Col will always be a bushie
IT might be two decades since Col Aldis stood tall in the saddle, but the Warwick local reckons he’ll always be a bushie.
The quietly spoken 88-year-old has turned his hand from stock work to share farming, and has even done some time ”fixing roads” during a working lifetime on the Southern Downs.
Today he lives just down the road from the block his parents bought near the Condamine River when they swapped the mountains above Killarney for busy town life around 1926.
“I was just a young fella then, about four or five, but I remember moving,” Mr Aldis said.
“And I’ve lived around Warwick ever since.
“Never thought about living anywhere else.
“It’s alright; not a bad tub of a place.”
Born in 1922 he was one of seven children.
“My father was a cripple, but that never stopped him working,” Mr Aldis said.
“He was a bullocky; he’d lock bullocks onto a log and steer it down the mountains above Killarney into the mill.
“It was hard work and he walked with a limp, but he’d stay with those bullocks all the way down.”
His father’s limp was the result of a horse accident in the late 1880s.
“My dad was breaking in horses when he was 16 and he didn’t think this one was going to buck,” Mr Aldis said.
“But buck it did.
“The next thing it had got him out of the saddle and busted his hip.
“So his hip never mended quite right, but it never stopped him doing a hard day’s work.”
Neither their father’s accident nor the longstanding hip injury stopped the Aldis children from riding.
“I haven’t been on a horse since I was 60, but up until then I had ridden all my life,” Mr Aldis said.
“Never anything fancy, just a good stock horse.
“We all rode; everybody did then. I did my share of stock work.”
Later he share-farmed a “nice block” along the Condamine River near the famed Lyndhurst horse stud.
“I did a bit of this and that; when we were share farming it was all for cattle feed and for the dairys around here,” he said.
“But a lot of the time, things being a bit tough, I made a quid working on the council.”
He spent his spare time fishing and admits at the tail end of an interesting life he still counts “pulling a big yellow belly or dew out of the Condamine” as one of his greatest thrills.
“I turn 89 this November so I’ve been around a little while and I’ll settle for this,” Mr Aldis said. “I reckon I’ve done okay. A lot has changed some places around here you wouldn’t recognise, but it’s still not a bad place to be.”
Not while there are still decent size fish in the river and a quiet horse keen to find a green pick.