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Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 21 (Text)

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Speaker:
Interviewer Respondent
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Average
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IN 00:00:00 OUT 00:38:11
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Trish FitzSimons
ns1:contributor_aka
Alice Murray Bates
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Griffith Film School
ns1:date
2000-06-07T00:00:00
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Photographic stills found in the Braided Channels collection have generally been contributed by external creators. Copyright questions about external creator content should be directed to that creator. When publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Braided Channel's collection, the researcher has the obligation to determine and satisfy domestic and international copyright law or other use restrictions.
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21
ns1:infile_date
7 June 2000
ns1:infile_notes
Updated with timecode from tape 21_BC_DV Topics in Bold Okay, so this is camera Tape 21. We’re still in DAT Tape 10. The DAT is on 2407 and this is the second tape that has part of Alice Fortune, previously Gorringe nee Bates’s interview on it, and we’re in her son’s home in Mt Isa. TAPE 21_BC_DV So tell me, your stepfather and mother would have been paid by the station, were they Alice?
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INTERVIEW WITH ALICE GORRINGE
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Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 21
ns1:keywords
Droving Gender Relations
ns1:notes
Alice answers phone around 13mins.
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Recorded creative work created by permission of the copyright holder. Copyright in individual works within this collection belongs to their authors or publishers.
Contributor:
Alice Gorringe
Description
Continuation of Alice Gorringe's Interview. Tape 2 of 3. No obvious faults in footage.
Identifier
21_BC_DV_GORRINGE
part of:
Title
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 21
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34648
Identifier
21_BC_DV_GORRINGE-plain.txt
Title
21_BC_DV_GORRINGE#Text
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Text

21_BC_DV_GORRINGE-plain.txt — 33 KB

File contents

00:01:08:14     No. Only Dad. Mum wasn’t, although Mum manned the
       radios and cooked for them when they came through. Oh, if you attend a
       muster … in once place, say they attend a muster at Arrabury, so they’ll
       come into The Planet, a group of men, most of them will eat down at the
       camps but a lot of them would come, like the head stockman and that sort of
       thing. Mum would cook for them. Some time you’d have about 20-25 men
       there at the station.

So what was the exact job that your stepfather was doing for Arrabury and do
       you know how much he was paid and how he …?

No. I never knew how much he was paid. It was a question you didn’t sort
       of ask, you know. Well, he was the manager of an outstation. Arrabury was
       an outstation. Nulla was an outstation but Nullah wasn’t manned when we
       were there, but that’s what they were. You took care of the stock in that area
       around there. So that’s what he was. He could sign his name but he couldn’t
       read well or write well.

Do you think he was getting cash wages or was he getting wages in food and
       clothes?

00:02:26:06     He was getting money somehow, yeah, but probably into his
       bank account or something. He had a cheque book so I could say it went into
    that. He could sign his cheque book but he couldn’t write out the amount so
    we used to have to do that, or Mum only she wasn’t always home. Not that
    we had that much education ourselves, you know. I went as good as Grade
    3, Form 3, or whatever it was in those days. But it’s okay, you do learn to
    read and write. We had jam tins, syrup tins, and what have you.

And did you learn … you obviously learned how to do stuff with animals.
    What’s involved in breaking a horse? Tell me about the first time you broke
    in a horse, Alice.

Work: Horse Breaking

    00:03:17:00    Oh, first you’ve got to get it into the yard. We broke in
    brumbies mainly, that’s what we practised on. You’d run them down and
    rope them and sneak ‘em into a yard and well, you’d have to get from the
    rope round his neck to a halter on, or a bridle on, if you were game enough to
    get that close. From there you’d sort of, what they call bag him down to
    make him a bit quiet, and eventually get a saddle on him. And eventually
    you’d get on him and hope for the best. And we used to have to do that if we
    wanted horses. The best ones we ever found was the brumbies on the
    Cooper. They were really passive horses, never even bucked with you or
    anything. You could pull ‘em in today, rope ‘em, do something to their
    mouth so you can turn ‘em when you want to go, jump on ‘em and ride ‘em
    away. They were quite good. Some of the brumbies are really rough. They
    used to wait till you got outside and throw you off, but you didn’t dare get
    thrown off because you’d lose your saddle. So you just hung on to whatever
    you could and it’s no fun riding bareback with your tail bone on a horse.
    You soon get a sore backside from that. 00:04:35:08

