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On the long paddock with Bill

A droving camp hits the road.

February 12, 2013 4:02am

Bill Eddy, a drover on the Newell Highway.


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Driving the Newell Hwy to Queensland recently, we noticed a ‘‘Cattle Ahead’’ sign south of Jerilderie and slowed down as the cattle were wandering across the highway.

It was a large mob and as we got to the last of them, we noticed that the drover and his dog were at the side of the highway and decided to stop and have a chat; this was something you don’t see every day.

He was a cheerful bloke who said his name was Bill Eddy and he was droving the mob of 700 to Jerilderie, with his dogs, Mindy and Sox. Bill said it was his birthday three days after Christmas, but unfortunately we forgot to ask how old he was.

Bill said he didn’t have many problems with the traffic, but truckies were more considerate than car drivers.

We took a few photographs and left Bill with a big smile on his face, as he appreciated a chat to a couple of strangers. We sent Bill a birthday card to an address in Jerilderie that he gave us.

On our return to Echuca in the first week of January, we hoped to run into Bill and his mob somewhere on the Newell.

On the south side of Jerilderie we came across the same mob of cattle, but Bill wasn’t the drover as he’d taken another mob out on the Urana Stock Route, north of Jerilderie, and we decided to double-back.

We caught up with him at Colombo Creek, droving a mob of 1000 with the help of two 13 year-old family members, Richard and Eddy. He said that he’d received our card and had turned 74.

Bill was born in Albury and lives in Howlong when he’s not droving. After another pleasant chat, we left Bill and the boys and completed our drive to Echuca.

Leigh Wright and Nerelie Teese

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