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Joined: 29 August 2016
Posts: 436
13 September 2021 10:11 am




For the past three years the Tallarook district has been possessed of a wild man of the woods. This mysterious individual was first seen about three years ago by Mr. Thomas Mullavey, a boundary rider on Mr. McKenzie's Mount Piper Station. Mullavey was travelling over the run, and at a rocky range about five and a half miles from Tallarook he observed a stranger, who immediately disappeared in the range. Two years elapsed and Mullavey again saw a strange man near the same spot. This time he came within speaking distance, and Mullavey asked him who he was. The man replied that he was prospecting. Mullavey had a barney with him, and said he suspected that he was a sheep-stealer. The man protested that he was honest, and then Mullavev offered him some work, but he declined. Whilst they were conversing the man kept walking into the range, and when he got into a place on which Mullavey could not follow on horseback he ran away, and disappeared. Twelve months passed before anything more was seen of the wild man, as he came to be termed in the district. On Thursday last, however, a son of Mullavey's was strolling about the haunted spot, and observed a man, who suddenly disappeared from his view. The lad went home at once, and told his father. The strange man was seen on the same day in a different part of the range by a man named Meadows, and on being seen he decamped at a run. On Saturday morning Mullavey went to look for the man amongst the range. At one place he found a spring of water, from which led a beaten track up amongst the rocks. He followed the track, and on looking over a large boulder he saw a slab of broken granite. As there was an artificial appearance about the slab, he went up to it and raised it with his hands. To his great surprise he found a hole underneath with two steps in it, and heard a noise as of some one moving about below. He quickly lowered the stone, and retreated. When some distance away he made a dog he had brought with him bark. This was a signal he had previously arranged to procure assistance. His son and a man named William Kirby, who lives in the vicinity, at once responded, and came forward. They then went up to the cave, but found the stone thrown back, and the bird flown.

Mullavey's son was then sent into Tallarook with information to the police, and Constable John Shanahan at once proceeded to the range. Shanahan states - "When I arrived at the spot, I found that the entrance to the cave lay between two large boulders. I descended with a lighted candle. The cave is a regularly built house on the side of the range, covered over with soil and made to appear part of the range. The side of the range is one mass of rocks, and the roof of the cave forms a small level area. A quantity of stuff had been dug out, and the place was then built up substantially of masonry and slates. It appears to be 12 years old. After descending the two steps I found a turning on the left, and was con- fronted by a door. Entering by this door I found a room formed of posts and slabs, with a bark roof. There was a fire place built of brick, and a long chimney trending in an oblique direction. On the left hand lay a sleeping bunk, and on the floor I found several billy cans with wooden ends, a little bag of peas, two tins of white sugar, some early potatoes, baking dishes, frying-pans, knives, and other articles. A nice little stack of dry wood and a bundle of bark stood near the fire place.

The stack of wood was evidently intended for fuel and the bark for lighting the fire. Of course, I found no one inside. On examining the chimney outside, I found its top a long distance from the cave , it was between two rocks, and a dead she oak was thrown over them to conceal the discolouration occasioned by the smoke. I searched about the ranges on Saturday and Sunday without finding any one. To-day I discovered a second cave, quite near the first. A stream of water flows out of it, and I had to creep in on my hands and knees with a candle. After crawling some distance, about 10 yards, I was able to stand upright, and found myself in a long narrow hall. I went along, and came to two compartments, one on the right hand and the other on the left. I entered the one on the left first, and found there a box full of chaff, the bare bones of pigs' heads, beef bones, turkeys' legs, some slabs and bark where a still seems to have stood, wooden shovels, an empty flour bag, and some old shirts. The right hand cave was empty. It was so small that I had to get a boy to inspect it. The entrance to this cave was concealed by ferns. The cave itself is a natural formation. The turkeys' legs and bones were lying on a ledge of the rock. On making a further examination of the vicinity of the caves, I found what appeared to be signals. Fifty or sixty yards up the range there is a large rock, and a tree growing near its end. In the fork of this tree there is a prong like a skewer, on which is stuck a fresh piece of moss. A little further up on the same track two pieces of dead wood have been placed on a rock, and higher up still there is a wattle which has been cut in a peculiar style. The place where the caves are is known on the station as the Horseshoe Bend, and it was very seldom visited until about six months ago, when the man Kirby took up a selection on the flat below. What these caves were used for is not definitely known, but the police suspect that an illicit still has been carried on there by someone from the Reedy Creek diggings, about 10 miles from here, for a series of years.