Now you were saying that girls didn’t swim and yet breaking horses is
    something that in lots of families they would have said that wasn’t for girls.
    Other than not swimming, was there anything on the work of the property
    that was sort of not for girls?

Gender Relations
    00:04:53:00     Not for girls? No. We weren’t allowed to salt meats at a
    certain time of the month, that’s about all. If you had your periods, you
    wasn’t allowed to corn meat, wasn’t allowed to touch the meat. But no doubt
    cooks in the kitchen handled meat all the time. Well that’s just different
    there. You could cut your own beef [strap?] and that sort of stuff but on
    certain days of the month you just didn’t do it. Send the meat bad, so they
    reckon, so that was their little thing.

How about vehicles? Did you learn mechanical skills?

Don’t talk about that. We broke an axle when I was about twelve, I suppose,
    in the old Ford thing they used to have. So we had to change it. Needless to
    say, touch wood, we haven’t broke one since.

So, Alice, I don’t know that I’ve ever broken an axle but I’ve been driving
    for 20 years and if I did, I wouldn’t have a clue how to change it. How did
    you work out what to do?

00:06:03:14     Oh well, Dad supervised. He lay down and had a smoke and a
    cup of tea and so we pulled it all off one day, one afternoon, and went back
    the next morning. He just sat there and supervised again. There’s all these
    cogs you put in together to change it, yeah. And they’re a separate axle, you
    know, they’re an axle about that long, you put ‘em in with all … so you can
    put all the cogs in, change a tyre. We changed a tyre the other day. My
    grandson thinks I’m marvellous. ‘The wheel, the wheel, Nanny,’ he tells me.
    And you had to do it, though that stops you if I’m doing it again. But mind
    you, we couldn’t see over the top so one’d do the clutch and the brakes and
    the other one’d do the steering, that was taller. And of course the gears were
    here, well you didn’t do that. If he sung out ‘the gears’ while he’s down
    there pushing the clutch and the brake in or whatever, ‘Quick, come on, the
    brakes in’. Change the gear and

So whose vehicles would these have been that you were driving?

00:07:15:00    The station’s. The station’s vehicle. Did you ever see those
    old 1920 Fords where you could put the top down? One of those.
Like a Model T?

Yeah, yeah. Those. I often tell the kids that’s what I used to learn to drive. I
    learnt to drive in one of those. And they had ‘em in a ute version as well,
    you know.

And so, were you sneaking away to drive this vehicle, or you were
    encouraged to drive it?

00:07:43:20     We were encouraged to drive ‘cause Mum didn’t drive. It was
    a case of have to. If anything happened to Mum, we had to get on the radio
    and meet someone at a certain place, so you had to drive. All my kids, I
    taught all my kids to drive at ten, eleven too, for the same reason. We’d go
    camping and if something happens to me or Dad or whatever, you’ve got a
    driver. If you can’t drive one on the highway, you can drive to the highway,
    that sort of thing.

So it was a survival thing?

Transport: Driving a buggy

    00:08:17:10     Yeah, more or less, yeah. Same as Mum … we used to travel
    around mainly in a four in hand buggy with rubber tyres – a bun cart they
    used to call them. They’ve got … they’re just a trailer car with wheels on
    that just rolled freely. The horse drug them. So Mum used to drive a four in
    hand. Quite neat, she used to be. If they bolted, she’d stand up and pull it in.
    You’d have reins through here and there, see, both sides.

