Knowing where you stand

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Morning sun pushing through eucalypts. Whipbirds wakeup. Noisy miners demanding their fill of golden grevillea. This feels good, this is the right place. Irishman Thomas Herron thrust his shovel earthward for the first fence post. This is where he’ll stay.

His horse stirred and whinnied. Thomas looked around and smiled. He’d soon have bullocks, then cows. He’d run a fine dairy. This was 1869 and Thomas was clearing his farm near Pullen Pullen Creek, today’s Pullenvale in Brisbane’s western suburbs. The road that bears his name now runs by his holding.

Thomas was born in 1845 in one of the most densely populated areas of Europe. The son of a fruit farmer in Portadown, County Armagh. Then the Famine. Six years of starvation, death, and departure. The Herrons survived, grandfather lived to 114. Thomas went to the great ship yards of Glasgow. There he heard about Australia. Sunshine, strange animals, new plants, land. Next stop was the new colony of Queensland. A wife from County Fermanagh. A dairy, and a farm of his own.

We found this horseshoe on the old Herron property when we also dug our first footing here. I use molasses. Weeks of it, restores rusty metal. I can see there’s nothing wrong with this shoe. The nails are still there. It hadn’t been thrown out, but lost from a horse at the gallop.

Maybe it’s from Thomas’s horse, or one of his family’s. Either way, it engenders thoughts of the old pioneer. Loving this land that I now live on. It’s nice to know where I stand.

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