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 .