Vol. 51, January 2015
Something to Crow about!
Look closely, the above screen-shot depicts Murray and Justin wrangling over furs at “Beaver Creek” camp, only here they are headlining Crazy Crow’s Trading Post website. We’re rather delighted to see one of our photos being utilised by this major U.S. storehouse. It is hoped everyone has had a merry old Christmas and perhaps even received gifts of real good plunder. Welcome once again Around the Traps.
In this edition we feature Jenny Baker’s story of the 160th anniversary re-enactment of the Eureka Stockade rebellion. Whilst not a Free Trapper event, several members and regular visitors Around the Traps travelled to Sydney early December to attend. What a shame that the event could not be arranged to take place here in our Ballarat gold fields district of Victoria.
However, Jenny gives a glowing tribute of the picturesque grounds of the site at the Gledswood Homestead and Winery about one hour’s drive from Sydney and reports:-
There were over 160 Living History re-enactors including two all the way from the U.S. – Americans Chuck and Judy Young took part over the three full lead up days culminating in the historic stockade battle.
In the Government Camp there where soldiers from the 40th & 12th Regiments of Foot, Mounted Gold Escort officers, Mounted Police, Police Troopers, the Gold Commissioner and Magistrate. There was a Town area where Historic Sutler’s, blacksmiths and wood turners worked. And in the Miners Camp there were miners with their wives and families and our Chinese group.
It was a fabulous event with loads of fun, whilst the only dampener was the storm which blew in just as we were to pack up – so we travelled home with soggy canvas, but who cares, it was all worth it.”
New Gold Mountain
A re-enactment adventure by Madame Sin Wy Fook
1854: News had come to our little Chinese village that there was much gold to be found at New Gold Mountain which some call Australia. And so it was determined by our family that my sister Wy Wy Fook and I should travel there to seek our fortune. It was arranged that we should take the three month journey by clipper ship to Melbourne with sufficient chattels and supplies to run a Tea house on the Goldfields. The Voyage was for the most part smooth sailing and trouble free and we soon found ourselves on the docks of Sandridge – a sea port serving Melbourne town.
Being two lone Chinese women fearful of our safety in a strange land we, on arrival, immediately sought a strong male travelling guardian for the trip to the Ballaraat diggings. A Corporal Baker of the 40th Regiment of Foot who was preparing to leave with despatches and supplies for the diggings agreed to allow us to travel with him.
The journey was long and hot but for the most part the roads were not too rough. We had decided that it would be best to stay at a lodging house one night on the way there. It was a modest but quiet friendly house which served us a large breakfast before we resumed our journey the next day.
After another three hours of travelling we arrived at the outskirts of the diggings. We had wanted to buy some further supplies but found it near on impossible to get near to the store as it had limited cart parking. We then decided to go on to set up our camp and return later for the supplies.
We were directed by the authorities where we could set up our camp. Chinese were not allowed to camp within the miner’s area, but were directed to a fringe outskirts not too far away from them. We set to with the help of the kind Corporal Baker to quickly set up our tents, after which he had to leave us and proceed to the Government Camp area to set up his personal tent and report to his Regiment.
All around us, Diggers were setting up their tents and marking out their claims. At first they would have little to do with us, but once they found out that we had a wide range of refreshing tea to be had, they quickly started to come to our tea house.
Our laundry service also became very popular, especially with the Police troopers. They were dirty men and it took much hard scrubbing to clean their clothes and they constantly complained and beleaguered us. They were often seen also to hound the miners about gold licenses. But for the most part they left Wy Wy and me alone because we were doing their laundry.
Then came dreadful news brought to us by Lo Wang, the Chinese doctor and interpreter. Wy Wy Fook’s husband, due to arrive with more supplies for the tea house, had been accosted and killed on the road. So as the older sister, I decided to have Lo Wang arrange a marriage for her as soon as possible. He quickly found a successful miner, one Josiah Breen, who was most delighted to take a Chinese wife.
Tensions had been building for some weeks over Government policing of miner’s licences and rights and associated exorbitant fees. These tensions began to take a nasty turn soon after we arrived at Ballaraat. The miners were rebellious and had begun to build a stockade and openly drill with guns and pikes. There were several nasty clashes between the quarrelling miners and the Government and police troopers.
Eventually, and to our great horror these clashes lead to a fierce battle and a great many men were horribly injured and some even killed within the stockade. One miner came requesting I help him take one of the seriously hurt miners, a Peter Lalor, to Doctor Lo Wang for aid. Unfortunately his injured arm could not be saved. As soon as he could be moved friends smuggled him out of the camp, for he had been a leader of the miners, so the soldiers and mounted police wished to take him prisoner.
