More Tales about the Duntroon Estate…

A Lost Bullock

This story is based on a tale told to Nobby Blundell by his Uncle Jack, George Blundell's son.

'George and a neighbour rode out searching for a bullock named Sailor. Sailor was a bit of a rogue and at times, inclined to wander.

George and his friend called at a property near the Uriarra crossing, where George had recently pulled down some timber with his bullock team, including Sailor. While riding across the farm they noticed an area where some logs had been recently been burnt, and in the ashes were some remains of a bullock. Sailor had a distinctive damaged horn, and the burnt head resembled Sailor's, but was burnt too much for proof.

George and his friend called at the homestead where they were well known. They were invited to rest and water their horses, and were also invited to stay for lunch. At lunch they were served roast beef and potatoes. During lunch they explained that they were searching for the missing bullock, Sailor.

On returning home, Flora asked if they had found any sign of the lost bullock. George replied that they could not be sure, but he believed that they enjoyed part of him for lunch!!'

From: Moments in History, A Nations Pioneer Heritage. HM ('Nobby') Blundel

Mary McTavish Story

'In 1865, a man named McTavish was employed at Duntroon. He was a widower with a daughter named Mary, aged about fifteen. He treated this girl in a cruel manner, and about three years before our (Shumack's) arrival he gave her a severe beating and she disappeared. Two months later, she was located living with a group of aboriginal people at Uriarra, and returned to her father. The aboriginal people treated her kindly, and several years later she told her story to Jemima Winter, who told it to me when she became my mother-in-law. Following Mary's return to her father, he gave her another severe beating and she again disappeared. Police efforts to trace the runaway were unsuccessful. One day a youth called on Thomas Southwell at Parkwood and obtained work as a general hand. He proved to be a superior type of lad, and was very good with horses and on one occasion accompanied Southwell on a trip to Sydney with a load of produce. He was about two years with Southwell and then gave notice that he was leaving to take up a better paid position as a horse breaker on a station south of Queanbeyan, and in due time commenced work there. One day Tommy, as the lad was called, was injured when a horse fell and when the doctor arrived, Tommy's true sex was discovered - he was the missing Mary McTavish. Southwell was sceptical when a trooper told him the story, so he visited the injured person and found she was identical to the boy Tommy. I last heard of her in 1869 when she married the son of the station owner.' (Pages 13-14)

Shumack, Samuel. 1967. Tales and Legends of Canberra Pioneers. Canberra, Australian National University Press