Butcher hits the road in search of adventure
WILLIAM Chambers spent a few years working as a butcher in Dalby. He worked for Joe Carmody and a Mr Jessop. They were both good bosses but William wanted a change and perhaps a bit of adventure.
He decided to take to the road and try his hand at carrying. He bought unbroken horses and got them ready using a good horse as a leader.
The first job was a load of three tons for a shopkeeper named Cavanagh at St George. He also had some casks of whisky and brandy and one of rum.
Young William was chosen to take the alcohol as he was a non-drinker in those days.
(Some teamsters used to partake of the rum and then fill the casks with water to make up the weight.)
William remembered some of the old teamsters camped for days drinking from the rum casks they carried. In one case the police had to come out from St George and take over, handing their team over to another carrier to complete the journey. Most of the alcohol was as gone but no one could give account how it had vanished.
The next load William Chambers was carry was to a publican at Charleville. It was three tons of all strong drink. He received 20 pound/ton as he handed the load over intact.
On that trip he had another teamster travelling with him who was loaded with rations for Bucknell Brothers Station, on the Langlo River.
After they left Charleville, the wet season had began.
There was no road but they went by direction down Elizabeth Creek until they reached the Langlo River.
They found their way to the homestead but that wasn't the end of their problems as all hands on the station were down with low fever. The only one free of it was the Chinese cook and he was looking after the others.
The Becknell brothers had cleared out at the start of the wet season as they knew fever was bound to make its appearance.
William and his mate loaded the wool quickly and departed as soon as they could. They had some rum with them and, although neither of them liked it, they had a good drink whenever they felt the shivers as that indicated the approach of the fever.
On their way out, they passed an old man on his way to Charleville to get brandy and quinine for the sick men on the station.
The teamsters wanted him to stay with them but the old man resisted.
"I must shove on for the stuff for the boys, for I may be down with the shakes tomorrow night,” he said.
However he did not get far for the teamsters found him in a bad way beside the creek. His horse was tied up nearby. They lifted him onto the flour bags and made the long journey to the station.
They tried to give him rum but he couldn't keep it or food down. All he wanted was water and was skin and bones. The Chinese cook said he would die in a few days. Whether he did or not they never heard.
That trip was enough for William Chambers. When he arrived back in Dalby, he sold his team.