And how would you, like in that country you would quite often have had
    different channels, wouldn’t you? How would you cope with the channels?

00:08:57:22     Oh when we got into the channels, see out on Arrabury there
    wasn’t any channel country there, other than down on, I don’t know what
    they call that creek now, near Betoota, but in the Channel Country Mum used
    to drive a four in hand. She’d go down and back here, drop all the children
    off at the top, usually about four or five of those, drop them off at the top, go
    along till she could find a place to get up, might have to turn around and
    come back and go up the high, up the creeks, up the lower part of the rivers.
    You’ve been down to the Cooper country?             00:09:31:10

I’m going down there soon.

Well take note of the banks, how steep the banks are. The banks are like that
    and Mother used to get across those okay.

So that would have been, the Model T wouldn’t have coped with that but
    your mother could do it with horse and cart?

No. Yeah. Horse and bun cart. But we didn’t have the Model … we wasn’t
    on the            then, we was out on Arrabury. And the same thing with the
    creeks, you used to get out with a shovel and a crow bar, that’s all they
    carried, so you’d cut the bank down and get across. Ant beds are marvellous
    things for that, to make a bridge. They last for ages, too.

So what, you’d … tell me about how would you use the ant beds? You’d
    take the ants nests?

00:10:18:04    Yeah, you know those big ones you can see? They’re not as
    big as the Territory but just throw them in there and break ‘em up with an
    axe and drive across ‘em. We used to do that out here … Bill was working
    in the Railway, my husband, out at Kujabbing(?). We went out one night
    and we had one of those old T Model Fords – we couldn’t afford anything
    else with a couple of children on fettler’s wages – so we went out and, not
    checking the lights before we left, we get out there and coming home just on
    dark, no lights. I think we had two blankets, one pillow and five kids. And
    that’s how we used to get across the creeks anyhow, just pull up an ant bed
    as well. The things you learn, it’s unreal.

And tell me about what relationships you had with white kids on Arrabury,
    because you were on Planet Downs, weren’t you?

Gender Relations
    00:11:15:00     Yeah, we were at the outstation there. It was always okay
    with us. If they had any problems, we never heard of them. We used to play
    with them. Very seldom we seen children so, if we did, you played with
    them. There was another family over on Tamban, which we didn’t get to see
    anyhow, only … I think we went to the race meeting in Windorah once.
    Suddenly there’s kids galore to play with. When we were at that age of 14
    and 15 well you wasn’t allowed to run around with the kids any more then
    anyhow. That was the thing. When you got to the teens you were supposed
    to be like a lady then – other than riding horses and fallin’ off and everything
    else.           00:11:57:15

So what did being a lady involve? What parts of your behaviour or dress had
    to shift when you were 14 or 15?

00:12:07:16     The shift was more or less your behaviour, that’s all it was.
    You didn’t go shouting or running around with the children. You more or
    less helped Mum in the kitchen in your spare time. I remember the first time
    I         There was this mare called Daisy and I had to ride her, she was a
    chestnut. This was usually in the bush races. I knew she was fast but that’s
    what I wanted and we had an old Aboriginal Long Ted, he used to look after
    us kids more or less, you know, he was an old full-blood. Ted said to me,
    ‘You can’t ride it, it’s just too strong and it’ll take off’. ‘But I must ride it.’
    Okay, he let me go and we were up at the creek, changed horses, I rode
    Daisy back from up there. Horses on stations are playing and race into the
    trough, buck around, and Daisy took off because she thought it was a race
    meeting. I ended up over the trough. [Tracey? Daisy?] come and I’m trying
    to pull her but she won’t let me, she’s just shakin’ her head and yelling, so
    she propped and I went straight over the top. And Mum came running. She
    could hear the commotion and poor old Ted, he can’t get up. He’s laying on
    the ground holding his stomach.

