Just a collection of short stories i wrote

while working in the Australian Outback

CLAUDE........... Some time ago, I started feeding the birds, that sit on our roof, we have a wide variety that come in for breakfast, I started getting a family of Blackbirds, mean buggers they are, like to make a loud noise. The young ones are the worst. Well I think one of them decided to adopt me, and train me up. , I think the rest of his family have moved on. But he stayes everyday since he has visited me 

This creature has been called more names by me than I care to say, I am sure he thinks he is a fighter plane cause when he lands on my roof he doesn't just land on his feet, he comes in at really cool angles, his feet touch down and he slides along the roof, the screeching noise is incredible. If I don't get up he then proceeds to make more noise, then jumps up and down continuously and poops on the roof. 

After I drag myself out of bed, oh, this is around 5.30am, I stand in the back yard and give him so much verbal abuse that the neighbours once complained, he in turn gives me the same, and when I have vented my fury, I feed him chunks of bread, okay so I am stupid :) 

The only time I felt I had won, was when we had daylight saving, and the clocks went back 1 hour, I deliberately got up early - set up the deck chair and waited for him, sure enough around 6.30, he came. Now this little beggar came swooping over the roof's, didn't see me until he was nearing landing, he saw me then missed the roof completely and head butted the chimney. Well I couldn't stop laughing, he staggered around the roof for a few seconds just shaking his head. :) 

I don't think he forgave me for that for a long time.. 






When I worked near Wubin in Western Australia, I met a very sweet lady She was about 77 years old, and she drove a pink Volkswagon convertible, in mint condition. Her real name was Penny, she had a room at the pub and every night, she would tell a story of her past. If you said you had visited a place, she said she knew it intimately, she said she had been everywhere. She also said she was connected to royalty. Now Penny, loved attention, but what she loved more than anything was to drive down the main street of Wubin, in her bright pink car, at exactly 12 noon each day, waving to everyone. She would drive very slowly about 20klm per hour, and if you didn't wave to her, she would honk the car horn until you did. Also she didn't do a normal wave, she did it like the queen does it. We gave her the name of Lady Penelope, and she loved it. I really didn't care whether what she said was true or not, I might have thought at the time that it was just another local who has had two much sun. But during the late years of her life, I know she brought a smile to a lot of people, and probably wonderment to tourists.




I had been very lucky in my early days in the Outback. I mostly travelled with the same group of friends, we worked and travelled together for a time, they were then, and are now my mates. 

My introduction to the bush began in 1978, I managed to get a job as a Roustabout with a survey team. My job was general hand and gopher. Well for the first couple of days we crossed some really tuff country, at night we were buggered but we always had time to sit around the fire and tell yarns, stories and learn about the outback from the elders. 

I will never forget the night that someone started to tell ghost stories, we were about 50 klm’s from the nearest town, the boss wanted to camp near a small dry creek. He had been here before and knew that there were rabbits in the area. Bluey and I were nominated to go catch the food, so we took a couple of guns and went bush, we managed to catch a couple of rabbits and a snake, which when mixed together would make a really tasty stew. we also found some grubs, these dig deep into the roots of trees. but with a bit of work can be gouged out, they are best eaten alive, and are quite tasty. I must admit though that the first one I ever had took me about 20 minutes to eat, 19 minutes to think about it and the other 1 minute to swallow. 

After dinner, we each took a turn to tell a story, for 60 minutes or so, I heard one to many ghost stories. I think we all had, cause I felt a little jumpy out there in the bush, no lights but plenty of animal noises in the background. Also there was a Dingo close by, you can always tell when a dingo is calling, it just growls, they don’t bark like normal dogs. 

We had erected all the tents into a tight circle, with the largest tent in the middle, this was used for every one to sleep in. Lights went out around 9 pm, we had an early start in the morning. I remember lying there in my hammock, looking out of my window, thinking of home. I closed my eyes and started to drift off into a deep sleep. When all of a sudden there was a loud CRASH, I looked up and saw stars, no tent just the sky. Our tent had disappeared, tent hooks and all. I wasn’t the first to investigate, I guess I still had ghosts on my mind, but when we all got up, we discovered the tent had just vanished, Harry the cook, decided to go bush and look for it, no one volunteered to go with him, so he just sneered and disappeared into the scrub. 

