If you read Buried Words and Bushwa regularly you might remember Tom Cole. I have done a few posts before about this Northern Territory bushman and his unquestionable blokey-ness.
We first met Tom in 1937 when he was surrounded by 50 miles of floodwaters, 4 ft deep. It was Easter, and instead of coming back later Tom had a boat drop him, his supplies, saddles, tobacco, whiskey, and portable gramophone off on a small platform to wait it out. He was also surrounded by my imaginary crocodiles waiting for him to roll off the platform in his sleep….
Later we caught up with him in 1938 when he wandered into town a little the worse for wear, but not complaining. He had survived three accidents in three days and might have had a bit of a whinge when nobody was around of course, but as any self-respecting bloke would say, ”I’m fine, nothing to see here”.
Then we travelled back to 1937 and discovered that Tom had managed to find an unusual offsider. He and a barber named Samuel Delaney were going on a trip into the wilds.
We weren’t sure how this little trip would go though. We weren’t worried about Tom, clearly he could handle himself, but to travel in the Australian outback with a person whose only noticeable skills are cutting hair and ballroom dancing might have made things interesting….
Lastly we heard about Tom’s plans in 1937 to build a Dude Ranch where budding hunters and sportsmen could stay and kill with all the comforts of home.
Tom Cole arrived in the Territory with nothing and made his fortune on cattle stations. He certainly worked hard for that fortune though!
The reason I was inspired to do another Tom Cole post today was that one of those posts received an interesting comment yesterday from of Tom Cole’s Great Grandson asking if I had any more information about him. Yippee! I love it when that happens! I didn’t have any more information other that what I had shared in my posts but I thought I might go and have a look to see if there were any newly digitized articles about him.*
I found a small article from the Australian Women’s Weekly in September 1950 that mentions Tom Cole and states the he now lived in Sydney and had recently returned from a crocodile hunting trip up north. His interests were listed as “shooting duck and quail for fun, a quiet game of golf and a bit of gardening”. And, I think, woe betide any critters who start munching on his roses
I looked for a new article to share with you but was unable to find any new adventures. For you Tom Cole fans though, I did find this tale on the right of crocodile hunting done the hard way, written by a certain T. Cole in 1949 and published in The Sydney Morning Herald.
Ridiculously skinny isn’t it? Never fear, click on it and it will lead you straight to a much larger version. This resolution was the only way I could get it to fit on a page without being in 3 disconnected parts…. grrrrr. (One of the reasons I alway use small articles in my blog posts!)
It is an interesting story of crocodile hunting with an aboriginal man, Bamboo Charlie, who paddles out on a paperbark raft made by aboriginal women, lubras, and harpoons a croc after tracking it by the bubbles it leaves as it is watching him…. eeek!
The rest of the hunting party haul the croc in, job done. I think it was pretty lucky Tom lived long enough to make his fortune, I’m sure many others in the same line of work didn’t.
*In my searches I found that Tom (1906-1995) had been interviewed in July 1993, two years before his death, and that the recordings are available for purchase.