Ships and Drays

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How’s school going? This was a question I was often asked as a child. I generally mumbled “alright” in reply. But I remember one time particularly – when Grandpa Learmonth asked me about school. I had a great deal of respect for him and he deserved a considered reply. So I asked him how was it that the Hamilton students could catch the morning train whereas the Warrnambool students had to catch the evening Warrnambool train – long after school had finished and every other student had left for home.

Yes he said. His ships had to tack all the way home to Portland against the sou-westerlies. Those same sou-westerlies blew him back but it could be days after the beginning of term before the Wimmera boys finally arrived back at school. There always seemed to be some problem with the drays that delayed them.

While this story mentions neither paddocks or land selections it does define loosely the fences or boundaries (Portland – Hamilton – Warrnambool) within which my Baulch and Learmonth ancestors held land and where many of my paddock stories originate.