Sunday, 12 April 2009
The stockman's camp
At the National Folk Festival in Canberra on Friday, there were many Australian country folk from the classic mould: jovial workers with nary a pretension to their name. Dave here was one of them. He hails from Lockhart, down Wagga Wagga way, the sun and the smoke, the poverty and the toil ageing his body but not his soul. The poverty was in name only: his life holding a richnness few can comprehend. He is the stockyard cook, tending the billy, stirring the stew and bedding the damper in the fiery coals. Biting off chunks of damper steaming from the fire and sipping sweet, black tea, I listened as Australian ballards from bands like Paverty told of a yesteryear in the bush, the milling throng including the likes of bush music legends John Warner and Margaret Walters.