With so much disruption, we decided that the Ballaraat diggings where not the ideal place for us to stay. As our new friend Corporal Baker was due to return to his Regimental headquarters in Melbourne town, we chose to travel back with him and to seek our fortunes elsewhere.
Madame Sin Wy Fook
Sin Wy Fook – Jenny Baker; Wy Wy Fook – Sharon Lindsay; Corporal Baker – Gary Baker.
Readers will relate to this next story garnered from the Country Living segment of the Weekly Times back in August 2011. Strangely, my requests for permission to reprint it in the “Traps” were never acknowledged; now the kept torn-out page has yellowed and the print faded to an extent I’m fearful of losing it forever. I feel confident that the author, Chris Rule, and The Weekly Times will support our reprinting it for members.
Graduating from toys to real guns
The little bloke has nailed a rabbit. This is the culmination of a lot of interest in guns that, for a long time, bordered so closely to excitement that it precluded any actual contact with the things.
It must be a very frustrating logic for a boy, that the more he wanted to shoot stuff, the less likely he was to be allowed to do so.
But it has not all been unproductive, quite the opposite. He has produced a veritable armoury of toy guns, some with such realism as to qualify as replicas.
Bought plastic jobs are cannibalised for sexy bits and worked into the wood-and-pipe constructions on the workbench, mainly with many metres of my duct, electrical and masking tape. He seems to be on to all my hiding spots.
Still, after nagging for real bullets and pleading for some simple target practice for enough months, I was finally convinced he was interested enough in a sustained way. I wandered into the gun shop for a packet of cheap 22s.
As a kid my son’s age, I could buy these at the local milk bar. Now I get to feel a bit dangerously special being one of a shrinking number trusted to own weaponry.
Anyway, I set him up with a good target and he proved reasonably steady-of-hand and, more importantly, careful to the point of paranoia, which is how we train kids in the family when it comes to guns.
Just as an example, we do not have a tradition of using safety catches. Two reasons.
The first is you do not cock or even necessarily load the gun until about to shoot, so why use a safety and, somewhat paradoxically, the gun is considered ALWAYS loaded. It should not matter if it goes off because it is NEVER pointed anywhere but at a target or the ground.
The second reason is that I can never work out which position is “safe”, and only ever managed to leave it on right up to the annoying moment when I squeezed the trigger to find it locked and the feral I’d aimed at would insolently trot away unscathed.
So the boy shot his rabbit.
The story slowly emerged that it took not one clean shot but rather seven to finally plug an apparently profoundly deaf bunny nibbling the spring grass.
More target practice is indicated.
Chris Rule writing for the Weekly Times
More poetic plunder from the Club President’s scrapbooks – this epic by R.L. Baxter first appeared in Muzzleloader Magazine way back in 1988 in the May/June edition.
If you’re into flintlock rifles, You will learn to your dismay,
When they speak to one another, This is surely what they say:
“Although flintlocks have no feelings, We’re contrary as the mules.
No matter what the shooter wants, All good flinters have these rules.
If you want to bug your shooter, Bend the mainspring to its peak,
Then when he pulls the trigger, Let your frizzen spring go weak!
Let him knap the flint real careful, And clean and tune the lock.
Then when he’s set and ready, Let the top jaw lose the rock!
Or if the spark’s not coming, And the old stone has been doffed,
When he fits and trims a new one, Let your frizzen face go soft!
If the flint finds all this boring, And the sear wants in the plot,
Make your fly stick for some reason, So he finds the half cock slot!
If the shooter thinks he’s master, That he now calls the tune,
Let your innards get real sloppy, So it all goes off too soon!
Then, when he thinks he’s fooled you, But you know you’ve got him bugged,
Let the pan flash clean and quickly, But keep your touchhole plugged!
For those who want to shoot us, It must be understood,
We add colour to their verbiage, As they learn to swear real good!
In our private world of flintlocks, We know which one’s really trying,
Cause that’s the one who’s owner, Has real red eyes from crying!
Yes, we flinters render service, We really, really do!
If you take up flintlock shooting, We will make a man of you!”
Who would have believed that Victorian voters would swing so far against the Liberal government? The Trapper committee would hope all firearms enthusiasts carefully consider the future of our sport whenever at the polling booths. On the Monday after last election the Herald-Sun reported concerns over divisive political issues. Gun ownership laws were rated alongside of euthanasia and abortion. Hell, there had been no mention of firearm concerns in the lead up to Election Day. Can you trust any politician to defend your shooting sports interests?