The Argus
August 1880

The Swaggie's



1631488256_ns3195-2-1537.jpg … 2-1537/one

"Gold, ... Bright and yellow, hard and cold, Molten, graven, hammered or roll'd, Heavy to get and light to hold: Stolen, honored, bought and sold, Pride of many a mine untold."

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Joined: 29 August 2016
Posts: 436
18 September 2021 03:37 pm

This yarn is so good, you will enjoy it too of that I am sure! I am still laughing you can just picture it hey. Ya just got to read it.
cheers Jemba.

THE GHOST DRIVE "Amalgam" tells of an uncanny experience in a tragedy-haunted mine.

DEAR "John,"-Many miners tell yarns of super natural happenings underground, but having been brought up in a. sensible household where 'bogeymen'' never intruded I grew up without any fear of the unseen.

I started mining almost as soon as could carry a drill or climb down a ladder, and eventually I drifted to the lead mines at Galena, north of Geraldton, where I worked in the Surprise Mine. Often when working on the afternoon shift I was- alone in the No. 1 level except for George bogger, who cleaned up the ore left by the previous shift. About 50 feet north of the crosscut where I was -working was another crosscut connecting up with a worked out lode. Whilst mullocking-up this ode a miner had been killed and here were many tales circulating concerning his ghost which walked the deserted stope, where noises from falling ground and the creaking of decayed timber provided plenty of weird sound effects in support of the stories.

One day I went along to the north of the deserted lode to obtain a drill, which I needed. Picking up the drills I bumped against some timber and out went my light. I remembered then that I had left my matches on a ledge near where I had been working, so there was nothing for it but to grope my way back as best I could.

Uncanny. Going along with one hand on each of the truck rails I felt an uncanny sensation; the sense that someone or something else was there with me in the dense blackness. Strange electric shocks seemed to run up my spine and the hair on the back of my neck bristled. I tried! to be sensible and master the sensation but panic had gripped me. I heard a stealthy shuffling and heavy breathing, then another shuffle and a sharp intake of breath. Every sense taut as piano-wire I struggled for self-control, then moved forward and bumped into something, which gave the most dreadful blood curdling shriek it has ever been my misfortune to hear.

That was the last straw. The tattered remnants of my self-control vanished; I leapt into the air and my head came into violent contact with a cap-piece. I rushed through the darkness hell-for-leather until I collided with the timber in the No. 2 lode and eventually got back to my matches. I lit the candle and collapsed on the floor of the drive. When I came to, I found Yorkie Farrar, the shift foreman bending over me. I was covered in blood and he thought there had been a fall of earth. "Where's George?" he asked, and once again I got a grip of my frayed nerves. Taking the Candle I led the way to the place where I had collided with the "ghost." There was George, flat out in a dead faint. We put him on a trolley and took him out to the plat and eventually brought him round. Two days later he packed up and caught the train vowing that he had had more than enough of underground work. Before he departed, he told me that he had gone into the north end of the "ghost drive" to obtain a bar to wrench out some sleeper dogs. Feeling nervous he had been hurrying back and dropped his spider, extinguishing the candle. He too had left his matches behind and had then undergone the same nerve-wracking experience that had fallen to my lot.


A mine working, Nullagine, 1948


Western Mail
September 1941

"Gold, ... Bright and yellow, hard and cold, Molten, graven, hammered or roll'd, Heavy to get and light to hold: Stolen, honored, bought and sold, Pride of many a mine untold."

6 users like this post: Mackka, Smoky bandit, mbasko, Jaros, Nightjar, phantomnosepicker


From: Brisbane
Joined: 18 February 2014
Posts: 6,049
18 September 2021 03:52 pm

I would have crapped myself and died of a heart attack, but, a great yarn, thanks mate.

1 user likes this post: Jemba


From: S.E.Qld., QLD
Joined: 11 August 2013
Posts: 15,252
18 September 2021 04:07 pm

It's creepy walking into an old mine-no OHS in those days...

F1A4M2, Exterra 705 Gold, Ace 250, Goldrat 8" Dreammat River Sluice.

1 user likes this post: Jemba


Joined: 29 August 2016
Posts: 436
18 September 2021 05:31 pm

Thanks guy's yep that is a good one indeed. LOL the poor bugger LOL thumbsup

"Gold, ... Bright and yellow, hard and cold, Molten, graven, hammered or roll'd, Heavy to get and light to hold: Stolen, honored, bought and sold, Pride of many a mine untold."

