Excerpts – Canning

Excerpts from ‘Work Completed, Canning’

“I have the honour to inform you that you have been appointed in charge of an expedition organised for the purpose of examining the country, between Lake Way in the East Murchison and Sturt Creek in the East Kimberley, with the object of discovering a practicable route for cattle in these places …”

H.S. King, p. 48

Tobin yelled to me: “Look out or he will spear you.” The nigger raised the spear at me and I got behind two saplings.
He then shook it at Mick who pulled up his horse. Tobin got off the horse and followed the nigger on foot. Tobin told me to catch the horse and follow, which I did and while getting into the saddle heard two shots in quick succession. I went to follow and saw Tobin fall flat on his stomach, almost into the arms of Mr Canning. He said: “I am done.”

Edward Blake, p 154

“… diet was beef and damper, be it breakfast, lunch or tea. For lunch everyone would take beef and damper in their saddle bag. Fresh beef was available only for a few days after they killed a bullock; otherwise everything was dry salted. All rations including salt were carted from Billiluna, except of course fresh meat from accompanying stock.
The only vegetables were onions and potatoes and when these ran out it was damper and beef. For a variation Worcester/hot sauce, treacle and jam were carried as well as a large quantity of dried fruit, currants, sultanas and apricots. A bullock was killed about every two weeks.”

Drover Snowy Brosnan 1956 p. 282.

“He worked hard, lived rough and probably his only enjoyment in life was a few days in convivial company, at the local pub at the end of the trip. As long as he had a bit of beef, a lump of damper or Johnny cake with a quart of tea, he reckoned he was well fed.”

Cleanskin (Bill) Hamill talking of Drover Wally Dowling, p 296.

Alan Buteman, Chief Scientist for the Department of Supply, wrote a rather stern letter …:

MacDougall is, “… placing the affairs of a few natives above those of the British Commonwealth of Nations …”

p. 396.

Canning was a modest man and didn’t seek limelight. When he was being interviewed by a newspaper reporter after the 1931 Well Restoration Project, his wife said that she had learned from his men that he had walked the whole 1600 kilometres, from well to well, over sandhills and all manner of rough country and had swung the axe with the youngest, at halts.

“Don’t drag those things in”, said Canning.
“But people should know,” replied his wife.
“People should know nothing,” was his reply.
“I went out there to do a little job and it’s done. Why make a fuss about it?”

p. 413.