Old fashioned fun

Champion ploughman Darrel ‘Dinks’ Bramich (centre), of Irishtown, with bullock driver Phil Thompson of Queensland, and Brian Fish of Oatlands, who came second in the bullock division.

Competition. Irishtown man Darrel ‘Dinks’ Bramich has relived the good old days at a special event in New South Wales.

The Barellan Working Clydesdales and Heavy Horses ‘Good Old Days Weekend’ is a celebration of the working animals which pioneered Australia.

There with wife Lynne to enjoy the atmosphere, Mr Bramich was invited to compete in the ploughing competition and took out the Championship Bullock Plough Team, alongside Phil Thompson from Queensland. The duo then went on to win the overall championship between the horses and bullocks.

“I didn’t intend to go ploughing when I got there, it just happened,” says Mr Bramich.

“I guess I had a bit up on a lot of the others that were trying, they wouldn’t have had near the experience I had.”

Mr Bramich was asked by his Queensland companion to join him in the competition, the pair having met last year at the Australian Bullock Drivers’ League annual get-together in Stanley.

“It wasn’t good ground for ploughing, it was so terrible hard, like rock really. They had a drought last year then they were washed out.

“It didn’t take long, it was only about half an hour we had to plough. It was only a short piece we were doing, we had to do so many times around it, six laps.”

Mr Bramich, now 82, recalls growing up in Trowutta and progressing from the two furrow plough to single.

“When I was young I ploughed, I grew up with horse teams and we had a farm and that’s all we had to work the farm with – horses.

“The first ploughing I did I was 12 years old . . . we were ploughing potatoes. I think there were about 20 acres we put in that year, that was my learning curve.”

The unique ‘Good Old Days Weekend’ event aims to educate the generations through an engaging rural heritage experience, seeing firsthand how their ancestors lived and worked on the land.

Held in October each year, the event offers competitions and demonstrations, and showcases displays of working horses and traditional farming methods.

These include Clydesdale horses, and other breeds of draught horses as well as bullocks, camels, donkeys, mules and working dogs.

Demonstrations of early farming techniques, hay cutting and vintage farm machinery add to the atmosphere, as do the show favourites such as an animal nursery, cow milking, milk separating and butter churning. The smell of freshly made scones in wood stoves is enough to bring back some nostalgic memories.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it, they were on my wavelength a lot of them,” Mr Bramich says of his fellow patrons.

“The highlight was they had two big wagons loaded with I don’t know how many wool bales. They had 36 bullocks on one of the wagons, and 23 horses pulling the other.

“I really was glad that I got to go, it was marvellous.”

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