For a two day and night sleepover I decide to visit my brother, BIG JIM out on his property, 15 km west of Howard not far from Maryborough. In the 2011 census this town called Duckinwilla had 10 people. who lived in the Fraser Coast district – scrubby Chad Morgan country. Now, the bush can be dry and dusty at any time, however, at present there’s been very little rain so Bill and I journeyed out with our supplies and sleeping bags to greet my junk- minded, practical, ebay enthusiast and retiree brother.
The BIG railway shed was the first surprise. Back in the olden days this shed carried 6 locomotives. Spacious, airy and filled with all sorts of collectibles and junk, I was impressed with the dozens of small holes in the corrugated sheets that allowed sparkling stars of sunlight to filter through. MAGIC! An inbuilt galaxy of stars.
The first evening also displayed the beauty of night stars shining brightly. AWESOME!
There’s the dunny – Frank’s dunny. Who gets to use it first? Bill or Jim. There’s the old rusty car waiting for a photographer like me.
And the tractor.
Bowerbird Jim likes to buy things. On ebay, gum tree or in the sales yards. He really gets a kick out of finding the right thing for his farm and considering its vital use. Take for example, his cane crusher, extracting fluid out of sugar cane.
Then there’s the old cast iron bath tub that was carefully lifted onto plastic drums and rolled into position. A clever tactic.
In his vast shed or place of refuge, lies many interesting items of junk – a crane hook, potters wheel, fish and animal traps, trommel ( mechanical screening machine used to separate materials), old rusty lanterns, a fish smoker, bottles, etc ” everything is useful” Jim says. I love his solid old dining room table, his old dart boards, and bottle collection.
Up in the attic, there’s extra room for sleepers. You do need to climb a very tall ladder to inspect the mysteries of the heavens – here’s Bill on a quest to reach the stars, only to find nothing up there. He did lower a bucket down with rope.
As the day wore on, Jim showed us around his 57 hectare property that used to boast a market garden of vegetables ( tomatoes, pineapples, pumpkins, zucchini, sugar cane) lime trees and bamboo. The beautiful dam was the thing that sold him to purchase this land. And even though I didn’t canoe on the water, we did walk around the dam noting the bird calls, vegetation and beauty of lily pads and trees.
The clumping golden bamboo stood tall and erect in the dry vegetation. The mango trees were in flower but the limes were dead, sad because 5 years ago they were plentiful. Unfortunately Jim cannot spare the time he needs to effectively allow these trees to thrive. We walked around and noticed the small pine trees growing together. James, Jim’s son likes to grow cactus. So there were unusual cacti growing in specific areas. And as you know, cactus thrive on neglect.
I gathered a bag of pine cones and we lit a fire to cook our lamb chops. Neighbour Stuart joined us for a beer. He’s a good mate who lives close by. salt of the earth, quiet listener in contrast to my brother’s loud, intense voice. Jim likes to debate, discuss, impart knowledge, instruct, give opinions, lecture and in between his reports, says, “right”… “right”. At times I love his vulnerability and tears.
Add the F…. and shit words to his stories, my brother likes to be heard. Our conversations centre on family, the earth, success, farming, traps, computers, engineering, Chinese superstition, children, wild cotton, money, bedding, technology and forests.
You know you are out in the bush when you see this shower and boil the billy three times before lunch.
And in between, sleeping, eating and talking in the bush, I like to take my books and catch some reading time – what better way than in a hammock! Bliss!
Until next time dear family and readers, enjoy a different sort of escape. You might look up the name Duckinwilla. And you might ponder my brother’s wisdom or thoughts – Life is like driving on a highway. Some people change lanes and crash! Some people pass by comfortably. Some stop and some take risks. BRAVO Jim! Love you.