Andrew Boyle HOLDEN , 1906–1989 (aged 83 years)
As told by Boyle Holden:
"I started working with my father when I was about eight years old. I was hardly ever allowed to go to school. I did like school [at Tinonee] at first, then I got so far behind because I wasn't there all the time.
We were up before daylight. Had to find the bullocks and yoke them up. Feed them chaff or bran. Father had a licence for the state forest. He worked in Kiwarrak State Forest and got mainly tallow wood and blackbutt. My job at first was to work the brakes. [on the bullock wagon] Screw a handle down. On wet days dad'd go and fall the trees. Sometimes he'd get someone else to do the felling. The two eldest boys did a lot of felling. My old man would work on Saturday. There was no having a day off.
Ten shillings a week I earnt for quite a while. I was paid wages to work the other mens' teams. I was getting three quid a week when I was married in 1925. I kept going during the depression. Failford, Taree, Melinga. I worked different teams in different places.
You get to know your bullocks. They knew all their names. They'd walk up to a particular place when you called them. You'd break them in when they were young. Tie them to another bullock. They'd be like that for a week or two.
To load the wagon you set it along side the log. Put the skids up against the wagon, near the wheel. Yoke the bullocks to the log and get them to pull the log up the skids onto the wagon.
One day the bullocks all swam the river. They jumped off the punt and swam. The gate on the punt came open and they saw a space to get out and go.
Some parts of the bush you'd get out after a shower of rain, other parts you wouldn't get out at all, until it was dry.
In state forest you could only take what trees the forestry men marked. The trees had to be a certain size, not too small, to be cut.
I did day trips. Went to the bush, got a log, took it to the mill and came back the same day. Sometimes you'd get home before dark.
During the war years I worked at the steel industry in Newcastle. When I came back here my dad gave me a team. He was too old for it then. I give up the bullocks in about 1958. Why did I do it for so many years? It just seems to get in your blood."