The Hawkwood-Taroom line - The Bogged Brothers.

Conditions in outback Queensland were particularly harsh. These affected:

On 16 April 1887, the Queensland Figaro and Punch published the following article to demonstrate the hardships the repairs had to endure:

The Bogged Brothers.

There have been floods between Hawkwood and Taroom. At least so say the telegraph-line repairers at those places and telegraph men never lie - not even "hardly ever". The truth is that they get such a surfeit of lies which the telegraph lines are made to transmit that, nauseated, they cannot stomach a falsehood themselves, but pass it on to the next comer.

Well, the Hawkwood and Taroom line-repairers had to go along the line to place the same in repair, the departmental instructions, regardless of Clement Wragge and inclement weather, being imperative that such officials are to go forward somehow, anyhow and nohow until they meet. Then, after a pitch, a billy of tea and exchange of scandal and jack-knives, they turn their backs to each other and "sherry" for home.

The Taroom man borrowed a moke and jogged along the swampy bogs which the telegraph line traverses towards Hawkwood, until he suddenly found his Bucephalus bogged to the tips of his ears. Pressing a bronze-coated kiss on the forelock of his equine, he bade him an affectionate farewell and trudged onward to where stern duty called him, wading through mud with delirious hankerings after a shower-bath in a mosaic-paved pavilion. Rottener grew the ground, and deeper sank the line-repairer, as he blindly impelled himself forward with his knapsack of implements strapped upon his back, so to speak. More delirious grew his imagination, though he had nothing but his own bodily spirits to stimulate him. At last he stood upright, with a quagmire affectionately hugging him up to his armpits.

O'er the sodden waste he gazed,
In earth-worm's cuddle caught;
But, as his closing eyeballs glazed,
He had "a happy thought!"

He remembered that he had with him the blocks and tackle used for straining together the broken ends of telegraph wire, previously to their being spliced. (A nice position for a man to think about splicing!) Wildly freeing his arms, he, after several terribly anxious efforts, succeeded in lassoing one block over an adjacent stump.

No politician on the stump,
Or listener at one,
E'er felt of love a booming lump,
As he for that one.
One block, he lassoed to the stump;
The other, " purchased" on his rump.

His life was at stake, you see. Therefore, it was a rump steak. .He was then, if ever, a member of the celebrated "Rump and Stump Club". And he had plenty of rope. Yet he didn't hang himself, thus giving the lie to hereditary legends.

On the contrary, he "yee-ho'd" and heaved until - joy!-he felt himself move. And, with renewed exertions, he found himself the most popular candidate he ever knew on the stump.

Popular, but tattered. For, in the dire struggle for dear life, he had left behind in the mire one boot and one leg of his pants. But what boots a mutilated pair of pants compared with the sweet and the seat of victory? Mercy that it wasn't a leg of his corpus that he left behind him in its individual capacity.- ["Fiend" - Ed. "Leg-go my ear!" - Scribe. "Ear, ear !" - Slogger].

Nothing daunted, the Taroom man dredged himself along, until he met the Hawkwood line-repairer, in his official capacity, but in undress uniform.

For the Hawkwood man had fared similarly, only "wuss". He may be said to have "wuss"-ticated with full honors. He had lost both boots and all his breeches. If breeches be leg-ins, then he may also said to have lost his "leggings to match". But his legs were in-tact, though out of gear. The two comrades in distress here had a lying match and departed starnwards " each to his several home" and each convinced that he had been the greatest hero and the most heroic grater.

The Hawkwood man arrived at that classic village with a fashionable costume of yellow mud-an ochre that had never ochre-d before in that locality. A fear that he might excite the envy of the other Hawkwood mashers by his new blooming and Bloomer attire, impelled him to " lay low" until

" The shades of night were falling fast,"
'And all the village belles had passed,

after which period of probation the hermit skirmished in single column to a tree adjacent to his ancestral bower from whence he cooyed - till, the family turned out with the old blunderbuss, in order to kill the suspected dingo.

But, even in the full blaze of his muddy splendour, the eyes of affection recognised the outlines of the returned wanderer, and were about to entwine themselves around his beloved form, when he sternly shouted -

" Throw me a pair of pants, ere you advance a step, or I'll fly to a cave in the wilderness, and, throwing over my form, whatever portion of my Roman toga the elements have left to me, die like a Caesar with my face buried in my mantle".

The pants were thrown.

The fatted calf was killed, and the Hawkwood line-repairer repaired to a wash-tub and drowned his sorrows and his dirt at one triumphant swoop.

The Taroom man got off "more betterish" therefore his thankful friends did not deem that the occasion was one calling for the sacrifice of a fatted calf. They contented themselves with slaying a lean kid - the promising offspring of a stray goat.

I bring before the Queensland Government these cases of heroic endurance and perseverance.

Bring forth the laurel wreath,
Swash around the potion;
Grateful Guv'ment should bequeath
Both the men promotion.


Perhaps some men will believe that the above narrative is a lie. Well, there is no cure for innate stupidity.