30 comments on “Tom Cole. Buffalo hunter or superhero? 1938.

  1. OMG! You found him! Oh this man is superhero material, no doubt about it. And if he did end up writing that book then he is a true all rounder. I’m going to pretend that all his gramaphone records were of opera and that he died at the age of er…over 100 surrounded by music, a score of great, great grandkids and the lowing of all those cattle.

  2. It seems the old maxim is true that you can’t keep a good man down. This fellow seems to be made of rubber and keeps bouncing back. Thanks for letting us know he survived the first adventure you posted.
    BTW, Remind me to get my glasses changed again since I could have sworn acflory wrote, and the LOVING of all those cattle.!!!!!

  3. Okay. 1) Clearly Tom didn’t understand what the saddles were for if his horse was able to abuse him that thoroughly. And 2) Hemingway absolutely created this guy. Well…either Hemingway or Cormac McCarthy. I’m not sure which, and I’m not sure how, but an author has officially created a character too awesome to be confined to the page – a literary Chuck Norris. And, if it was McCarthy, he did it at the age of five, so…yeah. That guy is hard core.

    • I am dying to get hold of his book! There are so many old stories of blokes like this. God we are soft now, aren’t we? The worst thing that happens to most people in their working day is when their computer crashes or the coffee machine goes on the blink….

      He does look a little Chuck Norris-y on the cover of that book doesn’t he? Men really were men back in those days :)

  4. I’m reading Hell West and Crooked and have just ordered The Last Paradise, about his time in PNG (crocodiles, coffee and cannibals!). He’s also written a couple of other books. If it wasn’t for the internet I would never have heard of this amazing author.

    For an interesting insight into the history of Australia’s mining industry, WS Robinson, If I Remember Rightly is a really good read. He was invaluable to Churchill during WWII.

    http://www.scotch.vic.edu.au/gscot/10sepgs/69.htm

    • Isn’t the internet an amazing thing for research? The things I have found from the comfort of my couch! Although it does make me wonder what kinds of books future generations wil be reading about the pioneers of today. How many of their tales will be about actual hard times? I guess they will be more about the pitfalls of social media, cutthroat meetings and boardroom coups! ;)

      So glad to hear that you are reading Hell West and Crooked, you have reminded me to put it on my xmas list. What an interesting life Tom Cole lived.

      W. S. Robinson sounds like quite a man, I will have to look up more about him. Thanks for the link, and thanks for commenting!

  5. Pingback: The Tom Cole collection. Well, the bits I have found anyway….. « Buried words and Bushwa.

  6. Very pleased to say Tom Cole was my uncle and I had the very good fortune to know him well.
    My wife typed some of his diaries for one of the books when he was with us in the UK and every diary needed more than a little “editing” for real you would not believe.
    He was just as you read about him but many times over.
    We took him on the London Brighton car run one november in a 1903 Panhard.
    He started on the Rum in Hyde Park at 8am and finished in Brighton late afternoon some bottles later…….. sober.
    Somebody once called him an Australian John Wayne ok except Uncle Tom was real very real.
    Some years ago now my Dad,his brother, went on a trip around the Northern territories with him for a few weeks.
    I thought my Dad was tough but the stories he came back with were incredible, unrepeatable
    I could go on for ever and never bore.
    The Aussie government have to be missing out on a good publicity for their country.
    Where is their hollywood? Crocodile Dundee by comparison, no chance as Tom was real very real.

    very real

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I am always pleased to hear from people who are related to the interesting characters I have written about.
      Your comment is even more welcome as it stirred me to pull out my kindle and check to see if Hell West and Crooked is available as an ebook yet. Yippee! It became available at the start of this month and this much-awaited book was immediately sucked into my kindle. Please thank your wife in advance for her ‘editing’ skills. :)

      Tom sounds like an amazingly interesting person. I can imagine that spending time travelling in the bush with him would have been something your dad would never have forgotten (and may well have been lucky to survive!) and, knowing what hard drinkers some of those bushies are, I can believe your rum run with him would have been the stuff of legends too!

      To my eternal disappointment I never found any more articles about how his trip went with the ballroom-dancing barber, Samuel Delaney, though. That could have been a book on its own I’m sure.