I’d love you to describe a race meeting at Windorah, Alice. Picture it in your
    brain and tell us all about it.
They’re very good. Ummm, I only went to one there. Can I tell you about
    the one at Betoota?

Sure.

00:14:04:14    By this time my brother George has got this horse, I don’t
    know what’s the name of it. Anyhow we lived at the Planet and never went
    to Betoota Races in my entire life so we’re there and everything. You’re
    bettin’ on anything and everything that moves.        So me cousin’s got to
    training this horse for me brother and she just threw herself down, she’s a
    real hyped up thing, so here’s Spinny trying to get her up – that’s Spinny my
    cousin – and I’m lookin’ for a piece of wire. I’ll get her off the ground, I’ll
    just double it under her tummy, just flog her, and just as we got the wire all
    sorted out, George come around – that’s me brother – ‘Come on darling, get
    up,’ and he pulls it up. We could have killed him with the piece of wire as
    well. That was it. And race meetings are good. We didn’t dance, it was
    antisocial more than anything. But Windorah Races are good. You can go to
    dances and dance with Tom, Dick and Harry there if you wish to and we all
    had those big flared skirts in them days, remember? So many metres in a
    skirt. My aunty made me one of those and I thought I was just it. A pink
    polka dot, it was.                                 00:15:21:04

And would Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people all mix together at those
    dances or would there be kind of the Aboriginal bit and the non-Aboriginal
    bit?

Gender Relations/Race Relations: Bourke

    00:15:31:00    No. What I can remember, everyone came in, but the boys
    mainly went to the pub and Mum and the kids came to the dance, you know.
    Until the pub closed and then everyone else came up. What I used to like
    about those days, if they had a difference they’d tell it by fist. They’d have a
    fight and get it over with. And that’s when you see ‘em all walkin’ round
    arm in arm, mate this and mate that. You know, there was no grudges
    whatsoever. No, the Aboriginal kids used to come as well to the dances,
    although there wasn’t that many there. There was only us and aunt’s family,
    I suppose. And me other aunty and uncle had one or two. So there wasn’t
    that many kids but we all played together. They all went to school together,
    all fought together and, well the boy next door to me now in Windorah, he
    was about this high when I left home, going to school. Even now I give him
    a lip bashing over the fence, you know. He comes in for a cuppa tea and it’s
    that way in Windorah, you know, you just walk in to anyone’s place and if
    you want something you go in and take it, leave a note to tell or say who it
    was, and that’s it. You drive into their properties and do the same. You just
    leave a note – ‘Just come to look. I come to borrow this’ you know,
    whatever it is, and you’re gone. I find them there really good but I got the
    shock of my life when I went to Bourke when I was younger and you had to
    go in through a side door to go to the movies. You wasn’t allowed to … you
    can buy your ticket at the front door but you couldn’t go in there. But that
    was only once or twice you went down. You was too tired to go to the
    movies anyhow.

So you’re saying that growing up in Windorah it wasn’t a big deal?

Droving
    00:17:17:04    No, I didn’t find it a big deal. Arrabury either, for that matter.
    But just when you went to town, oh there were small towns like Charleville,
    Bourke – we used to go to Bourke with cattle – and even the properties we
    didn’t find anything. I remember they never used to like us puttin’ our
    horses on their sheep feed in the next paddock and we feed them up with a
    bit of beef or anything else, you know, if they went home to bed, we’d let our
    horses into their yard. Just cut the fence, undid the wire and put ‘em in.
    They didn’t like it, but if they wanted beef they’d have to let us do it. Yeah.
    That’s all there was to it. They were our stock, they were our living, so we
    had to feed them. 00:18:08:06

So was there a way in which you felt yourself to be kind of living on land
    that was yours when you were at Arrabury?

