Hillsborough Limousins

Graeme and Val Wicks


A faded photograph is hanging on the kitchen wall
Jaded by the passing of the years.
Our ancestors gaze out of it with faces stiff and grim
As if their lives were filled with pain and tears.

I’ve delicately stroked those faces, trying to understand
Just how their dreams had panned before them then.
And it occurred to me as if a bolt came from the blue
That time makes faded photos of all men.

Another fifty years and my own grand children will stand
Before another ancient photograph.
Will they softly touch my face and wonder, as did I,
About my trials or things that made me laugh?

I wonder if they'll understand, as I do clearly now
That their destiny’s assured, and will they see
When they stare into my eyes and gaze across the years unborn
Their reflection in a photo, just like me?

© Val Wicks

Duck down.

A small bloke in an outback pub
Not very long ago
Told a story stranger far than any wild yarn from a bar
Where beer and ‘porkies’ flow.

Droving cattle months on end
They’d reached a water hole
A chance to wash away the dust that formed a dry and scaly crust                      
The colour of brown coal

He fought through scrub to top the bank
And sneaked a quick look roundHe tossed off all his filthy clothes, dived in the hole with eyes tight closed
But then he heard a sound.

It was a fearful, guttural noise
Like something gargling rocks. 
He spied a duck upon the bank, attracted by a smell so rank
That drifted from his socks.

Before the bloke could count to two
The duck plucked up a sock
It climbed the bank not looking back, then vanished with a muffled quack
To go and join its flock.

The bloke erupted from the hole                                          In nothing but his skin.
Intent on capturing his foe, he didn’t think to glance below –
The stock camp had come in.

In awe they watched him rush about
Stark white and dripping wet.
As naked as his day of birth, a nature’s child of Mother Earth
He hadn’t seen them yet.

But then he pounced and disappeared
In grass a meter high.
The duck let out a plaintive quack, as slowly their mate dragged it back
And gave a victory cry.

His back was turned towards the boys
His bum white as a cloud.
He heard an unexpected sound and cautiously he swiveled round
Then turned beet red – and bowed.

What else could any small bloke do?
His mates all had his measure
In a lot more ways than one, now they had seen his skinny bum
A memory they would treasure.

And the duck you well may ask?
He landed in the pot.
Although the stew was hard to chew, what could a hungry stock camp do                                                         But polish up the lot?

© Val Wicks

                                                                                                Hot pink shorts

The station cook stretched out her legs
Beneath the morning sun,
She'd cooked up breakfast for the men
The smoko was half done.

Her eyes trailed down towards the yards
Where men and cattle milled
Whips cracked, dogs barked, men hollered out
And piercing whistles trilled.

But cows can be contentious
As most cattle people know
And where those cows were pointed
They decided not to go.

The dust was something fearsome,
Obscuring man and beast
Shouting turned to screams of rage
The cows cared not the least.

The station cook gnawed on her nails
And longed to join the fray
But hot pink shorts and baking scones
Convinced her she should stay.

Then suddenly, out of the dust
A man and horse appeared.
"We need your quad bike Cook," he yelled
"Hell's teeth, I need a beer!"

He left his sweat-soaked panting horse
Hitched near the kitchen door
And raced away into the fray
With an almighty roar.

But still the cows refused to go
And still the stock whips stung.
And still the dogs tried hard to peer
Through bull dust, hooves and dung.

'Cookie' eyed her hot pink shorts
And then the sweating steed,
Then leaping on its lathered back cried
"Now you'll earn your feed!"

She disappeared into the dust,
A banshee straight from hell
Screeching words old Nick himself
Would never use or tell.

In her hand the stock whip was
A weapon of destruction,
Firing like a stutter gun
It added to the ruction.

With just one look those cows all fled
Towards the open gate
And filed into the empty yard
Like school kids running late.

Exhausted men and horses stood,
Sweat foamed from head to toe
Their eyes all glued upon the cook
As she wheeled round to go.

"We've never seen the like," they said
"A devil would be tame
"Compared to her in hot pink shorts,
"Thank goodness that she came."

No one dared complain that day
When scones didn't appear.
"If not for her in hot pink shorts,
"We'd not be standing here

"With mugs of coffee in our hand
"And biscuits from a packet.
"By crikey mate, I've never heard
"The cook make such a racket!

"Was it her choice of language,
"Whip skills or hot pink shorts
"That made those cattle change their minds
"And choose their last resort?"

They all had an opinion,
Not one of them the same,
The truth remains a mystery
And maybe that's a shame

But Cook is now head stockman
And when she musters cattle
She'll always wear her hot pink shorts
If she suspects a battle.

©Val Wicks

                                           The Stock camp cook

You’ve heard about the Drovers cook
Who had one bloodshot eye.
No laces in his ragged boots
Or buttons on his fly.

You’ve heard about his hairy paws
And pants hitched up with wire
But what about the stockcamp cook
Who set a stockman’s pants on fire?

With their pots camp cooks are like
An old chook with her brood,
No one else dare touch those pans
If they enjoyed their food.

But one young lout had eyed the pots               A rather brash young fool                            Then one day snagged the biggest one                And used it for a stool.

The camp cook lowered his shaggy head
And swore beneath his breath,                            
Then told the boy to shift his bum                   Or he'd beat him to death.

Now some folks don’t learn lessons fast
And some are just plain dumb.
The lad still sought the biggest pot
On which to park his bum.

Eventually, the cook’s worm turned
He grabbed the biggest pot
And flung it in a roaring fire                           Til it blushed red and hot.

The pot had lost its fiery glow
When all the men walked in.
The old cook dropped his head again
To hide his wicked grin.


