Based in the rugged West Kimberley region of Western Australia ‘They Even Paid Me’ is the story of a third generation Kimberley stockman, who grew up on a cattle station near Derby during the nineteen forties and fifties. With his inimitable drawl, wry humour and innate ability with stock John Wells is a man once met not easily forgotten. Now in his seventies this is the story of his journey from infancy to manhood, and of his experiences as a ringer, headstockman and station manager on some of the regions best known cattle stations. Set in the days when cattle were wild, conditions tough and communication networks non-existent ‘They Even Paid Me’ is an accurate and frank account of life as it was for the station worker of those times, of the risks taken, the jokes shared, the hardships endured and the methods used. With detailed descriptions of how tasks were performed, from bull throwing to pulling a beast up to a bronco panel the story also conveys a deep admiration for the many accomplished native stockmen of that era, as well as the brilliant but alcohol sodden white men without whom stations at that time could not have functioned, whilst the affection he felt for his working horses is apparent throughout. A stickler for accuracy the tales contained in this book are both raw and real, some coarse, others compassionate. All are true. John has not spared himself in their telling. He has given a candid account of himself, one which it is hoped conveys a vivid picture of life as it was on Kimberley cattle stations during the nineteen sixties, seventies and eighties.
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By Janet R Wells