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Whip Culture

Images and poems of the whip culture in Australia

Stockman carrying whip

This image shows a Stockman sitting high and proud carrying his Stockwhip in the same way as they are today when droving. Carried on the whip cracking arm with the handle hanging on the inside of the elbow, the fingers clasp the fall. When needed the arm is extended allowing the handle to fall into the palm of the hand.
Source: "Kidman: The Forgotten King", Jill Bowen, Harper Collins.

Fighting back the crowd

At Syd Kidmans 75th birthday party back in September 1932, 15% of Adelaides population turned up to see the show put on by his men in his honour.
Over 50,000 people were inside the Jubilee oval with another 2,000 outside the gates, police were powerless to control the crowds and this image shows the Kidman Boys sending the crowd back with horses and Stockwhips cracking
Source: "Kidman: The Forgotten King", Jill Bowen, Harper Collins.

Syd Kidman and his long Stockwhip

Image of Syd Kidman and his famous long handled Stockwhip. We still make a few of these every year for enthusiasts and horse trainners.
Source: "Kidman: The Forgotten King", Jill Bowen, Harper Collins.

Yes, there were women dovers.

Yes, there were many good women Drovers as well over the years, this is Edna Zigenbine who had a high reputation for delivering more cattle than she set out with.
Another from late last century was Mary Durack, known as "Red Jack". She was reputed as being an expert with her Stockwhip and wasn't afraid to use it on her fellow workers if they got a bit too keen !
Source: "The Stockman", ,Lansdowne.

ten dollar bill with whip

The new plastic Australian Ten Dollar note has an image of a horse riding whip cracker in persuit of a pack of horses.
This is to illustrate the poem from the man illustrated (Banjo Patterson) called "The Man from Snowy River".

The Stockman - S.T. Gill

"The Stockman" - S.T. Gill.

Rounding up a straggler - Frank P. Mahony
"Rounding up a straggler" - Frank P. Mahony.

Source: "The Stockman", ,Lansdowne.


A couple of

Bush Poems

An Old Mate

Wrap Me Up with my Stockwhip and Blanket

Wild Cattle

An Old Mate

I met him in a country pub one sultry summer's day

I'd come to town to have a binge, I'd just received my pay,

The bar was quite deserted, just this other bloke and me,

And I reckoned by the way he looked he needed company.

' I introduced myself to him and bought a round of beer,

And said, `Just tell me where to go if you don't want me here.'

He looked at me and gave a grin and said, `You're welcome, mate

The story that he told to me I'd like here to relate.

`I had a friend,' he said to me, `the greatest mate I knew ,

And I could always count on him if I was in a blue,

When work was short and money scarce old Blue was right by me

And in good times when I'd a quid we'd both go on a spree.

`We bailed a crossbreed late one day, a big bull, strong and straight

Wide upswept horns and matted tail and mad eyes filled with hate

I knew that Blue was tired and hot, we'd had a long dry day,

I also knew that bull was bad, he'd make me earn my pay.

`1 yelled to Blue to stay behind and drove my stockhorse past.

I swear to God I've never seen a bull that turned so fast;

I tried to turn my pony round, I know he gave his best,

The bull came charging straight and fast and gored him in the chest.

`My horse fell with a scream of pain and smashed me to the ground

I felt my right leg snap in two, and blood was all around,

I saw that wild bull turn around - I knew this was the end -

When Blue dashed out to help his mate he'd come to save a friend.

He grabbed that bull low on the nose and tried to pull him down

The scrubber roared with pain and fear and smashed him to the ground

But Blue he hung on to that nose, he gave his life for me

As that wild bull wheeled quickly round and crushed him on a tree.

`Then like a flash the bull was gone, and Blue lay stiff and still

I knew that he had gone to rest, he'd climbed his last long hill

The others found me where I'd crawled to safety by a log-

They' Carried that old mate back home - my faithful cattle dog.

Paul Harrower

Wrap Me Up with my

Stockwhip and Blanket

A strapping young stockman lay dying,

His saddle supporting his head,

His two mates around him were crying

As he rose on his pillow and said:

Wrap me up with my stockwhip and blanket,

And bury me deep down below,

Where the dingoes and crows can't molest me

In the land where the coolibahs grow.

Then cut down a couple of saplings,

Place one at my head and my toe,

~:carve on them cross, stockwhip and saddle,

To show there's a stockman below.

Wrap me up with my stockwhip and blanket,

And bury me deep down below,

Where the dingoes and crows can't molest me

In the land where the coolibahs grow.

There's tea in the battered old billy,

Place the pannikins out in a row,

And we'll drink to the next merry meeting

In the place where all good fellows go.

Wrap me up with my stockwhip and blanket,

And bury me deep down below,

Where the dingoes and crows can't molest me

In the land where the coolibahs grow.


Wild Cattle

Wi1d cattle, oh! wild cattle! I recall those scenes again.

The kadjebutt and wattle scrubs, the stockyard by the plain

The breakfast in the early dawn . . . then saddle, and away

Behind the coaching cattle to where cleanskins roar and play

In `lead' a native stockman rides to cut the scrubbers tracks

And on the `tail' his women drive the spares with tucker packs

How tense the scene when from the lead a stockman gives the cry

`Scrubbers on the flat ahead, behind the cypress pine.'

Now lie upon the horse's mane, the day's work has begun,

The coaching cattle, moving low, have started up the run.

Now coachers and the scrubbers meet-a pause, and then away

Where wattle blooms are showers of a golden scented spray

Now `wheel' the cattle to the flat, and watch the `pikers' splash

Towards the shelter of the scrub; now hear the timbers crash

As scrub bulls break the bushes down, their fiercely-deafening cries

Are roaring hate, tough reckless hate, with madness in their eyes

Wild cattle, oh! wild cattle! Now throw and hold them strong

With leather bull-straps from our waists, or softened greenhide thong

Out with the saw and tip the horns, and let them up again

To fizz amidst the coachers as they ring upon the plain.

Now let us rest a jiffy, then we'll move the mob along

Through lanes betwixt the timber where the bush birds sing

Then down on to the river flat where gum and leichhardt grow

And cooling limpid waters through the green pandanus flow.

Wild cattle, oh! wild cattle! Let's `ring' and bring'em down,

And drove a mob of `killers' to a butcher in the town;

As years ago we brought them, and jogged the packs along

With black men and their women, all a-joining in the song..

W. E. (Bill) Harney

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