We picked up its trail about 30 yards out of camp. The tracks were heading easterly, and by the look of its tracks, either something had scared it or it was on a mission, cause it had moved very fast. They was scraps of tent everywhere as it had ripped its self on the scrub. 

We didn’t realise what had happened until the next day. Our boss had decided to drive into town that night, unfortunately the tent that we were sleeping in was tied down to the landrover he took, so when he drove off, he took our tent with him, he didn’t realise until he got into town, then it was to late for him to do anything. The poor chap who had tied the tent to the rover had to pay for a new tent. It cost me a whole weeks wage, but I certainly never did it again. 


I was working between jobs, my mates and I spent more time on the veranda of the pub than anything else. I guess when you spend so much time in the outback in the dust and heat, sometimes when you get back to town all you want to do is sit, and watch people. This time - this town, it was different. We were here for the Great Bed Race.

About 1 month prior, we had bought an old hospital bed, it was pretty rusted up - but we spent many hours on it, cleaning it, we changed the wheels and put bigger ones on. We entered our bed along with 17 others. We had four of us to push one corner each but we needed a girl to sit on the bed and steer. Now with something like this event, it tends to attract a fair amount of people from around the place, we had miners, drovers, tourists also a fair amount of city folk to. There was also an Italian family that wandered into our town, they had a daughter, Lisa. She was very beautiful, shy and a real honey. We asked her father if she could ride on our bed, he was a bit hesitant but after we assured him it was safe, then he gave her permission. Now I didn't realise at the time, but Lisa loved attention, and she really wanted not only to be in this race but wanted to win it. But the competition was stiff. The betting on us was 12 to 1, the favourite being at odds on. So Lisa took each of us aside and told us that if we won this race then she would give each of us a present just from her. Now when a girl puts her arm around you and promises something, well my imagination really took hold, if only I had known that it wasn't just me she was promising.

At precisely 12 noon with the sun at its maximum, with a shot gun aimed at the sky, BANG, it began and 17 groups of men and women screamed as one. The dust flew everywhere and so did a few choice words. This was to be 2 klm's of dust - dirt and torture, for not only had we to run real fast we also had to fight our way to. If another bed came to close then we would end up exchanging a couple of right hooks. There were no rules in this race.

We had started off quite well - we had managed to work our way into 4th place. In front of us in 2nd and 3rd place, it seemed like a mini war had broken out, fist, pillows, and anything that wasn't tied down, was being used as a weapon. The leader was the favourite, these guys worked in the shearing sheds, they were incredibly fit, we knew we would never catch them.

We knew the odds were stacked against us but we plodded on, faster and faster. That's when fate and temptation reared its head, Lisa who had been very quiet up to this point started to undress, she revealed a very skimpy swimsuit. We all drank in her beauty and remembered her promise, then each of us picked up our pace, and we moved forward. We passed the 2 in front of us, not really looking their way, I was told later that both teams ended up on the side of the track in an all out fighting brawl. We were picking up the leader but I am not sure if it was because we were running faster or that the other team had noticed Lisa in her skimpy outfit. We were howling like madmen screaming our mates on, to win, to win, to win. We came over the rise into the clearing, the crowd roared, We were neck and neck, Lisa was doing her bit and hitting the other people with her pillow. She sat up straight and uttered those words that I can never forget, "move your flamin arse", through either shock or amazement we inched forward and crossed the line a few inches, first. My next memory was of all the guys hugging the dirt and gasping for breath while Lisa, just sat there and pruned herself and Purred.

As one we staggered to our feet and went to collect first prize, 30 cartons of Beer. After a couple of subs we regained some strength then went to collect our other prize. We all received Lisa's gift, she held us one by one and gave each of us a long wet kiss, I can remember the smell of her perfume and the touch of her skin long after, the last of her embrace. I never did see her again, but I did see her many times in my dreams thereafter.