ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

IF YOU’VE EVER BEEN A bit slow off the mark in a northern Australian stockyard, chances are you’ve been called a ‘dough-banging cunt’ once or twice in your life.

But for Gulf Country stockman Nathan Decanter, he likes to put a bit of AC/DC behind his verbal insults.

“Yeah, joog. If you’re not light on your toes in my yards, I’ll give you the jigger,” he explained.

“First time on the bum, then I’ll try to get you on the spine – which can be a bit funny because it can send you legs a bit funny for a while. Then if I catch you again, I’m going for the back of the neck.”

“It’s pretty simple, mate. If you don’t bang dough in the yards, you won’t get electrocuted.”

Traditionally used by the bottom rung of stockperson, cattle jiggers deliver a short but sharp electric shock to help navigate beasts through a set of yards.

Proponents of low-stress handling openly loath the device, but all cattlemen agree that hitting dough-banging stockmen is perfectly acceptable, provided they don’t sook about it.

“That’s the worst, when they get all mundry with you,” explained the 29-year-old.

“I had this one sheila would clip clop up and down the race in her Ropers like she was browsing the selctions at her local Country Target, so needless to say, I got her with the jigger,”

“Next thing, I’m in the managers office being told that jigging sheilas is ‘a bit crook’. Nah well fuck ’em but. Equal pay for equal work. You don’t like getting smoked by a mickey bull, get out of the backyard. You don’t like running, get away from the race and hop in the roundyard, ya bastard.”

More to come.


  1. Dear Sirs,

    As a Western Australian and a man who has spent many years toiling far from modern conveniences like whale-oil lanterns and bedpans, I find this article very timely in addressing some of my concerns about the sorry state of discipline these days. Admittedly I’m finding this eastern-states GST thief’s incoherent ramblings a tad difficult to fathom, but from what I can gather it involves the mistaken practice of using non-traditional means to enforce order.

    Many folk have been seduced by Mr Edison’s wondrous contraptions based on Mr Faraday’s astounding principles of electrofication, but I am most definitely not one of them. This “labour saving” and “convenience” nonsense that accompanies the peddling of them masks the disturbing consequences that flow from their repeated use, and the subsequent breakdown in moral fibre they engender.

    Discipline is of utmost importance in the bush, but there are right ways and wrong ways to encourage it. Years back I did a stint with a crew putting the telegraph line through to Yalgoo, and we had one chap (the cook as it turned out) who had a problem with liquor. Being, as we were, far from a public house, he’d concocted his own blend of essence of lemon, saddle soap, and what appeared to be a fairly reputable tonic for dyspepsia, all watered-down to a manageable consistency using his own spittle. The man was completely useless when he was on this stuff, and collectively we decided to enforce some proper standards because we were getting sick of eating dinners with diced carrot in them when we damned well knew we didn’t have any carrots at camp.

    This chap, Sid Parker was his name, would often retire to his tent after he’d prepared that night’s “carrot surprise” as he called what was in the pot, but he had very weak bowels – brought on no doubt by his improvised liquor – and we knew that despite sleeping soundly he’d up in a few hours desperately in need of a poo. We waited until the snoring was fairly constant, un-hooked his tent’s guy ropes, and rotated the whole thing 180 degrees and re-set it and then waited. Sure enough he eventually awoke, his innards informing him that he badly needed to shit; he lunged for where he thought the tent flaps were when he entered the tent that night, and spent a jolly amusing few minutes whimpering, and scratching, and then finally desperately hammering, at the canvas trying to get out whilst we sat about outside smoking pipe and trying manfully not to giggle or guffaw. Nature must, of course, always win out, and with tears of confused rage no doubt running down his cheeks he’d be obliged to deposit his package in his tent and then stumble somewhat befuddled back to bed, after which we’d wait ’til he was asleep again and then rotate the tent back to its original position and confront him on his unsavoury acts the next morning. It only took about half a dozen repeats of the same procedure over the next few weeks before he swore himself to temperance and we never saw another diced carrot on our plates for the rest of the time until we got that line through to Yalgoo. THAT is just one example of how a proper level of discipline is achieved – NOT with unnatural electrofication machines as this tax pirate above is advocating.

    Of course it isn’t just liquor that requires a firm hand; it’s the exercising of a man’s loins that needs to be managed as well. When I was droving for Mr Padbury he always used to say to us “Lads, I’ll hang any man that interferes with my sheep, but if you chaps want a spot of buggery on any day but the Sabbath, and don’t do it within two days ride of the homestead I’m content to allow it”. For a God-fearing, church-going man I found Mr Padbury to be a surprisingly liberal livestock owner to work for when we were on the hoof, and not at all like his reputation for being a Tartar suggested. I know many chaps who were enthusiastic sodomisers who wept openly at his funeral, and young Tom Murphy – who had done an entire drive from Ethel Creek to Peak Hill wearing lady’s pantaloons and a rather fetching lace petticoat – was so overcome with grief that he had to be restrained from leaping into the grave with the coffin. I’m a believer in what happens on Drove Club stays in Drove Club, but as most of my fellow team members who quite enjoyed a bit of lad-on-lad entertainment are now either dead or in state politics or serving as company directors I have no compunction with relating how discipline – tinged with common sense and a touch of practicality – goes a long way towards getting the job done the best way possible.

    There were, obviously, always those who take the simple kindnesses that great and wise men like Mr Padbury extend as an implied sign of weakness and would still prefer a sheep’s arse, but Mr Padbury would be as good as his word in those cases and hang them. I know some of them did manage to wriggle out of the noose after we’d broken camp and moved on, but I heard that in every case they took the first steamer out of the Colony and most ended up finding work in New South Wales – which was yet another of the many reasons why I fought so bitterly against that damned fool idea of Federation when it was being put around.

    So, to this Decanter chap who seems unduly enthused by modern methods of enforcing standards I say this – “You Sir, are a fool and a blatherer. If you were half the man Mr Padbury was you could maintain discipline without recourse to voltaic devices just as he did. You are unworthy of my GST money, and I scoff at you.”


    Ron Muppet

  2. Whoever employes this idiot, needs to sack him quick smart. There are laws against physically abusing employees. To the idiot, get over yourself, your are a fool and a bully.

  3. Jigger?

    It’s called a ‘Cattle Prod’ here in the Canadas. We normally use it to control unruly children. Well at least until the Gubmint Child Welfare folks intervene that is. Works a treat it does.

  4. For fuck’s sake Clare, GET WITH THE PROGRAME. Can’t say too much, the boys will expunge me. Read the stockman’s name over and over until something clicks and check out all the other crap.


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