw
         him in Monkira, oh a really good stockman. He was half black.

I        Bill Gorrenge? Do you know Bill?

R        Braided Channels
Jean Smith                                                                                       13

         00:29:31:14   Yeah, Bill Gorrenge, Windorah. No, I don’t really know them, see, they’re
         in Windorah, but of course I hear a lot about them. Yeah. And Spinny Mulligan, Maudie.
         He married a girl from Birdsville and Linda’s daughter. Very good stockman. Their son’s
         a jockey in Adelaide, Maudie and Spinny.

I        Oh and tell me the stories about the Duncans. You knew Laura Duncan and Laura’s mum.

R        Yeah, well, ah they were lovely people. Oh, Miss Duncan, she was nice, so was Mrs
         Duncan McKenzie. She was a tall, slim woman, you know. I remember I didn’t see her a
         lot, see, because we never came up here a lot but when we went down, she came out to the
         car and met us and she took us in for a meal. Midday it was. They were really nice
         people, you know, really bush people. Miss Duncan, I went to see her. I’m please I did
         now, too. I got Peter to take me round there when I had … I had all my children then, I
         think, and that’s the last time I saw her. She was still working out in the yard, she had a
         thoroughbred bull in the yard, feeding it, and … Miss Duncan, yeah.

I        How old would she have been then?

R        Gender Relations: Laura Duncan

         00:30:44:16   Oh, I don’t know but she was a real lady. She used to go out on the camp
         and she’d have her tent. There were tent pegs at each camp, and they just took the tent up
         for her. She used to go up to the camp and she was a real lady and Bob Gunther, he
         managed Monkira for years, he came up, Ted Pratt brought him up as a jackaroo and he
         was a little fellow, you know. He was cowboy, then he was stockman, then he was head
         stockman, then he was manager, Bob Gunther. And Mrs Gunther was there and he was the
         chairman here for years, see. And Miss Duncan got onto him on the wireless, see, and she
         said, ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘Bob, would you mind sending me a photo of your grader, I haven’t
         seen one here for years’. And that was Miss Duncan. She was like that. Never raised her
         voice, you know.

I        Did you ever meet Alice Duncan? Alice Duncan Kemp?

R        00:31:47:00   I don’t think I did, you know, but I remember an old lady, tall, slim woman
         she was. Yeah, she married a McKenzie after. I don’t know how many years after but a
         long time after and there was old Donald McKenzie, that was his brother. He was on
         Monkira for many years, old Donald, and then he went to Adelaide. I remember once
Jean Smith                                                                                         14

         Frank and Ethel went down and they took Donald McKenzie down, see, further down, oh
         and Sid Pratt too, Ted Pratt’s son, but the further down we got, the drunker old, old fellow
         got, see. There were more, see, more pubs, and Frank never drank and he used to go past
         them if he could but … there was Nathan beer then or something, and you’d hear him say,
         ‘Ha, ha, Nathan my word’. Old Donald McKenzie. Funny old man, he was. 00:32:26:22

I        And you’ve got Alice Duncan Kemp’s books?

R        Yeah.

I        What do you make of Alice’s work?

R        00:32:42:12    Oh, good, yeah. It’s really, really good. Mmmm. Yes, there was a lot of
         places you wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t read the books. Rainmaker’s buried on the
         Clooney-Monkira road, not far from Clooney, 30 miles or something, and it always rains
         there. Always. Always rains there and that’s where Rainmaker’s buried. Funny, isn’t it?

I        The picture you get out of Alice Duncan Kemp’s books of Aboriginal people and white
         people living very closely …

R        Well, the one book I got from the archives, I got it, and the photos were taken out of it.
         And then they wrote to me and told me that they had a book there with all the photos in it.
         And instead of me sending for it straight away, oh I was too busy at the time and by the
         time I got round to sending for it, it was already sold, of course.

I        But do you think that picture she paints of the Duncans on Mooraberree living very closely
         with Aboriginal people, do you think that was typical of …?

