The Story of Newmarket Saleyards

Board 9: A Dog’s Life

“I come from way up north”, he told Gainey
with a grin.
“Thought I might see some old mates of mine.
That’s why I called in.
There’s Cowboy, Alan, Buckboard, Jumbo
and Champion too.
Craddock, Darcy, Titch and White, just to
mention a few.
I’ll wander over the yards”, he said, as
he whistled up old Blue.
He strolled over the cobblestones, and into
the cattle pens,
The stranger was contented, for all ‘round
him were his friends.
They paused there by the office, he gave
a laugh and stroked old Blue.
He remembered Sunday mornings, where he’d
had a glass or two.’

(Extract from ‘The Stockman’s Return’ by Patty Campbell for her father Lachlan Campbell, August 16th, 1973)

The drover is a legend, a part of a tradition in Australian history. The drovers at Newmarket Saleyards may never have left Melbourne, the furthest they may have gone was Deer Park and Dandenong but they were also part of that tradition.

Old Blue was also a part of that tradition. Dogs were the drovers’ constant companions, as much a part of the family and the network as the man. A dog was worth three men. Man and dog were equals.

With their dogs and horses, wearing their khaki shirts, kangaroo hide leggings, elastic sided boots, drovers could be seen around the streets of Newmarket and the western suburbs for most of the 126 years of the Salesyard operation. Long after the drover in the country had gone, the drover at Newmarket survived.

Original panel sponsored by Pioneer Homes