Reprint: A War Correspondent in Peace

"Banjo"' Paterson, who is doing special work for the "Sydney Morning Herald," wrote thus to that paper on Monday:- Coonamble is now the centre of the disturbance in the shearing world. On arrival in the town one sees that the camp of the shearers' forces is now about 300 strong. Every train is watched along the line by pickets. The train, during the construction of the line, does not go faster than a man on a bicycle. As each train approaches, shearers, from the tents, sheds, and humpies forming the camp, stream out. They are mostly men on bicycles, there being very few horses among them. Crowds of shearers meet the train, and persuade any shearer-like man to go to the camp. "Come on, old man, we will treat you well," they say. If even the man is disposed to refuse it would take a very courageous person to decline the invitation. All the roads are picketed. To-day hundreds of shearers in town met in the main street, and were talking of the court decision -- the fining of their leaders. Shearers interviewed say that they must fall in with their leaders, but some of them think the strike is inopportune at present. The shearers are masters of the situation, but the effect of the fines will probably make a difference. The town is like a town in war time -- no one dares to express an opinion except after a careful survey of the surroundings. The pastoralists are waiting for their time. They can wait now that rain has fallen and no grass seed is threatening. Further troubles are unlikely, as matters are at a deadlock here. It is hoped that a settlement will come from outside.

First published in The Advertiser, 29 August 1902

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 9, 2009 9:12 AM.

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