What goes around comes around with Waxy’s circular logic

Morning, Chez Piddens. Alice pokes at her device and brings up the Indy page.

Oh, here we go. Bullgoose is on the rant again about that Waxy Noggins and the Bonalbo Surfie Houses.

You’re going to wax your what?

Idiot! Waxy Noggins. Bullgoose is obsessed with him.

Rightly so. Fascinating story.

He sounded like a practising nut job and wig out.


Actually what?

Actually, I’ve been joining some dots.

Very nice, Wes. Stick to it. Whatever keeps you calm, but I don’t think you’re ready for Wordles yet.

Thank you, Alice. No, all that stuff about surfies and building beach houses, it’s un-repressed a memory. I think I heard about Waxy Noggins when I was a kid.


So, here’s the thing. I don’t remember anything about beach houses, but I remember cattle yards.

Were you kicked in the head in a calf-marking incident? Oh, please say ‘yes’: that will explain a lot.

I’m serious. I was nine or ten and Johnny Ham was talking about coming across a lifesaver building experimental cattle yards with fibro-glass out in some forestry lease.

Yep, you were kicked in the head.

No. It makes sense when you unpack it.


First, ‘lifesaver’.  Johnny was an old bushie Digger cattleman. He didn’t go to the beach. He’d seen enough sand in Egypt and Syria, and the beaches in Greece, to put him off beaches for life.


So, ‘lifesaver’ and ‘surfie’ would be one and the same to him.


Now, ‘fibro-glass’. I’m sure that’s what Johnny said.

Never heard of it.

Because it doesn’t exist. But fibro does. And they mined the asbestos at Baryulgil, about two kilometres from where Johnny was born. He just got ‘fibro’ and ‘fibre’ mixed up. He was talking about a surfie, not a lifesaver, and fibreglass, not ‘fibro-glass’.

Speculation peppered with mansplaining. And what’s with the cattle yards?

I was only a little kid. Wait. We were fixing a broken rail in the cattle yards, and Johnny said something like, “Tell you something different, mate. I was missing ten bullocks from the Four Mile. No sign of them. Yulgilbar hadn’t seen ‘em. Nobody had seen them. Probably lit out for the Indian Ocean. Well at any rate I thought I’d poke along up towards Ewingar in the Forestry lease country to see if I could spot them.

“Well, gawd love us, it was hot and steep and me and the horse and the dogs could barely raise a fart between us when they started barking. The dogs, not the horse, mate. We came across a bit of a flat spot and a clearing and a track and a Yank tank and a trailer and some posts in the ground and one of those lifesavers digging a hole. In thongs, mate. Thongs.

‘Holy smokes, mate! You building a fence to nowhere?’

‘Nope. Experimental circular cattleyards.’

‘Circular, mate?’

A circular cattleyard. Photo: Contributed

‘No straight lines in nature, man.’

‘Have you run that by Boxer Kroehnert? What he doesn’t know about building cattleyards…’

‘Came to me in a dream, man.’

‘I see, mate…’

‘Sheathe the inside of the race with fibro-glass.’


‘You’ve gotta go gentle on the cattle, man.’

‘Well, good-oh. Don’t suppose you’ve seen any bullocks runnin’ around?’

‘Yep, maybe. There’s some big, fresh cowpats on the track down there a bit.’

‘Dinkum? Well, thank you very much.’

“And I found those bullocks.  ‘Experimental circular cattle yards’? I think he’d taken on a bit much sea water, mate, if you know what I mean.”

You’re making this up, Wes.

I swear it’s true, Allie.

Right. I’m going to do some research.

Oh, here we go.

Two weeks later.

Cop this.


I printed  off this letter addressed to the Grafton Dairy Examiner letters page, 5th June 1966.


I’ve surfed Hawaii, man. On the big Island there’s Parker Ranch. Biggest Hereford herd in the world. No jetty, so they swim the cattle off the ships to shore. Radical! And they eat seaweed, man. And guess what? They don’t fart. They do not fart, man. No, they don’t.

We’ve gotta be kinder to the cattle, man. Circular yards. And line the race with fibreglass so they don’t harm themselves.


W. Noggins


It was never published, Wes.


A lesson to us all.


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