In 1989, Rosemary Curry recorded the following interviews with Gladys Weston and Emily McGufficke.
Gladys Weston: We used a sleeping bag on the ground ... there was no hut.
The next night if I remember we went on to Corryong ... l'm not sure, I think we did. Where we stayed at Cochrane's home. The next morning we got up and took our horses to ( ..... ). Two more days before we got them to Wodonga. There was always a rider ahead of the horses. The horses used to seem to follow. I enjoyed the trip.
Everybody was in a holiday spirit. The men are all out for a bit of fun, we had quite an enjoyable time. Right on top of the mountains, we had something to eat.
Catching the horses: If you put a bit of string from one tree to another, a bit of ordinary white string, the brumbies would never go through it. We'd have one day when we'd go brumbie chasing. That would be the day I'd do the cooking. I wouldn't want to go.
They'd put them in the yard. It doesn't take long to quieten a horse really. You don't have to break them. You put a halter on them, and then you can lead them. You can lead one and the others will follow. They're not good horses as a rule. Interbred, they're not good shape. They've got long legs.
Our fellows would never let their horses go with brumbies, but sometimes they'd go astray . My husband lost one with a pack on it -had his good kangaroo rug on it , and it was away for six weeks. When they found it it had all the hair worn off the rug where it used to rub. It was still on the horse.
Paddy and Barney Flyn (Fin ?) and Charlie: I knew Charlie well. He used to drive a truck. There was an old lady there. She used to walk about seven miles to Jindabyne. She had a little home away up in the bills. He met her one day and said "I'll give you a lift Helen." She said "no thank you Charlie, I'm in a hurry!"
Stray cattle: Nobody would own them. They used to do that with cattle too. That's how a Jot of them got wealthy. They'd go for calves that had no brand. They'd put their brand on it .. Once they were branded with their brand on it, they were their calves, their horses. They call it cattle duffing.
Calves would get away, cows would get away .. they'd go miles in tbe mountains. They'd run them into the yard,and calves that bad no brand, they'd put their brand on It was as simple as that.
Dr Bullock: He built a hut out at Crackenback. He was a great surgeon. Dr Schlink: Gladys always suffered with very bad headaches. He told her to have her head massaged which she did. She reckoned it was wonderful. She said "I don't think Monaro agrees with me." He said, "I've been all over the world, and it's one of the best climates there is. Don't you leave it, you stay here.
Trout fishing: There was nothing I liked better. The day wasn't long enough. I loved fishing. They're only small. Very seldom you'd catch a big one. Sometimes if it wasn't too rough along the bank, you could walk, but mostly you had to get in the river and stand. One day I was fishing, and all I had was a piece of line on a willow. I threw in and I pulled this fish out, and there was a chappy standing on the other side of the bank.. He said afterwards, "I don't know; I've got all the gear in the world, and I couldn't catch a fish. I've seen a woman with a limb just pull a fish out."
I used to get up before the sun and warm up, and get the grasshoppers, and put them all in a tin. I couldn't fly-fish. It was too complicated. You've got to cast, you know, to fly-fish. For a hopper, you just throw the line in. I used to just fry the fish. One day men were away, a long way out. George Day was with us. We were getting hungry. George threw the line in the river, and caught two nice fish. You can't beat the mountain men for the makeshift. They cleaned the fish and they had some brown paper in their saddlebag. They rolled the fish in the brown paper. They made a fire, a lot of little tiny twigs tbat would burn quickly. Then they raked the ashes out, damped the paper, rolled the fish in it, put it on the ashes and covered it over with ashes. '''Twenty minutes" they said "we'll give that'''. They raked the ashes off. We had no plates. You know the snow seems to make the rocks shaley. They were as white and clean as anything. It was coming off in, sheets. We got these sheets of rock, and put our own fish on it and ate it.
Brodies Hut: right beside the road as you went up to Kozzie Hotel.