2 users like this post: Mackka, Jaros


Joined: 29 August 2016
Posts: 436
19 September 2021 09:35 am

The Wraith of Gummy Gale.

LAVERT’S pub stood across the gap where the narrow macadamised road swung sharply round an abrupt spur of Wombat Range. On the verandah, in a brown study, sat Davey Brammell, the shearer. His head hung heavy, and he looked like a lost sheep in a strange pad dock. He had knocked down his cheque, and was now getting himself straight again for the track.

Mick Rooney, an old shed acquaintance, came plodding round the curve, and presently threw his swag down at the corner of the building. Davey was as glad as if Mick had been his own brother. His pot-companions had gone two days ago, and even the bummer had left when he found that Davey was an insolvent proposition. With the exception of some carriers camped a mile down the range, there was not a soul about the place to talk with.

Lavert had been a jolly fellow, always willing for a rubber at euchre, but when Davey had parted his last “sprat,” Lavert left off playing cards. He also left off talking. So Davey welcomed Mick Rooney. They had a drink, wherefore Lavert raked up a smile and started talking again.

“I think I’ve seen you before,” he said, leaning on the bar and beaming across at the newcomer. “Wasn’t you pressin’ at Toonbar one year?” “I was—me an’ the Cockroach. That’s a good few year ago now,” said Mick, reflectively. “You must ’ave a surprisin’ good memory.”

“I don’t soon forget faces,” Lavert returned. “ ’Specially if they owe you a bob or two,” added Mick. No one who had once known him could easily forget Mick. He was short and thick set, and wore a big nose dumped in the middle, and a squint in one eye. Davey was a giant beside him; but Davey had a slouching gait and was slow and dull.

“I was havin’ a bit of a yarn with th’ old girl round th’ corner,” Mick presently resumed, as he thrust his glass back and wiped his mouth with a sweep of his shirt-sleeve. “Mother Donefly?” queried Lavert. Mick nodded. “She tells me Gummy Gale, th’ hatter, scragged himself in the old hut somewhere about three year ago.”

“Aye! He went off his onion at the last, an’ took a drop from the crossbeam.” “Poor old Gummy! I didn’t think he’d come ter that. He warn’t a bad sort, take him all round. What did he pan out?” “Tuppence. The yarn goes that he had a pile stowed away somewhere, but I think it was only skite. They found nothing,
anyhow—unless it was Mother Donelly.” He laughed softly. “Did yer ever hear tell of the ghost on the Wombat?” he asked. “No!” said Mick, expectantly. “The old woman used to go ev’ry evenin’ at dusk an’ squat down on a big rock on the side of the range,” Lavert began. “ ’Twas just below her place, an’ overlook in' the caboose where Gale hung out. There she smoked her pipe—she was always fond of her pipe, was Mother Donelly—an’ some times she’d jabber to herself for a hour or more. Donelly, yer see, is always away workin’ on Toonbar; an of course, she feels it a bit lonesome cooped up there by herself. She an’ Gummy were great friends while he lived. Used ter visit one another reg’lar. Anyhow, he went off his nanny an’ took the short cut across the boundary. It was with her dog-chain he done the trick, too.

I remember the barney she had with the bobby to get the chain back. Well, after that it was a common thing to see blokes come peltin’ round the p’int there at night as if the Devil was after ’em.- They’d seen Gale’s ghost. It used to amuse me. Most of ’em saw him sittin’ on the rock, smokin’, as he used to at his own door, an’ talkin’ in sepulchral tones; an’ some would see him rise up sudden-like, with a deep-drawn sigh, an’ at times it was a blood-curdlin’ groan, an’ glide away like a shadder.

Of course I knew it was Mother Donelly herself, but they wouldn’t have it. Not a bit of it. Ev’ry benighted son of a gun that streaked round that corner swore as it was Gale’s ghost an’ no other; an’ the yarn spread about till Wombat Range got sich a bad name that no one but a total stranger would come by there at night. Even the drovers reckon that no mob of cattle can be made ter camp within five miles of it. It got about, you know, that Gale had a bit of stuff planted somewhere by his humpy, an’ that Mother Donelly got on to it, an’ so the old chap can’t rest, an’ goes moanin’ round.”

