“Bringing The Cows In” by Brian Kirkby

All is quiet and still in the dormitory of Canonbar Cottage, the time is 3.30 am in the morning, the year 1959. The place, Fairbridge Farm Molong.

Fifteen young lads have their heads buried in the pillows, dreaming of girls, their mothers, who they may never see again, and mountains of scrummy food. All is quiet. Suddenly the peaceful night air is shattered by the violent ringing of an alarm clock, curses abound from the sleepers, as two trainees namely Brian and Norman barely 16yrs old arise and hurriedly dress, their exit from the cottage in the pitch black is dramatic, no quick cup of coffee or tea to enter in the morning, for these two young lads. They both have a task to perform, bringing the cows in.
Norman and Brian make their way through the still village, guided only by the faint light of the stars, past Nuffield Hall and the village bell, a turn right near Orange cottage and up the track to the laundry. They make a detour here, scaling a fence and head directly towards a range of low hills, dimly visible in the distance. The two are apprehensive and nervous , for the alarm clock had not been set properly, and they are late!!. They both know the repercussions of bringing the cows in late. Pain.

They find the cows in the Ace of Clubs paddock after a trek of 20 mins, the cows lying down, willingly oblige the urging of the boys to stand and get on the move. Their destination is towards the distant dairy which by now has its lights shining.

But wait, the bloody bull Randy is in amongst them, oh hell. Not to fear, Randy is far too content with his harem to cause trouble. The procession of cows all in line eventually makes its way through the gate leading up to the bails of the dairy. The four other trainees, who make up the dairy team are already there, setting up the gear, ready for milking. The banter among the trainees is full of fun, for they all know one another and despite the early hours, their spirits are high.

The milking starts immediately the cows are yarded,with ease and skill by the trainees. They all know their stuff.!!

A dark figure of a man short and stocky, emerges from the shadows of the night and props himself adjacent to the cream room door, he is observing all that is taking place. This man is a cruel man, a sadist and he has no respect for the beauty of youth. his name is Begley, Ted Begley, the Dairy Manager.

The trainees do not notice his arrival; such is Begley’s skill in stealth. Suddenly a cow kicks over a bucket of milk, the cow has had to be hand milked, due to the Mastitis condition of the udder, and the cow is in pain. The hapless trainee attempts to recover the situation quickly, for he knows the consequences of such an event, but to no avail. The figure by the cream room door launches himself into the youth with fists and boots. The trainee seeks refuge beneath the cow itself after receiving several painful blows. Begley has had his fun.

Eventually peace returns to the team and milking is completed. The horse Bess is harnessed and the milk is loaded for delivery to the village, the time is 7.00am. The trainees make there way down the hill, to the village for breakfast, they are all laughing and cracking jokes, such is the comradeship of these fine young men. Nothing, Nothing, will dampen their spirits.
As a serious footnote to this true tale, is a question.

If the administration was aware of this brutality by Begley, why wasn’t anything done about it. ?? It went on for years..

BK The Phantom.

Related Images:

photo by: Lee Hopkins

About The Phantom

Came to Fairbridge Molong in 1957 and began immediately as a farm trainee. I was 15 yrs old. I loved the work,but found it very lonely and the bullying was awful. Billy Gelson saved me many times in Orange cottage from beatings. I loved this man. I have had a successful life with a wife who died in 2003. I have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. Life has been a challenge since Maureen died.. Brian K OF
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