R        Race Relations/History/Massacres

         00:33:44:14    Oh, yeah. Yes. Yes. They were always friends. They never, well my
         family never treated ‘em badly. Never. See, I’ve never known it, so this is why I can’t
         understand why they want John Howard to apologise. What for? See, we don’t know.
         I’ve lived in this country all my life and I can’t see why he should apologise to any of
         them. There’s half black and half white, because they’re white so far as I’m concerned.
         And another thing, like years ago, they were talking about how the white people used to
         kill the blacks. Well they never say how the blacks used to kill the whites, did they? And I
         know about that. Well, that’s all in the past. I don’t hold it against any dark people. Not a
Jean Smith                                                                                           15

         bit. Anyway, there was in here near, oh up here too, I’ve got a book in there. Up here
         these Kalkadoons they were real bad. They used to tie the Chinamen up, tie ‘em up and,
         oh break their legs so they couldn’t get away. If they had plenty meat, eat the Chinamen.
         That’s a fact. Too right. That’s never mentioned, is it? No. Well, I don’t see why anyone
         should apologise.     It’s nothing to apologise for because now, I think it was in near
         Charleville there, they used to feed them. They’d come up there and they’d feed them and
         this, what-his-name old fellow there, the boss of the tribe or something, they used to feed
         them and the men were away one day and they went in and killed all the women and the
         kids. There was only one, I can’t understand them killing the children but one kid they
         were feeding to the yabbies and, of course, they went then, the men went chasing that lot
         but it wasn’t that lot that killed them, it was the fellow sitting on the waterhole. He was the
         one that did it and I think they shot some of them. Well, it’s retaliation, that’s all it was,
         see, that’s all it was. So I can’t see that there’s anything.       00:35:35:06

         I mean, just let the past be the past and do the same for blacks as we do for whites now.
         That should have been all along. I think it was, too, with us it was anyway. We’d never let
         ‘em, Mum and Dad never let ‘em past and they still know it too, never let ‘em go past
         without a feed. Why should we if we fed, like give the drovers tea and that, ‘cause they
         had to camp with them but why not feed them too? We did. And I can’t see that there’s
         anything for John Howard to apologise for, and I can’t see why they should be wasting
         money – wasting money – it’s all right to help them, yes, but help them too much, as the
         old blacks will tell you, and they’re ruining the young ones. That is what they’re doing. I
         reckon John Howard’s 100% there, there’s nothing to apologise for. This lost generation,
         now that’s a lot of damn rot. How about England? All those young boys and girls that
         were brought out from England, same thing. I can’t see it. I think that the past is the past.
         This is future now. Yeah, and they’re treated all right now.        00:36:39:20

I        Is there anything I haven’t asked you about, Jean, that you think’s important for me to
         understand your life and, through you, something of the women of the Channel Country?

R        Women/Work
         00:36:51:04    Yeah, well see, the women up here, see we, down there I know about what a
         hard time we had but up here, when I came up here when I was 17, of course it wasn’t so
         hard then because they had, like now some of the women like Shirley Schrader she works
         all the time. She’s got a cowboy but she still works out at Sandringham. But usually now
Jean Smith                                                                                            16

         they don’t have to work, but Shirley does. She cooks and, oh gee, she works all the time.
         Always has done, you know. She’s a bush woman.

I        Who’s that?

R        Education
         00:37:25:00    Shirley Schrader out on Sandringham, 40 miles out. And my daughter-in-
         law, she worked too. She worked hard. Gee whiz, she did, Paula, out at Etherbooka. Oh,
         she taught her children, taught her children, she taught two of them, no three now.
         They’ve had three but two are going away to school. As soon as the others went to school,
         she had to teach the little one, and now it’s coming pretty close to the time the little one has
         to go away to school and she’s very worried about it. I don’t know how, they’re going to
         miss her, you know. Don’t know how they can live without her, you know.

I        It’s a lot women have taken on out here, isn’t it?

R        00:38:01:10    Oh, a lot, yes. Oh, yes, and they don’t get any credit for it, it’s always the
         man. The man does it all. He’s wonderful. Of course, my son is too. He … see, they
         can’t afford to employ anyone. Well, she goes out and helps him as well as teach the
         children. The children, they go out and help too. At 12, when the daughter was 12 years
         old, my brother, the one that’s a bit older than me, he’s been a stockman all his life, and he
         said that when they were mustering cattle, he said he’d take orders from her because she
         knew what she was doing and she was 11 years old. David would be in the aeroplane, see,
         he’s got an aeroplane he’s batted around oh, he’s worked hard too. They all have, anyway,
         all the boys. Jimmy too. All of them. They were brought up to work.

I        So you think women often do their work and …?

R        00:38:44:00    Oh, they do. Yeah. A lot of them. Yeah, a lot of women do, yes, yes.
         Shirley Schrader out there does, and Paula did, my daughter-in-law. Oh, yes, there’s odd
         women still do, still work, you know, but most of the others are just at the station, you
         know, I think anyway. I don’t think they … they don’t go out much. They still work
         though, of course, I suppose, but the modern conveniences now are different than they
         used to be.

I        So do you feel satisfied with your life?

R        00:39:16:16    Oh, yes. Mmmm. Yeah. Yeah, I’m quite satisfied with my life.
Jean Smith                   17

I        Okay, let’s stop.