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                      JOCKEY JACK

    May  McDonald .......  alias  'Jockey Jack'  1879-1959

 

     All  roads  led  to  the  station,   the  place  was  all  agog,

         The  unbroken  horses  mustered  from  the  hills

     Attracting  avid  interest,   from   the Boss  to  kelpie  dog,

         Expecting  non-stop  action,   thrills  and  spills,

     The  animals,   a  fiery  lot,  had  never  known  a  hand

         To  touch  them,   or  a  saddle,   or  a  rein,

     They  had  as  freely  roamed  the  mountains  as  any  brumby  band

         And  would  fight  to  win  that  freedom  once  again.

 

 

     All  the  Snowy  River  riders   signed  on  to  have  a  go,

         The  pay  was  good,  but  more  important  still

     Was  the  chance  to  prove  their  mettle,  the  opportunity  to  show

         Ability,   and  demonstrate  their  courage  and  their  skill,

     One  was  there,  a  stranger,  came  in  across  the  range

         By  an  ill-defined  forgotten  packhorse  track,

     Greeted  with  suspicion  -  the  stockmen  sensed  here  something strange,

         But  shook  the  hard  hand  proffered,  "G'day,  I'm  Jockey  Jack ."

 

 

     Rumours  drifted  round  the  campfire   until   at  last  somebody  said -

         "We've  been  told  you  are  a  woman  -  is  it  true? "

     Jack  leaned  back  in  the  shadows  by  the  log -slab  harness  shed,

         "That's  right,   mate,  I'm  a  woman,  but  I   ride  as  well  as you,

     I've  worked  on  many  cattle  stations,  held  down  the  roughest  jobs,

         Boundary  rider,   rouseabout  -  try  anything,   I'm  game,

     Even  done  some bullock  drivin',   mustered  man-shy   mobs,

         Beaten  rogue  buckjumpers  that  made  these  nags  seem  real   tame."

 

                                                                         

     Hoots  of  mild  derision,  a  few  disbelieving  grins,

         This  woman  obviously  suffered  from  delusions,

     A  few  silent  men   sat  thoughtfully   rubbing  pensive  chins,

         Remembering  certain  stories  -  drawing  their  own  conclusions,

     They  could  have  made  a  killing  if  they'd  been  inclined  to  bet,

         Pure  magic  blessed  the  hands  of  Jockey  Jack,

     Within  hours  of  her  confronting  the  wildest  outlaw  yet,

         The  horse  was  willingly  performing  as  the  perfect  ladies' hack.

 

 

     Ladies  didn't  dress  like  men  back  in  those  early  days,

         Jockey  Jack's  attire  brought  condemnation,

     "Pitching  hay?  Branding  calves?   In  petticoats  and  stays!

         I  work  like  a  man,  clothed  like  a  man  -  it  suits  my occupation."

     Around  the  scattered  shearing  sheds  and  over  stockyard  rails

         When  the  conversation  turned  to  deeds  of  fame,

     This  Woman  from  the  Snowy   featured  in  the  best  loved  tales

         'Jockey  Jack'  became  a  legend,  a  respected    household name.