A Chance Meeting with the Dog Catcher

In Bourke we visit the cemetery to see the grave of Fred Hollows. Fred whose cataract surgery restored the sight to not only Aboriginals of the outback but underprivileged the world over. The cemetery is awash with artificial flowers and we now realise the significance of the Nyngan funeral director that we saw selling artificial flowers. it is a tradition of the Aboriginal people to cover the graves completely with flowers. There is often a chair beside the grave too, for the mourners when they drop by to have a chat with their loved ones. As we wander about we probably look a bit lost. A council worker and dog catcher pulls up in his ute to offer assistance. We get chatting and he tells us about the rise and demise of the abattoir and the possibility of a new one to process goats no less. Hallelujah, there are more goats out here than rabbits. The conversation is peppered with jokes too risqué for these pages but a true gentleman of the bush he is. He gives us a map of the cemetery and tells us to come back after dark, it is beautiful, as the graves have lots of solar lights around them. We’ll take his word for that. I find the graves of the nuns who died in the heatwave, it was way too hot for their heavy habits. And the graves of Afghan cameleers beside the corrugated iron mosque. 

Bourke, NSW, Google Maps

The little mosque and Afghan cameleer graves, Bourke cemetery

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14 thoughts on “A Chance Meeting with the Dog Catcher

  1. That granite boulder is an amazing memorial stone, I just had to stroke it. Visiting a cemetery like that makes me wonder what it will be like in the future now that so many people are cremated and their ashes scattered. You learn such a lot about lives when you visit the old cemeteries.

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      1. I seem to remember taking a photo of the memorial to a little girl killed when horses bolted and she was thrown from the cart when going to a Sunday School picnic. That summed up the tough lives for me. Killed by musket does sound less emotional but I guess that’s because it sounds as though it’s just part of a movie storyline..

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      2. I’ve finished off the bottle of Tia Maria and also Baileys which were left over from previous winter camping trips. They make for a delightful warm up on a cold night. 🙂

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      3. Whoops, just realized I totally misinterpreted your comment, I thought you were talking about the bottled stuff not the kind that killed off the oldy at Bourke. :-/

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    1. So much of Central Australia is desert and well suited to camels. The afghans and their camel trains played a valuable role in opening up the outback and providing much needed supplies to early settlers. The camels themselves obviously did well in our climate and we now export camels to the Middle East.

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