The Best Australian Bush Stories

By Jim Haynes | Go to book overview

MINER’S HOLIDAY

GAVIN CASEY

THEY POURED TOM AND me onto the Sunday train just as it started to move, and we collected our bottles and found our compartment. There were four other chaps in it, one we knew and three we didn’t know. One of the strangers didn’t seem to like us much, but the rest brightened up when they saw how many bottles we had. We settled down and loosened our ties and collar studs, and Tom took his shoes off and kicked them under the seat. We arranged the luggage so it wasn’t in the way, and smoked and watched the dumps and smoke stacks disappearing over the horizon.

‘Goodbye and good riddance!’ said Tom. ‘All you chaps goin’ right to the coast?’

They said they were, and we began to talk about the city and the fields and the great times we were going to have for the next couple of weeks. It was a hot summer, and there was nothing to look at through the windows except mangy inland bush. I thought about the long rows of foamy breakers at North Beach, and we drank a couple of bottles. It was already smoky and stuffy in the carriage, and I liked the beer, but I was looking forward to the coast and thinking of yachting on the river and among the islands a few miles out.

‘We’ll have to look after the bottles,’ said Tom. ‘She gets a bit dry down the line in the middle of the night.’

‘There’s a pub next stop,’ said one of the chaps. ‘If we make it quick we can nick across and get a few more there.’

-211-

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The Best Australian Bush Stories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part 1- Delights of the Bush 1
  • ‘Mallee Morning’ 3
  • The Killer Koala 5
  • The Delights of the Bush 12
  • The Tallagandra Turkey 16
  • The Hotel in Maryborough 21
  • Down among the Wombats 26
  • The Drunken Kangaroo 29
  • ‘The Drover’s Lament’ 36
  • Part 2- Bush Justice 37
  • ‘The Six-Stitcher’ 39
  • Bush Justice 40
  • The Irqnbark Chip 44
  • Here Comes the Bride 50
  • His Bad Luck 62
  • Shooting Stars 70
  • Marks’s Cutter 78
  • ‘A Walgett Episode’ 87
  • Part 3- Dave in Love 89
  • ‘To Many Ladies’ 91
  • The Wrong Turning 92
  • Spicer’s Courtship 97
  • Dave in Love 102
  • Poor Joe 106
  • Strawberry - A Love Story 113
  • A Box of Dead Roses 118
  • Drifted Back 122
  • ‘The Free-Selector’s Daughter’ 125
  • Part 4- There’s a Patron Saint of Drunks 127
  • ‘Drunks’ 128
  • Snakes and Alcohol 129
  • There’s a Patron Saint of Drunks 139
  • The Evenin’ before Leavin’ Home 146
  • The Six O’Clock Swells 150
  • Where the Cooler Bars Grow 158
  • One Hundred Stubbies 162
  • ‘The Alcoholics’ Creed’ 172
  • Part 5- To the City 173
  • ‘simple Sister Goes to Sydney’ 175
  • The Waybacks Go to Sydney 177
  • A Zack to Central 191
  • The Downfall of Mulligan’s 198
  • To the City 203
  • Miner’s Holiday 211
  • ‘Westward HQ!’ 217
  • Part 6- Benefit of Clergy 219
  • ‘God and Poets’ 221
  • I Used to Read the Comics First 222
  • The Reign of Eugene Ham 229
  • Benefit of Clergy 241
  • A Sabbath Morn at Waddy 245
  • Bill’s Religion 251
  • Everyone Liked Father Connolly 254
  • First Confession 259
  • The Parson’s Blackboy 264
  • ‘The Parson and the Prelate’ 269
  • Part 7- The Conquering Bush 271
  • ‘spinifex’ 273
  • The First Bush Fire 275
  • The Drover’s Wife 280
  • Mallee 289
  • An Error in Administration 296
  • The Feud 299
  • The Conquering Bush 304
  • Rats 309
  • ‘The Wind That Buries the Dead’ 313
  • Part 8- The Night We Watched for Wallabies 315
  • ‘Picking Lemons’ 317
  • The Night We Watched for Wallabies 318
  • Crutching the Rams 322
  • Conversation in a Pantry 328
  • Possum Gully 335
  • Old Heinrich and the Lambing Ewe 343
  • ‘success’ 351
  • Part 9- The Lost Souls’ Hotel 353
  • ‘After Many Years’ 355
  • ‘Bring Your Fiddle, Joe’ 357
  • Going Blind 367
  • A Letter from Colleen 374
  • The Hagney Affair 381
  • The Lost Souls’ Hotel 391
  • ‘Question Not’ 402
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