A hut right on the side of the road: Mrs Ted Bottom had it. George Day said to her, "You take that home when you've finished with that lease, because a lot of people want that hut" and she did. It was made of tin. She got a lorry , and got someone to put it on, and took it home.
Bibby's grand mother (Bibby is Wanda, Gladys Weston's grand daughter) told me that her father was the first person to use snow shoes in Kiandra, and he made a pair. She had a photo of him with his snow shoes on, and he was the first person to use snow shoes as far as anybody knew.
Kiandra was the first place they ever built a dam. The Chinese built it for water for the gold diggings.
Tom Weston: He lived in the gate house at Cooma for years and years, and reared all his family (the gate across the railway line). Tom Weston, related to Grand father, Johnny's father.
Wragges Hut: was in that little depression. There's a little straight piece of road, just before you go up to the top, and Wragge had an observatory hut there for years. That old Mr Wragge ... Clement Wragge.
Mr Wragge depended on the moon for his weather reading, so Tom Weston would be up there at full moon delivering supplies.
'Butterpats': They used to have skis, not snow shoes, and they bad little round things exactly like a tennis racquet, and they'd put their foot on it, and a thing across the top, and walk on it.
Fred Wallace was my uncle. He was dad's brother. He lived in Hiawatha over the river. It's still there. He had a nice home. Sir Joseph Carruther's home he bought. If Fred sent his sheep up, it would be with someone else. Fred liked luxurious living. He never went up there. I saw a good deal, of him. There was very little difference in our ages in myself and my three uncles. Percy was a bit older. Fred and Les and me, we were nearly the same age, so we were a lot together. My eldest brother is twelve months older than his youngest uncle. They were only about three miles from where we lived. We were all young together. They used to come up to Mum's and say "are you having turkey for dinner on Sunday?" We'd say, "We'll have to ask Mum". They'd say, "find out." If we found out we were having turkey for dinner, the three of them would come up. They only had to walk up the hill
Fred Collins: was born out of Jindabyne, about 20 miles further out.
Lived there for a long time. He used to bring wood into Jindabyne in a cart.
Pop and his father used skis to bring out the cattle if there was any left. If the snow came heavy, they wouldn't go through the snow. They'd have to be brought out. They'd take the stock whip, crack it and give them a touch or two of the stock whip. They'd go through the snow, and they'd all be right then. The first ones were hard to start, but once the first ones went through, they'd all follow.
Ray Adams: had a big dog team. He used to take all the things up to the chalet, Ray Adams. One time he went up there and he couldn't get in and he had to go down the 'chimney. He took the mail and everything up. He was Jack Adam's nephew. He lived up there for ten years. He had pneumonia when he was about 16, and they told him he wouldn't live very long .. Pneumonia, when they got that bad, before penicillin, they never got really cured of it.
There was an old man, McCallister, and he was dying of TB. He went up to Smiggin Holes, where the men had their sheep there. The men said, when he came up there, he was only a shadow, and he went away plump and fat. For ten years he lived in the mountains and never came home, only on visits.
Dr Herbert Schlink told me that one time they went to ski from Kiandra across to Kozzie, and he said had they not been three medical men, they'd have all perished there, right across the top, it was that bad he told me.
I saw him when I went to see him in Sydney. A chap I knew said 'Come down and I'll take you to Dr Schlink, and I went to see him, and we talked for a long time. He was very interested in the mountains. The headaches massage cured
my headaches. It would cure it now if I could get it. Electricity they put a little cap on your head. I never felt anything, only warm. It was a little wire cap. I've never had severe headaches since. I couldn't see, I used to be as
blind as anything (when I had these headaches).
Mr Finn (Charlie) took up sugar,bags of flour, things like that in his little lorry. Anything that was too big for a sulky. He lived at Moombah, and we remember him. He used to blow this bullock horn, he'd blow it 5 or 6 miles up the road to tell people he was coming. The noise carried for miles and miles.