00:18:17:02    Mmmm. Yeah, I suppose so. We used to do a lot of things on
    the land there and it made no difference to us. Like now, we’ve got a land
    claim in at Glengyle, not me really, but you know, it’s for the other kids, like
    my younger sister, see, ‘cause her father comes from there. He was born
    there. But it’s a free land. If you get a land claim, let ‘em use it. They’ve
    been using it for hundreds of years now, why not let ‘em use it? You’ve not
    going to go out and camp on it, you’re not going to live on it. That’s what it
    is, it’s just open range still.

So what area is that where you’ve got a land claim?

Native Title

    In through Glengyle and Birdsville, in through that country, because … but
    he’s still using it for the same reason they’ve always been using it. I don’t
    believe you should put a land claim and bar anyone from it. If you’re not
    going to live on it, work it, let it go. Let ‘em use it like it’s been used all the
    time. That’s what I reckon.

So let’s just say your land claim was successful. What would that mean?
    Like what, in your understanding, does a successful Native Title claim
    involve?

Well, it’d make you feel free to go and live there if you wanted to. But still,
    I don’t think I’d bar the stock that people have got it now. I still wouldn’t
    bar ‘em. I’d like to have a little corner to grow some veges, fruit trees,
    probably put up a little house. That’s what it’d mean to me. And that’d be
    home.

So could you imagine, if your land claim was successful, would you imagine
    that you and the white people currently living there would continue to both
    live …?

Race Relations

    00:20:05:02     Oh, I’d hope so, yeah. Like now this land claim’s in, there’s a
    few of them in it, and I think I’d like that. ‘Cause like I said, white people
    really haven’t done me any harm. There might have been a few things way
    back in your childhood but what’s the use of living in the past really? It’s
    now, the present, more than anything. Our other two sons married white
    girls. One’s a German girl even. And I get along quite okay with their
    mother. She talks a little bit of English, I talk a little bit of German, and we
    can talk, us grandmothers, mainly sign language, but we can talk.
                   00:20:46:00

So am I hearing are you slightly perplexed by all this politics?

Yeah, I think it’s silly. They’d even go back to the hard and fast ways they
    had before but, you know, like they was using people, but why can’t we all
    get along? We all live on this planet and fighting’s not going to improve
    anything, is it? Look at Fiji. Look at New Guinea. It’s doin’ no good.

I know talking, for some white people who have owned or leased land,
    Native Title feels like a real threat. You know, it seems like this land that
    they’ve considered theirs could potentially be taken away from them.

00:21:39:10    Yeah, I realise that too. And they paid a lot of money for their
    land so I say why can’t they use it, you know, for what they’re using it for?
    Well, Aboriginals are not going to use it. They’ve not used it, have they, for
    years and years. This is the way I look at it. Like the Diamantina, the
    Georgina, whatever it is now, there’s cattle on there. You’re not going to go
    down and put two cows on it or something, or three cows or half-a-dozen,
    whatever I can afford, and run them there. That’s crazy. ‘Cause you’d need
    a little paddock to hold ‘em in anyhow.

So I’m getting a bit confused here, Alice. Are you saying land claims should
    only go on to land that white people aren’t currently using?

00:22:30:06    No, no. I think if they want land, why can’t they pay for it
    like everyone else, you know, or live on it and work it? Down home there
    we had a loan in an Aboriginal, a loan for a house. Everyone sort of built
    their home. It’s a self-help, you know, you help your … we put up one of
    these and you had what you liked inside, and then you’re supposed to grow
    plants to make it look respectable, eh? Like, you’re living in a house, why
    not do it? But a lot of people didn’t do that. They didn’t want to do that.
         They didn’t grow one tree. And they was whingeing for someone to come
         and do their gardens. They’re able-bodied, why can’t they do it? You know,
         the house is a reasonable price. This is stupid. If you want a garden, get in
         and put a garden in. No one’s going to come along and do it for you. No
         one’s got that sort of time either. You grow what you want. Like you wasn’t
         allowed to paint it until you got permission and all this sort of rubbish, too,
         but I went ahead and done it. I said I’m buying, I’ll do what I like and that’s
         it.            00:23:38:14

So independence is important to you? Doing things for yourself.

