Friday, May 22, 2015

Bullock wagon returns to Belltrees

Every year in May on the first Saturday of Scone Horse Festival the New England Hwy, which runs through the centre of Scone, is barricaded off for the Horse festival Parade ;  horses  , more horses and horse related businesses from around the area, dressed to impress , entertain the 1000s of spectators who stop by every year to honour the horse capital of Australia.

This year the parents and friends of both Ellerston and Belltrees Public schools passed around the hat to raise money for their very special and very different entry in the parade; Rod McKinnon, his bullock wagon and his 12 massive bullocks.
Ron McKinnon from Nowra with his bullock team in front of the Belltrees Wool shed.
On the Friday night Rod and his bullocks unloaded at the Belltrees Arena. Durham shorthorns, Jersey x Freshens, and the colourful Ayrshires with their impressive horns; all standing about 17 hands (nearly 6 feet) tall and weighing over 1000 kg each. “Impress”  they certainly did and the kids loved the attention and the ride in the parade.

100 years earlier several of these bullock teams would haul the Belltrees Wool clip (over 3000 bales) from Belltrees to Morpeth; a journey of approx 160 km there and back, crossing the Hunter River many times.

A wagon would carry approximately 50 bales of wool, each weighing 190 kg; a total load of almost 10 tonnes.

The person in charge of the bullocks is a bullock driver. William Dearman drove bullocks for Belltrees for 35 years  from 1900 .

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

12 months on......

12 months has seen plenty happening at Belltrees. The boys have been coming and going from overseas chasing their dream to play polo. Its great to see them climbing the handicap ladder and enjoying the challenges of professional sport.

We celebrated Judy White's 80th birthday in the Belltrees Wool Shed on Christmas Eve when the whole family was there including all the grandkids. Everyone glammed up for the occasion (black tie) and Judy was treated to a sterling tenor performance by Jacob Woodhouse and Coco White entertained us with a spectacular jazz ballet routine.


10 days later we had massive wind and rain storm which ripped the roof off the woolshed and tore out trees everywhere pulling down power lines and making a enormous mess.






We had POLO presentations in December 2012
A special presentation  was made to Anto White and Frank Bragg for continuing to offer an amazing opportunity to kids from all over Australia at the annual Junior Polo School ; now in its 18th year.


and Will White was awarded MVP for the 2012 season

Some old friends literarily dropped in for Lunch; Big Gordie Elliot from New York with an old mate David Hill.

and from Bungendore the Tommy Gordon family called in en route to Qld fro Christmas holidays.

and at Easter it was time for a water ski on Lake Glenbawn. (Let it rip PW.)

You can never escape Kate Jones (Principle Belltrees Primary School) when she calls on ALL local men to come and read to the kids for half and hour during school time.

A special moment was when Jasper was selected to Captain the Australian Colts Polo Team to play against England. Australia won and Jasper picked up MVP

We put in a new irrigation scheme and made hay during the drought.

Dry river beds and dusty times are never too far away ... (November 2012)

......but it does rain and the river does flow again. To read a great story about the Hunter River and see an even better documentary on it go to "River Stories" by Scott Bevan. You might even see some familiar faces there.
speak soon...............

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

National Tree Planting Day

I hope you all had a pang of "conservation" and managed to put some dirt under your finger nails Sunday 29 July 2012. Why ? It was "National Tree Planting Day".

There is no better feeling than to grab a spade and turn the earth over to plant a tree; then commit to watering it and nurturing it so that it will grow, mature and be spectacular; and be something that you should remain proud of.

Even better !! Share the experience with a child.
Thats what Ruby Hyland and I managed last Sunday. I know its not classified "native" but a "Japanese Maple" is a stunningly colourful tree once established and makes a memorable statement in your garden.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ch 9, 60 Minutes, Black Caviar and Jasper

JJW and Bushie, over in the UK, took time out to support Liz Hayes and the Channel 9, Sixty Minutes team cover the spectacular 22nd win to the great mare, Black Caviar, at Ascot. ........all in a days play i guess.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Success never comes without Hard Work

An old friend , teacher, mentor and coach, once said that "success never comes without hard work". He went on to be a speech writer for a Prime Minister, coach of an Australian Rugby World Cup Winning Team and a successful radio broadcaster. Those levels of committment which were demanded from him have now been handed down to the next generation.

Three young men that have adopted his legacy are now tasting some success in their chosen sport; Polo. The hard yards in the arena and the miles around the stick and ball pitch at home are paying off.
William, Alec and Jasper White are now playing at competative levels in many countries including England, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia.

Diary noteScone Polo                        September 22 - 30
                     Ellerston Polo                   October 10 - 21.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Alec White; first Australian to win coveted Queens Cup Polo Tournament

Alec White has become the first Australian to have his name inscribed on the magnificent Queens Cup. It has been heralded as one of the toughest and most sought after trophies in the world of Polo. Playing for Dubai, along side perhaps the greatest 10 goal polo player of our time, Adolfo Cambiaso and past 10 goal Nachi Heguy, Alec toughed out a gruelling 6 chukka final right down to the wire when Cambiaso scored an open goal penalty in the dying seconds to secure the match 12-11..

The added extra honour in winning the trophy is to be presented to by the Queen. A photo and a memory that Alec will cherrish for the rest of his life.


Alec has a short break before preparing for the next Tournament; The Gold Cup. (The British Open)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

For Equine Adrenalin Junkies only

Imagine this; decking yourself out in long thermals, white trousers, stock, high top riding boots, pink coat and helmet and climbing into the saddle at 7:30 am.; a quick shot of warm "stirrup cup" as a bit of "dutch courage" and off into the never never to hunt fox with 18+1/2 couple (37 lean and fit hounds).

The stillness of the morning is broken by the sound of the Master's hunting horn and the chorus of hounds giving voice to the fleeting scent of fox. Your blood warms and something within you stirrs to a hightened readiness. The horse beneath leans on the bit and you're up in the irons and over the pommel at 3/4 pace. Any obstacle in your way; a panelled fence , a wire fence, a tree plantation. a gully , a river, mobs of sheep or cattle, crops, a road, anything; is taken in your stride. The adrenalin is racing as sweat builds up under your heavy woolen jacket , your hands are freezing and your eyes watering in the frosty morning air. Tally ho.

Who measures distance; who counts the minutes on a good ride? It may be 36 - 40 km or 2 hours later that you take a check on the reins as the fox goes to ground under a concrete slab of an old dairy. The hounds mark the spot and hunger for their prey. "Venery"; the art, the sport, the lore of hunting.

Its a dying tradition kept up by perhaps only the foolish and the hardy.

The Ellerslie Camperdown Hunt has been going since 1898. The current day Huntsman and Joint Master is
Mr John Crosby Goold: