Tales of a local horseman

As told by Harold Boon in 2004

I used to work at the Wodonga saleyards on horse sale days from when I turned 14 in 1937. Reg Dick the Albury Farrier used to give me the day off work for horse sales and I would go over and work at the sales for Campbell and Sons from Melbourne. They would sell 200 horses at their ordinary sale, with their sale in March being the big one, people would save up a few horses they wanted to sell and bring them for the 2-day sale in March. They would have 600 horses — 300 horses each day. People would ride or drive their horses to the sale and some were trucked in and a few came by train from NSW.

One time they sent three trucks of horses by rail from a station in NSW and a chap that came with them, he was the Manager of the station, had a letter with him saying which was which of the horses, anyway, they started to sell them. A chap bought one and when the Manager looked through the papers he said “Oh, that horse mightn’t suit you, he’s a buckjumper; you can have him if you want him or if you like we will sell him again for you.” So, they put him up to sell him again and couple of the horse buyers from away said to me “If we take up a collection will you ride him?” I said “Yes.” I was only about 16 at the time. While we were saddling him up, I had plenty of mates helping me to do this, they came up and said “We’ve collected fifteen pounds,” at the time the wages were £2 a day, so, I thought “Gee, I better make sure he does something,” I wasn’t worried about the horse. A chap was there who used to ride wearing spurs and I said to him “Oh, just lend me your spurs.” I put the spurs on and he bucked a good exhibition, and he bucked high, but, he wasn’t that hard to ride because he didn’t twist everywhere. Anyway, I was rapt, I got 10 times my wages, I was pleased as punch.