A Competent Horseman; Jack Clarris Had a Way with Horses, and Was One of the Last True Old Bushmen

The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia), December 30, 2011 | Go to article overview

A Competent Horseman; Jack Clarris Had a Way with Horses, and Was One of the Last True Old Bushmen


Bushman John William (Jack) Clarris was born on June 24, 1923, in Lillyvale, Taroom and died on October 23, 2011, in Taroom

KNOWN for his skill with horses and love of animals, Jack Clarris was one of the dying breed of old-style bushmen.

He excelled at handling rogue horses and cattle, was a competent horse breaker and trainer, as well as rodeo and show-ring competitor, and was regarded as an outstanding buckjump rider.

To those who knew him and understood horses and horsemen, he was a veritable king without a crown.

In the modern era he would undoubtedly have achieved fame and fortune on the international and national rodeo circuits.

The third of six children of Bill and Isabel Clarris, he worked on most of the stations in the Taroom district during his long life.

A great story teller (and, in his younger days, a man who loved to recite bush poetry), he always liked to have a yarn about his times spent at rodeos, camp drafting, droving and mustering.

Many of those tales were recounted in the book His Saddle Hangs There Idle, written by his good friend Laurie Pointing, who first met Mr Clarris while he was working on the property The Bend during the period when Mr Clarris was its manager.

The book later spawned a song of the same name written by Kevin Groves and sung by country music artist Allan Luscombe. It is also believed Kelly Dixon wrote the song King Without a Crown, recorded by well-known country singer Reg Poole, based on the life of Mr Clarris.

As enthusiastic about life in his 80s as he was at age 18, over the years Mr Clarris was a great inspiration to many.

Life on the land is tough, of course, and he suffered many setbacks, starting with the loss of his right index finger when he was two years old while helping his sister at the wood heap.

Broken legs, arms and hips and the loss of an eye followed. …

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