Post-and-rail fence at the Millaa Millaa Lookout
Post and rail fences date from Australia's colonial era. There is a excellent example at Millaa Millaa Lookout (elevation 1070 metres) on McHugh Road between Millaa Millaa and the Kennedy Highway in the Atherton Tablelands of Far North Queensland.
Australian Rural-lit, Historical Fiction
by Ryn Shell
Post and Rail Fence at New Italy, NSW
Post and Rail Fence Great Ocean Road
The clothes in these photos look to be more 1930s or early 1940s I cannot imagine these would have been a great deal of leisure-time motoring along the Great Ocean Road during the war year. So, I'd place this image as pre-dating WW2
Another historical feature in that image is the post and rail fence. The early squatter's traditional way of constructing fences without the need for a nail, screw, bolt or tie has finally come back into fashion.
"View shows three people standing at a safety rail, car parked on sharp corner, sign post on left, ocean and hills in background. c1930-1950" (Source SLV)
Historical Fiction set in Australia
by Ryn Shell
Ryn Shell's Australian rural-lit writing is enhanced by personal experience. A rural-lit adventure of crime and family love is shared in the novel, Billabong Dream.
Excerpt from Billabong Dream
“We saw kangaroos.” Emily beamed.
Jarrah nodded, his face broadened in a wide smile directed towards her. He loved that she understood he wasn’t ready to tell about his journey to anyone else. He experienced tingling warmth, knowing she’d kept his secrets. His eyes glittered with unshed tears as he took her hand.
As Iain drove on, refreshed after his sleep and the last of the thermos flask of tea, he cracked jokes about the children getting out and pushing the ute over the top of the Blue Mountains. “These hills are a rollercoaster.”
He encouraged the children to laugh at the old ute’s motor as it coughed its way up to the top of a hill. Then they squealed in joy as the ute built up momentum as it soared down the next hill without Iain needing to accelerate.
On the downhill stretches, Iain tried to allow the ute to build up enough speed to get up the next hill. When the ute ran out of puff, the children found that funny, and they got out and ran alongside.
Near Katoomba, Iain pulled over. “The radiator is boiling again. Let’s take a break while it cools.” Iain smiled as the children leapt from the ute and raced ahead of him to Echo Point to gaze in awe at three magnificent sandstone rock formations rising out of the Jamison Valley below.
Catching up to them, Iain moved close to Emily. He opened his oilskin coat and enclosed her from the shoulders down within it to cut the chill breeze. “Your great-grandmother Jane grew up with a view of the Cairngorms, a famous mountain range in the Highlands of Scotland. Cairngorms mean the Blue Mountains. Most of the Scottish place names were bastardised into English when the mapmakers could not pronounce the words. So they made up an English word that sounded similar. Just like those rock formations.”
Iain pointed to the left side of the valley. “They are Meehni, Wimblah and Gunnedoo, three young sisters from the Katoomba family. Most Australians call them the simple English name, Three Sisters.”
“We were not allowed to speak of our Dreaming and culture at Kellincha, Uncle. I would have been punished if I said their names, rather than saying, The Three Sisters.”
“Pity those people, Jarrah.” Iain placed his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “They denied themselves knowledge of the rich culture of the Dreaming legends.”
“What is wrong with saying our ancestors become part of the landscape when they die?” Jarrah asked. “It isn’t only at Kellincha. The camp children told me the Fife Springs School won’t let the Woggan-Wandong children speak of the Dreaming legends. They arrange to get us away from our families before we learn about our Dreaming. Those kids and my friend Colin are afraid to go to school.”
“I’m not particularly religious, but I feel spiritual when I’m surrounded by nature,” Iain said. “Your Dreaming belief that your ancestors become a part of nature seems right to me. It’s a different way of saying ashes to ashes, dust to dust, which is in the Bible. We all reconnect with the land. Different religions might simply express it in different words.”
“But what about going to heaven?” Emily asked. “That’s a different belief to Jarrah’s Dreaming.”
“Is it?” Iain raised one eyebrow, his face relaxed and mischievous. “This sure looks like heaven to me.”
“Oh! At Sunday school, they showed heaven as up in the clouds.”
Jarrah grinned. “Emily, we saw clouds below us today floating around on the valley floor. So I guess Meehni, Wimblah and Gunnedoo are often up in the clouds.”
“Children, we have to go now. I’m taking you to a guesthouse with swings and a slide you can play on. I need to crash in a bed and have a decent sleep before I drive any further.”
“What’s wrong?” Iain demanded as Jarrah’s and Emily’s jaws dropped, and excitement in their eyes gave way to disappointment.
“What’s wrong? What’s with the horrified expressions on you two?” Uncle Iain placed his hands on his hips, searching the dismayed faces before him.
“I saw signs to waterfalls, Uncle. I’ve never seen a waterfall except in a photo.” Emily’s eyes implored.
“Neither have I. Please, Sir—um—Uncle.”
“I’m exhausted.” Iain dropped his shoulders to show his weariness.
“Go to sleep, Sir—Uncle. I can take care of Emily.” He held Emily’s hand as she danced on the spot in anticipation.
Iain scratched his head and gazed at Jarrah’s and Emily’s pleading eyes.