Education
         00:23:44:04    Yes, yeah. I think self-help offers the best thing out. Look,
         we can go on the dole. Go on the river bank. You got to have a bit of pride
         in what you do, I reckon, in yourself as well, in your family. Sure, my kids
         all went to high school, boarding school, on a grant. That’s all I wanted, just
         to put ‘em, education for ‘em, something I never had. They came out
         reasonable people.

So we actually, I need to get that bit filled in. How did you meet your
         husband?

B

Droving, where else would I meet a man? He was around, you know.

Could you just tell me that again? Tell me how you met your husband.

Romance
         Well, when you’re the only girl, or two girls, in the entire countryside, you
         get plenty of proposals, naturally, but you don’t want to take ‘em all. I
         wanted to give us a home so I took this one. That’s the only reason I can
         give.

And so where did you meet your husband?
Windorah. That’s him up there when he was in the Army. Not that we get
    along very well. In the meantime, a lot of things happened, so we don’t get
    along very well.

How old were you when you married?

00:25:08:04      Well, I was 22 but the mind was about 15, I suppose, yeah. 14
    or 15. Very sheltered family life sort of thing, you know. Within the family,
    you didn’t work outside. I think I worked outside the family for about two
    years, that’s about all.

So was your husband from around Windorah?

Cloncurry. Julia Creek area.

So what had brought him to Windorah?

Stock.      He     used    to   come   down   with   stock    from   up   here.
    and another place up in the Gulf.

So he was a drover?

00:25:52:04      Yes, he was one of the guys on the … he didn’t own a plant
    but he was one of the guys, you know, working with the drover. You always
    had about four or five men with you. So … when you’re fetching a couple of
    thousand head of cattle you’ve got to have five or six men.

So, 22. That’s 35, so 1957 when you met your husband?

Yeah. So we ended up coming up here in that car, that 300 pounds car that
    we had. I took it when I left. My wages for the 14 years.

So who gave you that car?

00:26:43:16      Ah, I threw a bit of a tantrum because I wanted a car of me
    own down in Tibooburra so I drove it back from there, in this souped up
    model of a sedan. Needless to say, we had a car at home that, if you went
    courting you took all your sisters and brothers with you to push the car when
    you stopped it. And you parked on a ridge like this so you could, so they’d
    have easy pushing. You could start it going down.

Because they didn’t have a starter motor?

It had a starter motor on but goodness knows what was the matter. I think
    we put it together ourselves.

So when you say you had a tantrum, who did you have a tantrum with and
    …?

Leisure
    00:27:26:08    Me stepfather, ‘cause I really wanted wheels and I really liked
    this thing. It was a Super Snipe, eh, one of those … the policeman had one.
    Gall had one in what’s-a-name so we knew they were fast, they used to race
    the buggies and the rest of the cars down home. So once we got that, we
    used to all go to the river for tea. Black and white and everyone. And from
    there, the seven miles home we’d race. Even the policeman, sorry. He did
    too. So horse and buggy or whatever you had, you’d be racing. It was a
    wide road, good wide road, so we was going to battle along with this car.
    We ended up doing it too.

So who came up with the 300 bucks?

Dad did. Me stepfather did, yeah.

So when you say it was wages for 14 years of working on Planet Downs …

Droving
    00:28:22:10    No, no, no, not Planet Downs. As drovers. We left there …
    when we left Planet and I was about 16, 15-16, we went droving straight
    away. Dad had a lot of horses so we used to have, we had 30 horses on
    plant, or 25-30, and we had a spare at home, and when we came back we
    picked that one up and leave the other one. By the time we come back,
    they’d be rested and we’d use them. It was a continuous thing. You just
    went round and round.
So where were you droving?

From morning, we’d go to the next one at Glengyle, Mount Leonard, in
    through that country. Waverney, it all depends what was available and you
    took.

