Finding Donkeys: Trog and Other Animals

donkey @irene waters 2013

donkey @irene waters 2013

Rod was still determined to get a couple of donkeys and the donkey woman from Krambach had told him that she knew of an Irishman who had a couple for sale on a property slightly to the east. Krambach was a small village which consisted of  Bucketts Way, the main road which is flanked on either side with small old timber or fibre houses, approximately twelve in total.  It also has a general store (until it burnt down), a post office, pub and a petrol station which also had a good reputation if you were in the market for a chain saw. A road came off the main road which went to the Pacific Highway and there were some more houses here. Probably there were no more than twenty houses in all. So it was quite surprising to find a nunnery with primary school attached and a golf course. Rod played once at the golf course which had the greens fenced. When you got to the green you had to open a gate to go inside to do your putting. The reason for this was to keep not only the cows off  but also the kangaroos. The fairways had an abundance of these creatures as well as a large variety of bird life.

Not long after leaving Krambach we saw the Irish flag flying which was our indication to turn into the driveway. It was a long forrested drive crossing a couple of dams,  which were full of geese and ducks, before arriving at a clearing which held some ramshackle sheds and an old caravan. The Irishman, Sean, greeted us and took us over to a small fenced paddock. An old race horse that was almost blind and had virtually no teeth was standing at the fence.

“I saved him from the knackers yard. He’s a beautiful beastie but I don’t think he’s long for the world. He’s finding it hard to eat. When he goes I’m going back to Ireland. I want to see the old country afore I go.” Sean didn’t seem that old, no more than ten years older than Rod but he did seem to be in a degree of pain.

“He’s beautiful.” I said. “Look at the donkeys!” I exclaimed, tugging on Rod’s arm. The two donkeys were coming at a run. They obviously recognised Sean and from the way they were nuzzling him when they arrived they obviously loved him as well.

“I hurt my back at work” Sean was saying “and I’m on permanent disability but I got a compensation payment so I can afford a trip to Ireland. I have to make sure the girls are well looked after afore I go.”

“We’ll make sure we look after them. How much do you want for them?” Rod asked.

“Afore I let them go anywheres I have to come and look and see its suitable for the girls and if it is I’d be happy with $250 for both. I don’t want them separated. They’ve been together all their lives.” We petted the donkeys for some time and got the ins and outs of donkey husbandry. Foot care was the most important aspect to good donkey maintenance as being a desert animal its hoofs need regular trimming and protection from diseases and abscesses caused by being on wet soft ground. Shelter was also required as the donkey’s coat would soak up the moisture from rain which make it very uncomfortable for the animal.

We went with Sean whilst he fed his chickens and geese and locked them up for the night and then had a cup of tea in his caravan. Birds flew in and roosted on various trees, chairs and shed rafters, coming to Sean when he came out with food for them.  We were impressed with how this man lived alone, communing with nature, isolated from any modern conveniences. Although some may say we were doing that very thing, in reality it was quite different as we had the luxury of modern conveniences and hopefully one day people to share it with.


About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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