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Hobo - Qld, page 1
Hobo - Qld, page 2
Hobo - Qld, page 3
1.12.1940...
Winton, NSW & Longreach, Qld


Hobo diary - Qld
p.1

Winton, Qld
Sun 1 Dec 1940

Had a snifter snooze last night, & I sure needed it; hadn't had a decent snooze since Tues night, since when I'd come 377 miles in jolting steel trucks & won a well earned 15/- or so. I washed myself & a pair of socks, hung the socks on a barbed wire fence out of reach of the goats, & tidied my gear. Had breakfast on cold mutton & steamed pudding; last night I went up a lane to the back of Gregory's Hotel, which is noted for its handouts, & politely offered to dispose of any superfluous eatables they had. A charming young demoselle gave me a 2/3 demolished leg of mutton, half a steamed pudding & a few trimmings of bread etc. Well, I chucked the remains to the goats - I'd kept it all last night hung up from the rafters by string, safe from ants, rats etc, - and at 8.00 went up town in my cleanest clothes to church. I was there 20 mins too early, & wasted no time leaving after service.

I took a stroll to seek labour and food - the latter in large quantities. Wandered round and landed a couple of negligable jobs, got some negligable tucker & negligable cash. I bought a water bag for 5/-; only a small one worth half the price, but there is a wartime shortage of canvas. The other day the storekeeper sent down to Brisbane for a pair of collar bags, but Brisbane hadn't enough to make them! As I was meandering down the main drag this arvo I noticed the bank of NSW, which was of course closed, had a nice cool verandah & two comfy deck chairs on same. I went thru the gate & the 3 yds tothe steps, collapsed in a chair & started to write up my diary. I hadn't been there 1/2 an hour when I saw Lobo holding up his trousers & a post nearby. I whistled & he came over & yarned, criticising my ancestors for my stupidity in annexing the Banks's verandah. Soon after a car went by & a bloke glared angrily at us. Five minutes later it came back, & he got out, a big, officious looking gent came thru' the gate. He glowered.

"What're you doing here?"
Aw, just resting.
What?! Don't you know this is private property? Bla Blah.
Well, are we hurting it?
We're not going to rob the joint!
You clear out of here! Quick, before I call the Police!
Aw, Ok, Ok. Keep you're shirt on.

We went off, met one of Lobo's friends & held up the pub posts for an hour. At 7.30 or so, dusk, when I imagined tea was over I said I was going in to bite; they said they'd try after me. I went in, & had just popped the question when Mrs Shannon, the proprietor, appeared. She'd seen me at Mass & complimented me in no uncertain manner, so I turned on the gush & she finished by seeing seven thousand diadems of halos around my hatpeg. Gave me 4/- & her luck, & as she went up the steps again I turned to go. The maid I'd palled up to called me back & presented me with a beaming smile and sundry foodstuffs. She didn't know about the 4 bob, the missus didn't know about the sandwiches. Lobo got some too - corned beef, all of 'em, & we sat down on a doorstep & shared them with another hungry feller who happened along.

Lobo calls himself 'the Wolf', and looks as swarthy and treacherous as one. Small in stature, with a big mop of greasy, curly black hair, black eyes, brown to dark in colour, uneducated & liable to mix in any sort of dirty work. You have to say everything twice, & his words stumble over the top of each other. I don't like him. I went back to camp after my dinner, content, under a peacefull, starry sky, wondering what tomorrow and Longreach held in store for me.

Winton has hot and cold water laid on, tho I only found this out in a weeks time. Of course all the people rely on bore water and beer, but the peculiar fact is that the bore H20 is 75°C, and has to be cooled off by allowing to stand in tanks. The beer is apparently not so bad, is cooled in tankards. I don't think I saw one shade tree in Winton; most 'bo's say its a rotten dump for a daytime sleep, but the corker camp more than makes up for it; weatherproof, comfy, big & airy, & if a cop's half a mile away you can't miss seeing him. Not many goats come near it either; it's too hot for cows here they reckon, & the cafes use goats milk instead; isn't too bad, but tastes milkier than cows milk.

...continued