DAD used to say that Shingle Hut was the finest selection on Darling Downs; but we never could see anything fine about it—except the weather in drought time, or Dad's old saddle mare. She was very fine. The house was built in a gully so that the bailiffs (I suppose) or the blacks—who were mostly dead—couldn't locate it. An old wire-fence, slanting all directions, staggered past the front door. At the rear, its foot almost in the back door, sloped a barren ridge, formerly a squatter's sheep-yard. For the rest there were sky, wallaby-scrub, gum-trees, and some acres of cultivation. But Dad must have seen something in it, or he wouldn't have stood feasting his eyes on the wooded waste after he had knocked off work of an evening. In all his wanderings—and Dad had been almost everywhere; swimming flooded creeks and rivers, humping his swag from one end of Australia to the other;! at all games going except bank-managing and bushranging—he had seen no place timbered like Shingle Hut.

“Why,” he used to say, “it's a fortune in itself. Hold on till the country gets populated, and firewood is scarce, there'll be money in it then—mark my words!”

Poor Dad! I wonder how long he expected to live?

At the back of Shingle Hut was a tract of Government land—mostly mountains—marked on the map as the Great Dividing Range. Splendid country, Dad considered it— beautiful country—and part of a grand scheme he had in his head. I defy you to find a man more full of schemes than Dad was.

From: Steele Rudd, On our selection, The Bulletin Newspaper, Sydney 1899, pp 153-54
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