“Do you think Gummy’s swag’s still buried at th’ humpy?” Davey asked Mick when they were alone out on the verandah. “I’ll stake me forty years’ gatherin’ on it, providin’ as Mother Donelly ain’t been an’ nailed it. She was always a pryin’ old cat; but, still, Gummy was fly enough for her— an’ he was pretty close-fisted with it. So, all an’ all considered, it must be there yet.” “Mick, a haul like that would be a chuck in now !” Davey exclaimed. He straightened his back, with his hands on his knees, and blinked at the road which the dead man’s gold might save him from tramping.

“I’ll tell yer what I was thinkin’,” Mick went on, with a quick side-glance towards the door. “I don’t want his bloomin’ nabs to get wind of it,” he added cautiously. “Is there such a thing as a pick about, d’yer know ?” “There’s a couple leanin’ against the horse-yard at th’ back,” said Davey. “They’re not up ter much, but they’ll do for what we want.”

There was no moon that night, but still it was not very dark. A cloudless sky bedizened with countless stars rendered it an easy matter, for one thing, to pick out the squat form of Mrs. Donefly perched on the rock above Gale’s humpy. She was smoking, as usual, and enjoying the cool night breeze that came in little puffs along the range. Farther down the slope the carriers’ fires glowed readily, while the jangle of horse-bells came incessantly from the surrounding timber. Nothing stirred about the building, which stood in the shadow of the hillside. The two men crept towards it, hugging the slope to escape the owl-like eyes of the woman.
The place was in ruins. Many of the slabs had fallen in, leaving huge gaps in the sides; and storm-winds had stripped half the bark from the roof. Davey shuddered as he looked in. He did not like the idea of searching by night for a dead man’s gold, however bravely he had spoken of his willingness to do so. Every strange object that caught his eye gave him a shock. He was suffering from the effects of his two weeks’ spree, and his mind was in a fit condition to conceive a semblance of the uncanny in the most commonplace objects about him. Rooney, though disliking the neighborhood, was intent on business.

They began a systematic search for the miser’s hoard, starting at the door and working outward with the pick-point, one to the left, the other to the right. Rooney thought the money would be wrapped in cloth or bagging, which would be easily felt with the pick.

Hours they toiled, till the whole surface was broken up for several feet around the humpy. Every boulder in the vicinity was overturned and the ground well probed where it had lain. But nothing was discovered. ‘‘Looks like huntin’ for a mare’s nest,” whispered Davey, leaning wearily on his pick.

“Don’t give in yet,” said his mate, though he, too, began to lose hope. “We’ll try in side. I don’t like th’ thought o’ missin’ it.” They had broken up half the caked floor in their search, when a rustling outside caused Davey to look round sharply.

“My Gawd!” he gasped the next instant, and the pick dropped from his nerveless hands. “What’s up?” whispered Mick, “’Ave yer found it?” “Look ! Look !” whispered Davey, hoarsely. “Wha —what’s that?” Shuffling along the grass was a tall white object that seemed to be sniffing and scratching at the broken ground. It resembled a man lifting himself along on his hams while the rustle of its snow-white garments sounded strangely weird. Even its breathing they could hear —deep breathing that made them shudder. The clink of a chain sounded clearly with every movement, and their hair bristled at the recollection that it was with a dog-chain that Gale hanged himself. Suddenly the apparition rose up from the ground and stood waving its white arms as though beating off an invisible foe.
“My oath !” gasped Davey, as he clutched the back of Rooney’s shirt and goggled across his shoulder. “It’s Gale’s ghost!” “Lemme go, you fool!” whispered Rooney, tearing his shirt free and retreating cautiously towards the door. He shook a tottering fist at the outsider. Its arms and body were clothed in a long white robe, and on its head was a fantastic covering that did not look unlike a white frilled bonnet. With trembling knees the treasure-hunters crept to the doorway. Rooney’s elbows dug viciously into the other man’s ribs, and gripping his pick in his hands he darted from the hut and rushed wildly along the hill. After him, gasping in abject terror, staggered Davey, breathing like the dry pant of a knocked-up dog.

Almost immediately they heard a bump, bump, and the rattle of chains behind them. Lasting terrified glances over their shoulders they saw the Thing flying through the air with a great flutter of white. Now and again it would bump the earth hard, as though gambolling in its glee. Then it would leap into the air again, its arms waving and its white robes flowing. Such peculiar antics demoralised the two fossickers. Their pace dwindled to a tottering walk, and they called on high Heaven to aid them .

