The Best Australian Bush Stories

By Jim Haynes | Go to book overview

Part 9
THE LOST SOULS’
HOTEL

The bush was, and probably still is, inhabited by many lost souls. In the earliest days of European settlement convict shepherds were forced to live a solitary life in an alien environment, existing on the standard shepherds’ monthly rations of ‘ten-ten-two-anda-quarter’. Ten pounds of meat, ten of flour, two of sugar and a quarter pound of tea became the standard ration for boundary riders and other station employees working in isolation away from the company of others.

Often the ration-cart driver was the only living soul these men would talk to in a month.

There are, however, many who endure the isolated life in the bush by choice, for reasons often known only to themselves, like the old man in ‘A Letter from Colleen’. The bush can be a refuge from many things.

Isolation is not the only form of loneliness experienced by those who live in the bush. Distance from major cities has always led to a lack of amenities, communication and services in rural Australia. This still exists to an extent today, but was far worse in Lawson’s day, as the poignant story of the bushman in ‘Going Blind’ relates.

The passing of time makes us all ‘lost souls’ and the wonderful Brian James story ‘Bring Your Fiddle, Joe’, in which a single, seemingly inconsequential life is endowed with respect, dignity

-353-

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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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