Myths and Legends

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Billy, the punt man, had a reputation for being argumentive and definately had never heard of the term 'the customer is always right'! The prices he charged were often greatly inflated but if the traveller wanted to cross the Ovens River in the 1850's at Oven¹s Crossing (now Wangaratta) he didn't have much choice but to accept.

It is recorded that the punt sank in 1855 on the day a new bridge was opened spanning the river.

Billy,the Puntman, (real name James Hyde) then took to the roads on a short lived career as a bushranger. He was caught, convicted, and sentenced to hard labour, but died at Craigieburn before reaching the Melbourne Jail. He had vowed that he would never be imprisoned.

A century after the punt sank it was salvaged from it's muddy resting place and part of it put on display in nearby Apex Park.



Based on an aboriginal legend of the Wiradgeri people.

A lovely maiden of the tribe was turned into a graceful brolga because she had offended an evil magician by rejecting his overtures.  

The Brolga, or Native Companion,   an Australian crane, performs a stately dance. It is part of a courtship display but they do also dance out of the breeding season.



'Moongalbah - Poems in honour of Oodgeroo'  Editor - Janelle Evans. 

Oodgeroo, of the Noonuccal people, or Kath. Walker, was a great story teller and the first indigenous  Australian poet to be published.



On 17/04/1938  the body of a young man, Laurence Galbraith,   a lecturer in engineering at the University of Melbourne,  was found at Snowpole 38.   He had become seriously distressed  during an Easter walk with a companion over the Victorian Alps and died before help summoned by his friend was able to reach him.  I read the story of this tragedy in Niall Brennan's book 'Tales From The Australian Mountains'.

My story of his spirit apparently coming to the rescue of a skier in trouble is pure fiction, but I'd like to think it could happen!



The famous poem by Australian poet,  Banjo Paterson  - 'The Man from Snowy River',   made me wonder if the 'colt from Old Regret' had been out wandering with the brumby mob long enough to sire a foal  before he was re-captured.   Well, why not!

There is still conjecture about whether 'the Banjo' wrote of a real person so why can't I give you something else to wonder about?




'Snowy River Son' is included in a book of poems collected from competition entries 1995 - 2002 at the 'Man From Snowy River Bush Festival' ,Corryong, Victoria. The book is called  'Jack Riley, Bushman Game' and other poems from the Snowy Mountains .



Sam shouldn't have been surprised when the contest his rival had arranged turned out to be very one sided.   Blue did not care how he won - as long as he won.

But - -  it always pays to be observant!

In our area we call a rather large species of ant - 'Inchman Ants'. About an inch long in the old language,  they are very territorial,   aggressive,   and deliver an extremely painful bite. Being normal curious bush children we would tap a stick near the telltale mound and watch the annoyed ants come out looking for fight.   We were wise enough to keep our distance but nevertheless did get caught occasionally,  usually when standing unknowing on an active nest or because a lone scout ant had managed to crawl on to a passing shoe.



I believe a roaring, out of control bushfire was first called a 'Red Steer' by a journalist writing an article for The Argus,  a Melbourne newspaper no longer in print.

I sent it to a local newspaper early this year (2003) thinking it apt as much of North Eastern Victoria was devastated by bushfire. Somehow it was published  titled 'The Red Deer'!  I Emailed them pointing out the fact that they'd G.M.'d  (Genetically Modified) my poor beast but they never bothered to reply.   No deer could portray quite the same fearsome image as a crazed stampeding steer although I have heard they (deer) can be pretty nasty if cornered.

The gremlins must have got into the paper's printing process.  I  admit it was beautifully set out in it's own little boxed compartment but I did have to defend myself on several occasions - I really do know the difference between a deer and a steer,  thank you!

Actually,  I have heard of bullocks being referred to as 'stags' in stories of cattle drives in Northern Australia.



Read on A.B.C. ( Australian  Broadcasting Commission) by John Reid on 'A Country Sunday' programme




Published in The Chronicle, Wangaratta . ( a slightly updated version)