“I guess if you can escape from Kellincha and make it home with only the sun and stars as guidance, you can find the waterfall.” Iain pulled the back of the seat in the ute forward to access some of the food Janice had packed.
“No, S—Uncle.” Jarrah grinned. “My totem, the raven, guided me most of the way. There are arrows to follow here. I promise I will stick to the track and care for Emily.”
“I’m going to throw the swag down beside the ute. I’ve no use for home comforts. I just need to catch up on sleep. Promise me, Jarrah, you’ll think of and care for Emily as if she were your little sister.”
“Yes, Uncle. Please get some sleep and don’t worry.” He raised his hand and refused to take the gold wristwatch Iain removed and tried to give him. “I can tell the time without that.”
Emily danced on the spot, eager to begin the walk. “Jarrah, will you tell me about Kellincha, the place you escaped from.”
Jarrah filled the empty thermos with water. “I’ll tell you some of it.” He grabbed some snacks from behind the seat for their walk.
They set off on the track to Wentworth Falls in a buoyant mood. The beauty of the surrounding fern gullies, soaring eucalyptus trees and the clean air enhanced with rainforest and wildflower fragrance calmed them both and conversation came easy. It was a mild winter’s day with no sign of rain, and they took the under-cliff trail through the valley to mount the top of the falls via the stairs.
Jarrah made sure they stopped and rested frequently so the hike wouldn’t over exert the young girl.
“You’ll have to let me carry you through the damp patches.” He peered at her shiny black shoes with their impractical thin soles.
“Yes.” She smiled at Jarrah and then grimaced. “Mummy will belt me if I scuff my shoes or get my clothes dirty.”
“Uncle Iain won’t let her.” He glowered.
This was the first time she’d witnessed him showing anger. It felt good that someone wanted to protect her.
“Gee, your life doesn’t sound any better than mine at Kellincha.” He bent and got her to climb on his back and put her arms around his shoulders.
She squealed in glee as he carried her up a flight of steep steps to a platform where they could emerge to the side of a waterfall.
Jarrah lowered her to the ground.
“You’re much bigger and stronger than Harry,” she said.
“I did lots of farm work at Kellincha.” He took her hand again. “When I spoke of Kellincha to you, it didn’t knot me up inside.”
The children stood together above the falls. They gained the courage to speak of more difficult things as the majestic view over the Jamison Valley weaved its magic and eased the emotional burden each child carried.
Emily searched Jarrah’s eyes to be certain he was ready before she asked a personal question. “Do you have nightmares about your parents going missing?”
“Yes. Terrible ones. Screaming corellas, and my mother’s voice amongst them shrieking, ‘Jarra…’ The end of my name trailed away as the birds rose and flew off.”
“Uh!” Emily scrunched her face. “I thought it was a nightmare when I woke up this morning.” She sniffed and tried to smile.
Jarrah unwrapped the fruitcake. Rosellas flew close and landed on a branch within a foot of Jarrah’s face. “They called me David, instead of Jarrah, and sometimes, number thirty-seven. It wasn’t all bad. My older cousins Billy and Jim were with me, right up until they turned fifteen.”
“Thank you.” She accepted a slice of cake.
Jarrah’s voice rose with enthusiasm. “I used to believe my father would be out on his horse amongst the beef cattle as I worked with the dairy herd. It made me feel closer to him. I would run barefoot through the grass to round up a stray, and I would imagine Dad on horseback doing the same. Oh, I’m finding it confusing.” He turned his face away to hide his pain from her view.
She swallowed a mouthful of cake. “What’s confusing?”
“I’m not supposed to speak of them now.” He frowned. “Two different laws confuse me. One law bans me knowing my Dreaming and culture, and the other doesn’t want me to own land; it says the land owns me.”
“You’ll get the land you want,” Emily said. “I’ll come and play there with you.”
“I’ve no idea how long it’ll take, but I can begin by working hard for wages and try to buy some of the land, my land, the land that owns me. That way both the sophisticated towns people and my traditional people will both know the land and I belong together.”
“Your parents would be proud of you,” Emily said.
“But I’ve got to remember that I’m not allowed to speak about them,” Jarrah said. “I just made a mistake.”
“I say ‘what.’” Emily tugged at Jarrah’s hand to try to cheer him. “I always forget I’m not allowed to say ‘what.’”
“What do they do to you if you say ‘what’?”
“Mummy says, “What is the name of a grocer in South Melbourne,” whenever I say ‘what.’” Emily tried to appear serious, then dissolved into giggles. Then she became calm and asked, “How did you know how to get home from Kellincha?’
“When I walked across the paddocks, the ravens swooped towards me, and I followed their calls and the direction of their flight northwest. I also hung around truck stops and listened to where people were going. But any time I wasn’t sure which direction to head, I looked for the Australian black raven, and it always flew past me in the direction I should go. The Dreaming Spirits led me home with those birds. Those birds were my people from the past. My father’s spirit may have been guiding me home.”
Emily held her arms out like a bird’s wings and twirled.
“We’d best hurry back.” Jarrah bent down.
She climbed on to ride piggyback and laughed with pleasure as he jogged to a clearing at the end of the track, where he lowered her to the ground. Then the two children walked hand-in-hand, enjoying the surroundings and their new friendship.