Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By The Adventures of Yorky
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

"SHEEP-O" ~ Broken Hill

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.


Broken Hill was a city in the desert. It was a pretty big place according to the

mailman and sported at least a hotel on every street corner. Mining, gambling, shearing,

Two-Up and drinking were the main activities of this city in 1968. I was 19 years old

then and everyday I shore, I was getting faster and cleaner.

The mailman told me of a bar where all the shearers drank at, but, he said, The Argent

Hotel was the best place to stay, so I took him at his word. He dropped me off outside

the Argent and I thanked him for the ride and offered to buy him a beer next time I saw


The owner of the Argent was a greek. Nick the Greek, they called him. He was a very

friendly bloke. As soon as I spoke a few words of Greek to him, his face lit up and our

friendship was established.

One of the characters I met in the argent was a black fella who went by the name of

Soreback. Soreback was a short man and very heavy. He must have weighed 250

pounds, if he weighed a pound. He was totally bald on top and his eyes bulged out

slightly, probably because of the amount of grog he used to consume. Old Soreback told

me his name was Ralph Horton and that his mother was a Maori from New Zealand.

I had no reason to not believe him until a bloke told me he was a half-caste Abbo. His

real name was Ralph Hampton from Uabalong, a town outside of Lake Cargelligo. The

bloke told me Soreback had a brother called Buddha Hampton, who I had met on many

occasions in Giltraps Hotel. Old Buddha was always in trouble with the cops when he

got on the grog. So much so, it was rumored around the Lake that his death was caused

by a severe beating from 3 big cops.The version the police put out was that Buddha

Hampton had a heart attack in jail overnight.

I never said anything to Ralph as I really liked him a lot. It was obvious to me that,

for whatever reason, he didn’t want anyone to know of his past. As far as I was

concerned, I met him as ‘Soreback’ and I called him Soreback over the years that I knew


Soreback normally lived in New Zealands’ South Island, at a place called Cheviot. He

had come over to Australia because a friend of his from Cheviot, who’s name was

‘Cream’ wanted the experience of shearing Aussie Merino sheep.

Cream was just as big a drinker as Soreback. They both spent their time and money

drinking for hours on end at the Argent bar. Cream had just finished his first Merino

shed. As soon as he had a few beers under his belt, he could not stop talking about the

shock he’d received when he tried to shear Merinos.

Over the next couple of days, fate arranged it that, I was to work in a shed with

Soreback and Cream as a cook until the contractor could find one. Once he found a

cook, he said he’d give me a pen, shearing. Soreback, Cream and myself drove out to a

shed that was miles and miles out in the Bush. The place was called Milperinca. On the

map of NSW, it’s a tiny little dot, north of Broken Hill. Milperinca was the name of the

sheep station.

There was nothing around us for hundreds of miles but Bush.

The first morning, I was up bright and early so I could light the wood stove. I made

up a breakfast of bacon, eggs, lamb chops and toast. The bloke who was running the

shed for the contractor told me that I’d done a good job at making breakfast but a few of

the shearers were big, militant trouble-makers. By lunch time they were complaining

about the quality of my cooking.

The bloke running the shed, Mick Rice, said to me,

“Tell ya what we’ll do Yorky. It’s pretty easy to see that those complaining bastards, for

whatever reason, don’t like ya. We won’t tell ‘em but I’ll do the cooking for this evenings

meal and we’ll just let ‘em think that you’ve done it. That way, we’ll get through the shed

with no complaints.”

That afternoon, Mick cooked up a roast with potatoes, cabbage, onions and gravy.

When dinner-time came, I served up the meal, just as if I’d cooked it. As soon as the

meal was over, the same 4 blokes pulled Mick over to the side and told him the meal

was shit and they weren’t paying good money to eat rotten cooking. When Mick told me

what had happened, I asked him why he didn’t tell ‘em that he’d done the cooking.

“Won’t do no good Yorky. They’ve got a set on ya and they won’t be happy until you’re

out of the kitchen. The following day, instead of cooking breakfast, I was given the job

of roust-a-bout, for the rest of the week. I was much happier in the shed but I would

have preferred to be shearing instead of picking up wool.