      I guess after Crocodile Dundee there aren’t movies made about people like that. That particular movie took a type of bloke that is quite real and made it a caricature.
      The Australian film industry isn’t a big budget thing so any movie that could be seen as re-doing that idea is unlikely to be made.
      A documentary about Tom though, that has a chance. Maybe you should pitch an idea to the grant department of the Australian Film Comission! Retracing the steps of an iconic family member, a paid holiday shadowed by a film crew…. ;)

      • Very nice to hear from you so quickly.
        I can highly recomment his book “The Last Paradise” as it’s a book you just cannot put down even if you had never heard of Tom. Your imagination just runs wild from story to story.
        On several visits to our local pub in Devon his stories and bushman songs,mostly unrepeatable, were showstoppers and always pulled a crowd.
        Very funny but not for the faint hearted!
        My wife was pleased to help Tom at the time to get some of his diaries “on paper” but was not involved in editing.
        Hope you enjoy the book.

        • Aaah, the pub, apart from the bush it was probably Tom’s native environment. :)

          I am looking forward to reading the book but think I will save it for the next time we go camping, reading it by the campfire is probably the best way to do it justice, even if it is on a kindle. Thank you for the other book recommendation, I will add that to my ‘to-buy list’.

          You have inspired me to look for more articles about him now, and I will have to do a blog post mentioning that Hell West and Crooked is available for the kindle, I know there will be a few interested Tom Cole fans out there.

  7. Just read your comments John [and Metan] and I’m definitely a Tom Cole fan! Off to Amazon right now before I forget, but please come back and visit us again John! And thanks Metan. Love this. :)

      • Absolutely. :) It’s weird but since you wrote that first post about Tom, he’s felt like the quintessential aussie bloke. lol And someone I have half a crush on!

        • I’m so pleased to be able to tell you more about uncle Tom and you would be joining a long line of beautiful girls to admire him.
          Everywhere we went and every room we entered heads would turn especially the girls!!.
          He was a very big bloke in every way and his presence was special, always with a smile and a joke even with complete strangers who very soon were friends.
          A generous man who never had to buy many drinks!!

          • -grin- I haven’t been called a girl for many years John [I’m 60] but it’s nice to know I’m in good company.

            I can well believe Tom would have been very charismatic. Just the few titbits Metan dug up were enough to fire my imagination. :)

  8. After this post I added Last Paradise to the G.O.’s collection. Tom Cole would make a great subject for a documentary… maybe someone needs to suggest it to Russell Crowe :)

    • Hmmmm… I dunno, Russell Crowe? I guess he could throw the portable gramophone when he has a tantrum if there aren’t any phones to hand. ;)

      A proper documentary made about someone like Tom would certainly go some way to reversing the stereotype of Crocodile Dundee that’s for sure.

    • He does sound like a fascinating man, I am really pleased to hear that you enjoyed his books enough to take them home with you. Thanks for leaving a comment. :)

  9. I,ve just read this amazing blokes book,Hell west,and reckon Crocodile dundee could no way keep up with Tom Cole! I live in rural Darwin and relish going out to the areas where Tom has mentioned shooting buff and crocs,horse breaking,etc. I have the luxury of bitumen roads and airconditioning in my 4wd. To read how he travelled this amazing, unforgiving country and to be the success he was laeves me in awe. The words i would use to decribe Tom would be simply” a bloody deadset ledgend” even if he was a pom! ha ha .Why we havnt heard more on this pioneer is beyond me. My Dad gave me a copy 7 days ago and i could not put it down until i had read,then re-read it. You have true aussie grit in your veins, John Cole, and should be as proud as punch. Cheers.

    • ‘A bloody deadset legend’ is probably a very good description of him! I’m sure there are many other interesting tales from him we will never hear of, and other bushies who had equally amazing lives and whose fame never went further than their own area. A real pity isn’t it.

      When we think of the hardships the blokes of the bush went through it really shows how used to comfort we are these days doesn’t it? Our comfy 4wds and nice tracks and roads make travelling through the bush barely an effort! Funny how times change isn’t it? What they saw as hardship back then would probably have been something their elders laughed at with a “when I was young….” tale.

      A few towns away there is a place called Starvation Creek, the gold was plentiful, the food not so much. The miners were starving to death because they were too far from supplies and couldn’t bear to drag themselves away to get any. Now there is a town with more cafes than it knows what to do with(and a small supermarket) a short trip away.
      What will the tales of hardship be in a few generations time? That single overcast day when the weather control satellite was down for maintenance? ;)

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