As they neared the turn of the road Davey tripped and fell disconnectedly against a bush. The white pursuer flew past him with a jingle of chains that sounded like a death rattle, and the next moment he saw it clutch Mick by the back of the shirt and jerk him to a standstill. Then he knew that click’s soul was demanded of him. A howl came from the victim. He struggled fiercely for a few seconds. Then Davey saw him lift the pick and send it with a wild drive, into his ghostly assailant. He expected to see the weapon clear it as though it were empty air; but it plunked hard and deep into a solid body, and with a lamentable disarrangement of sounds the creature toppled over add lay in a death-agony on the road.
Rooney sank down on the bank, bathed in cold perspiration. Davey, with a new fear gripping his heart, scrambled to his feet and beating wide of the dying phantom, dropped down exhausted. “Mick, you’ve done it!” he cried. “Done what?” panted Mick. Davey groaned in agony. “You’ve done it,” he repeated. “Yer spifflicated puffin’ adder, what ’ave I done?” demanded Mick.

Davey pointed an agitated finger at the unknown. “You’ve done murder !” Rooney turned cold. “You gibberin’ idiot, what yer say it was a ghost for!” he wailed in an agony of remorse. The victim’s struggles had ceased, and it lay a still white blot on the road. “O Gawd, what are we ter do? You’ve done murder!” Davey reiterated in the tone of one half-demented. Rooney turned on him fiercely. “Shut yer fool mouth, yer idiotic —gorilla !” he hissed, his squint eye fairly scintillating. “There’s only one thing ter do—roll up an’ clear out of this. Get a move on yer, quick !” He hurried down to his camp with the big man panting at his heels Never before had their swags been bundled together and rolled up in such a slipshod manner. In ten minutes, with their boots in their hands, and strips of torn shirt wrapped round their feet to bamboozle the trackers, they were striding across country with their faces set doggedly to the western sky.
“We’ll ’ave ter travel all night, an’ spell all day for the fust week.” panted Mick, pulling up for a breath after five miles’ strenuous flight. Davey was too exhausted to speak just then. “Must ’ave been one o’ them pumplcin-’eaded carriers actin’ th’ goat,” Mick continued, wiping the perspiration from his forehead. “But the jiggered thing was flyin’!” Davey argued. He clutched his swag again, and they went on, onward and westward into the solitudes of the Never-Never, until the phantom police and the spectral trackers were outwitted and beaten.

Towards noon the next day Mrs. Donelly came waddling up to Lavert's. She was mumbling, and when Lavert came out she pointed down the road with her stick. “What d’yer think o’ them carriers that cleared out this mornin’?” she cried with a vicious ring in her voice.

“What have they been doin’?” asked Lavert. She planted the stick hard on the ground before her, and folded her hands on the nob. “They killed Barney O’Bryan larst night, an’ left him lyin’ stiff an’ dead on th’ road at th’ p’int there. That’s what they did, the dogs!” “What for?” asked Lavert. “What for?” Mrs. Donelly snorted. “’Cos they’re a lot o’ curs. They tuk my white shirt an’ me own Sunday bonnet off th’ line an’ put ’em on Barney, an’ then they untied his chain —I tied him up at sundown —an’ they tuk him down to the road there an’ kilt him as dead as a door-nail be drivin’ a pick through his soul-case. Th’ dogs, they did!”

“What ad— shame!” said Lavert. “They want six months.” “Gaolin’s too good for th’ likes o’ them,” Mrs. Donelly declared. “They want rollin’ in a spiked cask down Wombat. Brutes like them, as would steal a lone woman’s kangaroo for no other reason but to take it away an’ stoom it out with a pick, ought to be hounded off th’ roads, so they ought. I want you now, Lavert, to come an’ help me carry him to th’ cemetery.” Lavert got his hat and they buried Barney O’Bryan by the side of Gummy Gale.

With the return of the teams they learnt that it was the carriers’ boys who had dressed Barney and let him go, what time the old woman was having her evening smoke on the rock. But it was not till years afterwards that they learnt how Barney had met his death. The story was told by a harmless crank who had a squint in one eye and a broken nose.


The bulletin .Vol. 37 No. 1920 (30 Nov 1916)

slab bush hut

1632004434_bush_hut.jpg … d=IE116286

"Gold, ... Bright and yellow, hard and cold, Molten, graven, hammered or roll'd, Heavy to get and light to hold: Stolen, honored, bought and sold, Pride of many a mine untold."

1 user likes this post: PeterInSa