Old Soreback was having a hard time of it. Every time he got to the last side of the

sheep he would straighten up his back for about 20 seconds, then he’d continue to finish

the sheep. Between sheep, he would be in the catching pen, spewing up a colorless

liquid and coughing like hell. I’ve seen a lot of shearers in pain in my days but none as

bad as Soreback was.

“Hey Yorky.”

“What d’ya want Soreback?”

“Shear one for me will ya while I pick up a bit of wool for ya?”

“I’d love to Soreback!”, I said as I pulled out a sheep.

The biggest trouble-maker at the shed was a tall, black-haired bloke called Ron Cole.

He was shearing on the stand next to Sorebacks. As soon as he saw me pull out a sheep

he gave me a dirty look. I shore 5 sheep for Soreback and by the time I’d warmed up, I

was now keeping up with Cole, blow for blow. He didn’t like that one bit. At lunch time

he complained to Mick Rice that soreback wasn’t doing my job well enough. Rice had

no other option but to tell me not to shear anymore sheep for Soreback.

The end of Milperinca shed found Soreback, Cream and myself, back at the Argent

Hotel. There was a space at the bar next to two of the shearers, who had been shearing at

the same shed with us. One of the blokes name was Bill. He was one of the roughest-

looking characters that I’d ever seen. He was around 50 years of age. He had a nose that

had been broken at least a couple of times and a long scar on his cheek.

“G’day Bill.”, I said. “How’re ya doing mate?”

“Not bad Yorky, Now I’ve got a few middys under mi belt.”

As the Publican was pulling 3 middys for us, Ron Cole, who had been drinking at the

end of the bar, casually walked over to where I was standing. From the look on his face,

I knew he was going to start causing problems for me. The first words out of his mouth


“I don’t drink at the same bar as pommy, fucking bastards!”

Before I could say a word, Bill put his middy down, took out his top and bottom false

teeth and said to his mate, “Here, hold these for me and don’t fucking drop em!”

He then turned to Cole and said, “Why don’t ya put ya fucking beer down you Yankee

fucking bastard, cause I’m gonna knock you arse over fucking head! I’m just about sick

of you riding this young fella’ for the whole shed!”

“Ya no need to be like that!, said Cole, as his face turned white and fear showed in his


“I won’t tell ya again, ya Yankee, fucking bastard! Git out of this fucking hotel now and

do your drinking somewhere else! Ya got half-a-fucking minute mate, to make ya mind

up, then you’ll be on the deck!”

Cole downed what was left of his middy and put his glass down on the bar. He turned

around and walked over to where he’d left his drinking mate who, in turn, downed his

beer in a hurry. Both of them walked out of the Argent Hotel together.

Bill turned to his mate and said, “Ya got me teeth there, Sport?” His mate handed him

both sets.

“Good on ya.”, said Bill, as he stuck ‘em both in his mouth. “I didn’t wanna keep ‘em in,

in case that Yankee bastard got in a lucky blow.”

“Thanks a lot Bill.”, I said. “That was real good of ya mate.”

“No worries Yorky, I’ve been wanting to do that for the whole fucking shed. It’s a pity

the Yankee Bastard wouldn’t step up. I was looking forward to stoushing that loud-

mouthed bastard.”

“Can I buy you and ya mate a beer?”

“There’s no need Yorky, but if ya want to, I won’t refuse! And while were at it mate, ya

see that bloke, the other side of the bar, the one with the cast on his arm? He’s a fuckin’

con man mate! When he sees ya’ on ya’ own, he’ll come over and put the bite on ya.

Don’t give the bastard a brass razoo.”

“How come mate?”

“Cause there’s nothin’ wrong with his arm. He’s a good-for-nothin’ no-hoper. He puts that

cast on his arm every shearing season and makes the rounds of the hotels spinnin’ a

bullshit yarn.”

“Thanks for tellin’ me, I’ll keep mi wits about me.”

This is an introduction to the Mercurial World of Guru Om. He will fascinate your mind and bring you to understandings that you may have never even imagined.


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation.

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)

Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen!

Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.

Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%! (See Video).

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.