Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mother Buntine The Bullocky

Why oh why hasn't anyone published a book on this woman's life?!

Agnes Davidson was a no-nonsense Scottish-born lass who came to Australia with her family at the ripe old age of 18.
Shortly after arrival, Agnes got hitched to another Scottish immigrant Hugh Buntine and they set about farming and creating the next generation, with Agnes giving birth to the first white baby in Gippsland at Port Albert, gaining the name Mother Buntine.

Agnes and Hugh had tried their hand at running cattle and a small pub so they decided to branch out big time with the establishment of 8,000 acres that was Bruthen Creek Station.
They opened a general store and pub on the road to Sale, with Hugh becoming known as Doctor Buntine for his work at looking after the sick and injured all over the area.

Now Hugh wasn't a well boy himself and Agnes wasn't a silly girl ; to give the family coffers a gentle boost Agnes started, aged 29, a carting business by becoming a bullock driver.

She drove her first bullock team over 200km across the Great Divide to the gold fields in Bendigo and opened 2 stores when she clocked in.
Agnes was far from being the shy, reserved type and she didn't tolerate bulldust; in Seaton she took a bull-whip to a bloke who'd made rude suggestions to a young girl and belted him sober.

Mother Buntine was handy with almost everything apart from the bull-whip; she could ride bullocks and horses, kill and dress meat, split timber, build fences and she knew the business end of a gun. In short she was an independent woman calling the shots in a man's world.
The diggers didn't give a stuff that she was a sheila, all they cared about was the fact that she could deliver the goods they were so desperate for, through rough and inhospitable terrain.

Agnes buried Hugh and later remarried, keeping her transport business going all the while, fighting flooded creeks, bushfires and the rough Aussie bush to deliver her goods to the remote towns and diggings that were springing up all over Victoria.

Mother Buntine kept on bullock driving right up to her death at 74.

For more details on this ballsy woman click HERE,HERE and HERE.

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