YEARS GONE BY: Peter Riley holding the same cattle hooks he used everyday
YEARS GONE BY: Peter Riley holding the same cattle hooks he used everyday

Peter Riley two-hook man

PETER Riley is now proud to talk about his impressive career as a gun wool loader years ago.

Mr Riley, alongside his friend Bill O’Rafferty who has since passed on, were known in their home town of Junee for their record-breaking times.

The men were celebrated for their skill and swift loading of wool trucks all over the region, stacking and rolling bales onto semi-trailers.

So much so, that one of their colleagues wrote about them to the local paper, a piece that Peter recently found while tidying up.

“Bill died a while back but his legacy lives on through his children and I think they’d get a kick out of hearing about their Dad,” he said.

Now, Peter has settled in Mount Colliery, where the two hooks he used for over twenty years still sit in his home.

“Some men were one-hook men and some were two, like cowboys, using one gun or two,” he said.

Peter fondly remembers his friendship with Bill, forged over twenty years of depot meet-ups and living three doors down from each other.

“My word, he was a good bloke, everyone loved him and he was quite popular around town,” he said.

With slight builds, the strength of the two men, well into their fifties and sixties at the time, was often marvelled at by their colleagues who loved to watch them in action.

Which is why, with a little convincing from his partner, Riley now poses proudly with the same two cattle hooks, hoping to bring his story to life.

“We could fill a trailer with 248 bales in 62 minutes,” he said.

Now a job done by machine, Riley doesn’t think the record will be beaten for some time yet.

When remembering his friend Bill, Peter says he was a real quiet achiever.

“I reckon Bill and I could load about 10 or 12,000 bales a year,” he said.

These days, things have slowed down for Riley.

Now in his eighties but still fit as a fiddle.

“I don’t know how people these days can hold down a job, keep the house clean and maintain the yard,” he said.



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