And where would you be droving them to?

Bourke. Bourke, Quilpie, Yaraka. You’d take a load of cattle up to Yaraka
    and you’d fetch a load of bulls back or something. The bulls, they travelled
    in about three or four hundred, they’d do that once in a while, you had to take
    a load of bulls back. So it was continuous work up and back as well.

So that would be you and your sister and your brother helping your father?

Gender Relations/Alcohol

    00:29:38:20    Mmmm, stepfather, yeah. It’d be nothing for the boys to get
    on the grog at Windorah or something and you’d lose them. They’d all get
    huffy and pull out and so you’d do half a night watch for the next fortnight or
    three weeks. Two on, two off, you know. All            because there was only
    four of us besides cooking, and no one liked cooking. Not over an open fire
    anyhow.

And going on those droving trips, when you’d get to Quilpie or Bourke or
    whatever, are you saying that you would encounter racism then?

00:30:18:00    Yes, mmmm. Especially Bourke, yeah. Well, Quilpie you
    used to phone the taxi driver. He used to take the poddies, like the calves
    just born close to town. He used to take those and rear them, but he’d give
    us bread in exchange and take care of us girls when we hit the town. We’d
    go to the movies but Mr Greenie would be waiting there. As soon as we
    walked up, they rang a taxi and you’re home.         So to amuse ourselves,
    Quilpie’s got very hot bore water, so you’d fill the tub up and we’d soak
    ourselves and get all the dirt that’s on us for the 12 months or … we wasn’t
    allowed to go anywhere from the movies. Greenie would be waiting for us.
Was Greenie Aboriginal?

No, he was a white guy. We used to stay with them.

So he would be keeping you safe from men?

Yeah, mmmm. He’d pick us up and take us home. It didn’t matter how
    much water we used as long as we … it wasn’t outdoors, you know. The
    boys, very seldom we camped down the stockyards where the men were. If
    we did, Mum was with us, sittin’ on it. So it was, you know, reasonable.
    You didn’t have to worry too much.

And was there a sense that being a Gorringe was something special?

Gender Relations

    00:31:32:02    Yeah, to everyone it was. Even, like, in later life the proper
    Gorringe family, you know the younger children, used to say, ‘Well, you
    weren’t Gorringes anyhow’ and the young sister-in-law. They said, ‘Oh, but
    he chose us and we turned out better men than your husband did,’ you know.
    Even the men part of it. My sister would always throw that in their face now,
    ‘But he chose us. He didn’t have no choice in you guys’. You know, that
    sort of thing. Yeah, I suppose it was, eh? Because he was known all in that
    country for his horsemanship and what he could do with a horse and he
    brought us up the same way. A bit like Bulloo Downs mob, you know, you
    was brought up the same way. You knew how to change a tyre. Even at
    home, and the boys are home with me, I’ve got four boys, had four boys,
    we’ve got pulley gear to pull the engine out of our cars and everything.
    Even I can get down and undo the shoe nuts and pull my engine out and have
    a look at it. And put another one in, or whatever. That’s what you was
    brought up like. And I found in later life my husband didn’t like that at all
    but I felt he married me for those things I had. To put up a fence, a chook
    run, or anything else. And then at the end of it, he didn’t sort of like it.

What didn’t your husband like about that?
00:32:57:06    My independence and what I could do. That’s what I felt
    anyhow. He said I was only puttin’ him to shame. I said, ‘Look, I’ve been
    doin’ this fencing and cuttin’ posts and everything all my life. This is about
    all I know’. I can put up a chook run, you know, it’s no problem. I might
    lock the trailer inside behind my netting, but I can do it. He used to get very
    annoyed with it. Like movin’ me gas bottles and things. That’s the sort of
    life we lived. You’re independent and you do it. It’s got to be done, you do
    it.

Now your stepfather Bill, when he went droving, he had his own plant?

Yeah.