We lived 5 or 6 miles from Jindabyne, and we used to hear the horses going over the bridge on a frosty morning. He'd bring bulk supplies from Jindabyne out to Moombah. There were two Moombahs; old Mr McGufficke lived in a place called Moombah, and then there was one further out.
Barney Flyn (Finn?) used to run a lovely lot of horses out there, used to get away and breed out there. He used to clear the mountains out of horses every year. He used to take them over into Victoria and sell them. They were beautiful borses up tbere. They used to get away, you see, and breed in the mountains. Some had no good fences, no netting or anything. Wooden fences would get knocked down, the horses would jump them and they'd get away.
The second generation would be brumbies. Some were very good horses.
Mother had one. My dad caught one. It was late in the year, and the mother was very poor. "She'll be no good ." he said. "she might do the kids to ride her". Mother got fond of it. She used to feed it. My dad said, I'll take her down, he used to go shearing down into the warm climate, and he used to take a cart - a big covered-in cart he had, with two horses in it, and when she came back you wouldn't know she was the same horse, she was so beautiful. All shiny and big and lovely, and Mum had that horse put in a sulky, and we drove her til she died of old age. Mother wouldn't let her go anywhere. She was caught in the mountain snow once and mother was worried. She walked the floor for nights. 'My poor old horse be dead."
One morning she saw a horse over at the gate--our big gate. Mother said, "I wonder whose horse that is" so she waited a long time and this horse kept walking back and forwards. She said. "I better go and get it, whosever it is. It was very early morning, and it was her old mare come out of the snow!
Up in the mountains. there are bones around a tree where they'd walked round and round, and they used to eat one another's tails off and reins off. When the snows came theyd go down, on their own tracks. Some years the men made good fences, they couldn't get away. If they didn't get snowed in they were alright. Sometimes they'd go to the fences, and they couldn't get out, they'd get snowed in.
My grand father's father had a store way down the mountains somewhere, at Lambing Flat. Young it's called now, I believe. He came to Kiandra, because ,see, for some reason down there, the gold was too hard to get. They had no machines or anything to bring it up with. So they came up to Kiandra and they were doing well at Kiandra, my grand father told me.
There was a heavy fall of snow, and there were no trees up there, so they had to let the mine fall in. My grand father showed me. Some fellows came up there, new chums--my grand father said "Don't tell them there's no gold" . "Let them dig over there and put their time in." He said, 'That hill over there, that's the only place there's any gold,"and they went there and they called it "New Chum Hill' , because that's where they found gold. They found gold there!
My grand father told me (about his store). " a bag of flour was nearly as valuable as a gold mine." There were no roads in those days, just tracks and they'd bog half the time. My grand father used to take the road from Kiandra right across the mountains there, a place they call Wallandilly ... Friday Flat, that's where they found the gold. Kiandra fell in with no timber to prop it up again,and they moved over to Friday Flat. That's where they found gold. The road goes through to Victoria now.
William Wallace my grand father, did the mail-run on horseback. Johnny and I (my husband) went over one day, we went over there, and were talking to this man, old Mr Spender (?) he showed me the room grand father used to use ..... it would be as big as my bathroom. It was a little room where he used to sort the mail, on the end of the verandah
At Wollondilly, they'd drop down onto Friday's Flat. It was alluvial gold in those days. They only had shovels. William could play tennis and do anything although he only had one arm.
One day I said ..... "I can do thaf', and I said "I bet there's something I can do that you can't do." He said "'I'll bet you anything there isn't" (I said) well I can cut my own fingernails and you can't." That was the only thing I could find he couldn't do that I could do.
When they came from Scotland, he'd never been on a horse before. He got his arm cut off in a chaff cutter, (Grand father) told me about the night the Dunbar sank. He walked up there with another boy. They used to work there--South Head it was, at a nail factory. As they were going up they heard about this â