Eric Acott

Ship name / Flight number: Hobsons Bay

Arrival date: 10/05/1926

I came to Australia as a Little Brother on the Hobsons Bay in May 1926.

I was jackerooing at Glen Morrison out from Walcha NSW in the mountainous iron bark country at 17 hours 6 days per week. In these present days of award payments and set hours of work it is interesting to recall just a typical day in the 1920’s.

An alarm clock made sure I was up at 4am and in the cow yard by 4.15am where eight cows had to be milked, fed concentrates, rugs taken off and let out of the graze. The cow bails had to be washed down, the milk taken to the makeshift dairy and separated. Butter had to be made from the previous day’s cream, calves and pigs fed with separated milk and slops and the dairy cleaned down. So much before breakfast.

By 8am myself and the boss (manager) had to be on the job for the day. It usually was one of three things- all hard: Ringbarking and sucker bashing iron bark trees, blackberry slashing, or digging fluke drains in swamps with a spade. These jobs were worked in four two hour shifts with a ten-minute break in the afternoon. Whilst ringbarking I was roared on by the boss for letting my axe hang down whilst going from one tree to another. “Keep it up and be ready for the next blow on the new tree”. Sharpening of axes was done at lunch time ad regrinding on a Sunday.

Returning home the eight cows had to be rounded up and rugged. A load of firewood for the next day had to be chopped and I was ready for dinner by darkness.

One day during the lunch “break” the boss mentioned that he never worked anyone more than eight hours a day. Whilst not objecting I was more than mildly surprised. I asked about my work before breakfast and when we arrived home in the evening, mentioning that I started at 4.15am and never got inside the home until 7.30pm. The boss replied: “Oh tat’s not work, they are only chores, the only work you do is the eight hours a day up here ringbarking.” Of course, the “chores” still had to be done on a Sunday.

Incidentally, Christmas Day was used to put a new boundary gate post in the ground (2’6”in diameter) as this was a job listed as a chore!

Written by Eric Acott

Eric stayed longer than any previous Jackeroo. He left because the property was sold and went to manage another property of the owner at Wee Waa.

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