And so you and your sisters helped him. When you were married, what
    happened then?

But I didn’t. I married in Cloncurry and I didn’t go home. I didn’t go home
    for 30 … I’ve been home … for 15 years before I went home, and just to let
    the family see the children. My eldest boy was about 14, 15 then, and … I
    never went home for 31 years or something like that, to live or anything.
    See, my children were at school, I couldn’t afford it. Our kids in boarding
    school. And you had your husband at home then to after and everything.

So did your husband keep droving after you were married?

No, no. He went into the Railway. Came up and got a job in the Railway.
    We lived at Duchess, we lived at Kujabi. Seven years at Kujabi. I don’t
    know, four or five years out here at Duchess.

Because if your husband had kept droving, he wouldn’t have been able to
    take you with him, would he, because the …?

00:34:38:04    Not with the children in school. But my sister could tell you a
    story about her and her husband droving. Peg, just ask her about the droving
    trip. She went on doing it with her husband. Her husband was a fencer
    drover too so she done a lot of it.
So what was your life then, after you got married, Alice? Give me a glimpse
    of your life in Cloncurry.

Pregnancy
    Ah, we moved to Duchess. When I got married we moved out to Duchess
    just up the creek here. It was okay. I had my goats, you know, animals still.
    Had a little garden. I already had a child by that time. I had Patsy, she was
    about six. Sent her to school, walked to school with them. You had the
    school house on the rise over at Duchess, eh. The kids lived over here and
    the school house was over there, over on the hill on the other side. So if the
    creek was running, it’d be running a bank so you’d have to piggy-back the
    kids across the water up to here.           It was strong so you had to.
                   00:35:49:06

So you’re saying it was your first child that had a different father?

Yeah, mmmm. So, and after that, we had more children and used to walk
    round the hills with the kids all the time. Even my teenage boys, we climbed
    every hill between here and The ‘Curry. It’d take us a full day to come up
    here from The ‘Curry ‘cause you’d take lunch. You’d have a barbecue lunch
    and climb all the hills, all the way.

So you were about … how old were you when you had your first child? Can
    you tell me a tiny bit about that, how that happened.

00:36:24:08    I was, uhhh, about 16. You just met someone, like the boys
    were out all the time, you’re inquisitive, and that’s what happens. But after
    that, I had … I missed by kids, family, so much. I think I had six, five more,
    just to make up for the family. I had my own kids to walk around the hills
    with and Christmas time and Easter, make bunny tracks everywhere and all
    that. So I thoroughly enjoyed ‘em all. This is two of them up here now, you
    can see. That’s George in blue there, and this is David down here with the
    baby.

You’ve got family all round you on the walls.
Mmmm. And he’s a friend, that little guy up there. Very good friend, Dean.
    And there’s another group around the corner. That’s my family. You know,
    you put away the big frames and one family’s in there and another family’s
    in another.

So what brought you back to Windorah, then, Alice?

Well, I always told my kids, when they grew up and finished school, I’m
    going home. If not home, I’m going to Western Australia. I couldn’t afford
    Western Australia so I went home.

Where was the West Australia dream? Why West Australia?

00:37:46:16    I don’t know. But my nephew won a, you know how you win
    a holiday for two. He won a holiday for two for the America’s Cup when the
    America’s Cup was over, so I’ve been over to the West then. We went over
    there for a fortnight, my sister and I. The plane leaves over there at six
    o’clock in the morning or some ungodly hour, so we go out to the casino,
    pack our bags and leave ‘em at the door in the motel, and go to the casino,
    ordered this great big flash meal, didn’t know if we were going to be able to
    pay for it, and we thought we’d be washing up when the plane left anyhow.
    But it worked out okay.                          00:38:27:12

Yes, okay. I’ll give you a bit of water. No, you don’t want water. Do you
    want apple juice? Here, have this.

If you need to stop, we can.

I’ll have to, yeah, and give him a drink.

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