The lad heaped food upon his plate
And filled his mug with tea.
Then settled on the biggest pot,
With plate upon his knee.

It seemed the world stood still that night
And silence reigned supreme.
Until the air was torn to shreds
With agonizing screams!

Plate and mug winged through the dark
The boy soared to his feet.
He danced and made a mournful howl
And slapped his glowering seat.

He plunged into the cattle trough
To put the fire out.
No one looked and no one laughed
At the poor, bone-headed lout.

And what about the cook you ask?
Well, he raised his shaggy head.
His belly shook with soundless mirth
'Til finally he said:

“I hope that that’ll learn ya mate,
You don’t mess with me gear.
I’ve warned ya a hunnerd times before
‘n I thought I’d made it clear.

But nah, you wouldn’t listen mate,
From ear to ear you’re bone
So let me say it one more time…
Leave me bloody pots alone!”

 ©Val Wicks

                                                  THE AI BULL’S LAMENT
The cow’s point of view is well published
When AI comes under discussion.
But there isn’t much pull when it comes to the bull
To our defence no one comes rushing.
I’ve lived down at Wacol for eons
Bred to give of my best without fear
But it's most disconcerting to find I’ve been flirting
With a fat hairy Hereford steer!
My shed is kept clean, almost sterile.
My rations are balanced and lush
But now listen here – this thing with the steer
Is enough to make any bull blush!
Sometimes I have wonderful dreams
I’m thousands of miles from here.
By the river I drowse while surrounded by cows
Far away from the Hereford Steer.


But hark, my collector is coming
Dressed in overalls for his protection.
If by some mishap he is covered with crap
As I fearlessly feign forced affection.
My future, I fear, is uncertain.
Will I be entombed in this place?
Will I ever receive a much longed for reprieve
From that fat hairy Hereford’s face?
© Val Wicks
                         TINPOT BRIAN TAMES HIS STEER
We sometimes called him Tin Pot Brian
Bush bred and born and christened
And when he spoke on beef affairs
You pricked your ears and listened.
He knew the ‘hows’ of breeding cows
He knew each beast he bred.
And even though he judged at shows
It didn’t swell his head.
But unbeknownst to all us folk
Our Brian could run a bit.
This talent kept well under wraps
He never spoke of it.
Then came a day along the way
Brian had a steer to show
And while it never looked like much
The blighter had some go!
At breaking in, he bucked like sin
And tried to climb the rails.
He very nearly broke his neck
But he was tough as nails.

His neck got sore and rubbed quite raw
Did he accept his fate?
He stopped the rot, but in his eye
We caught a glimpse of hate
Steer judging came, Brian’s chance for fame
The crowds had filled the stands
It seemed Brian’s steer was half asleep
And putty in his hands.
With tension tight, expecting flight
Amazed at his good luck
Brian got the steer up to the ring
Without a single buck!
But luck won’t last; it's meant to pass
And so it did that day.
The steer erupted from his nap
And bolted clean away.
He crossed the ground at speed of sound
With one thing on his mind
To break Brian’s grip, light out for home
And leave poor Brian behind.
Right or wrong, our Brian hung on
Raced with him to and fro.
One arm looked like a windmill sail
When the pump rod’s just let go!

His legs thrashed hard with every yard
He strove to keep his feet
Then one last buck and methane blast
And Brian’s steer was beat!
Into the night tales of Brian’s plight
Expanded with each beer
And none of us will soon forget
How Brian ‘cowed’ his steer. 
© Val Wicks
               How the Governess won by a nose.

A new governess is coming – the bush kids paled with fright
And if she doesn’t miss her plane she should be here tonight.
“We know what a governess means – she’ll clip our wings for sure
And tie us down behind our desks and lock the school room door”.

“We’re used to disappearing at the first faint light of day
And heading to the mustering camps where we join in the fray.
We crack our whips and strut about like all good stockmen do
But go to school? Don’t be a fool! Our days at school are few”.

“We’ll welcome our new governess with initiation rites.
We’ll show her our bush humour far away from city lights
She’ll get the biggest bleedin’ fright that she’ll have ever had
Don’t be surprised if she heads bush … now wouldn’t that be sad?”

The governess came and settled in, the schoolroom was her home.
The children watched her every move right from the aerodrome.
And then a chance came waltzing by, too good to let it pass
Their father shot a cow for beef, the kids hid in the grass.

The governess wandered to her room in fast receding light
She reached out for the light cord but stopped dead at the sight
Of something she had never seen just hanging from that string
An alien creature with two holes - a hairy, slimy thing.

It took a while to figure out but then she realised
A fresh cow’s nose hung from the string, it hadn’t even dried
The kids had cut it off the beast their Dad had killed before
And hung it in the teacher’s room, then hid behind the door

The governess heard a scraping sound and realised what was up
She carefully took the cow’s nose down and put it in a cup.
She washed it, sprinkled it with salt then towards the noise she turned
Cut off a bit and swallowed it-her stomach fairly squirmed!

A sound of hurried scrambling came from behind the door
Little Ed came staggering out and fainted on the floor
Young Sally cried and scuttled past then stood with shoulders hunched
Without a sound she swiveled round and threw up all her lunch.

Our governess had won the toss but paid an awful price
The contents of her stomach boiled and came up once or twice
Now years have passed and as she sits to watch the sunset’s glows
She often thinks about that day when she ‘won by a nose’.

                            © Val Wicks

Contact details:

  • Graeme and Val Wicks,
  • Hillsborough Limousin Stud,
  • 74 Tingoora Charlestown Road,
  • Tingoora Qld 4608,
  • Ph: 07 41685668 (ah)

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