A Close Encounter with the Kelly Gang

Home for the night is the Mulga Creek Hotel at Byrock ” out past the kiddies playground darl.” The ground is red dirt and the trees well, they’re Mulga. As we follow a track out to the “Rock Holes” a flock of big furry goats race past us. The Rock is flakey with shallow water filled holes, and channels that we wonder may have been man made in antiquity. There are tiny yellow water lilies floating on the water and a frog croaks.


Water lilies at Rock Holes, Byrock

Rock Holes, Byrock

In the evening we walk up to the pub for dinner and learn that the goats are in fact sheep that the lady publican calls “The Kelly Gang”. She’s a Kelly and the sheep adopted the publicans when they bought the pub. They are a mixture of Damara and Dorpers apparently a good cross and bred for meat. The Damaras don’t require shearing and have long shaggy wool and fat tails. Mrs Kelly goes on to describe how sheep are neutered and how even feral animals will lose their gamey taste when neutered. We’re somewhat overwhelmed by talk of tight green rubber bands but Mrs Kelly is a sheep expert from way back.

The pub, which also acts as a general store and post office, was rebuilt in 1980 after having burnt down and even though modern it has an historical ambience. Especially when they light the fire on a coolish evening. The Irish barman is a gentleman, Mrs Kelly is quite a character and the place will remain in our hearts. We’re so engaged with talk of wethers and the power of rubber bands that I forget to visit the war museum in the dining room. The menfolk of this tiny wee town came home from the First World War with three Military Medals and a Victoria Cross.

Dinner was large and cheap, cheaper even than our powered site.

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5 thoughts on “A Close Encounter with the Kelly Gang

  1. The first time I saw Dorpers, near the Quobba Blowholes in WA, I thought the sheep and goats had been playing up together to produce this bit of a mixture between the two!


    1. Thank you. Such a peaceful spot and we could have so easily missed it and not realised that Byrock meant by the rock holes.
      It was one of those places that gave a feeling that it must have been important to Aboriginal people in the past. I would have liked to just sit in the sun and let my mind wander.


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