There I was, riding double on the back of a motor-bike, with my brother-in-law in total control of the machine. After you read this story though, you may think that at times he was totally out of control. We’d been cruising around the paddocks in search of wild pigs, but for most of the weekend we hadn’t seen a thing. Everything was so dry and dusty, that it was no wonder that the animal life had all vacated the property that was situated in the outback.
As we left the low lying scrub, there before us stood a huge mound of dirt, Ian revved the engine, dropped a gear, and up we went. I don’t know what speed we were doing as we screamed towards the top of the dirt mound, but it sure was fast. I was later informed that this mound is called a tank. When filled up with water, it would service all the livestock in the surrounding area. In other areas of Australia they were called dams.
On reaching the top of the tank, and as I caught a quick glimpse over Ian’s shoulder, I could see that it was an area enclosed by four walls of dirt, just like the one we’d climbed. Each side was about four to five meters high, but when you were on top of one of the sides, it may as well have been a hundred. Now, I was never one for rides. My only experience at Luna Park had ended up all over my jacket, and this little adventure being schemed by my brother-in-law, was starting to look too much like some Big Dipper experience. I was so glad that he’d stopped momentarily at the top to at least let me catch my breath, but even before I’d really caught a decent one, he yelled, ‘Look, over there! A kangaroo!’
Sure enough, on the other side of the tank, there was the outline of a living creature.
All weekend we’d wondered if we were ever going to see anything. Fortunately for the kangaroo, we’d left our guns back at the hut. But that wasn’t going to stop my brother-in-law. He yelled, ‘Let’s get him!’
We took off so fast that it was only my quick reaction to grab his shirt that saved me from falling off the back of the bike. Down we went, as I desperately hung on. Fortunately there was no water in the bottom of the tank. A cloud of dust filled the air as we raced across it and began our ascent on the other side.
As we approached the top, it was quite obvious that Ian had no intention of slowing down. He was the famous hunter from Sydney on safari, somewhere back of Bourke. How could he ever return without an attempt at catching something? His reputation was at stake.
At precisely the exact moment we hit the top of the other side of the embankment, I realised that it was my life that was suddenly at stake.
Ian had a firm grip on the bikes handle bars. I was still figuring out what on earth I was going to hang on to. A bit of Ian’s shirt. A bit of the bikes rack, or was it the seat? As we reached the pinnacle of yet another dirt wall, I could feel my body continuing in an upward motion. It had no intention of staying around on the bike anymore. To this day, I still don’t know how I stayed on.
My backside was launched high in the air. My legs were sprawling in every direction as the whites of my fingernails gripped on in desperation. I yelled out with all my might, ‘Slooooooow Dooooooown!!!!’ But nothing was going to stop the intrepid hunter. He had his sights firmly fixed on the kill of the weekend. What he was going to kill the kangaroo with, I have no idea, but that wasn’t the point. It was the excitement of the hunt I guess. Down the other side we sped, as I tried desperately to find a place for my backside and legs.
The kangaroo by this time, had caught sight of us. I’m sure he’d heard my scream. Gracefully, he bound across the dusty plain. But there was something about that plain. From a distance it looked completely flat, but in fact it was completely corrugated. As soon as we hit it I began, what seemed to be my lot with passenger travel on the back of a bike, to bounce and bound after the kangaroo for miles, with my lower appendage trailing ever close behind.
I suppose that the thing that stays with me from that weekend, apart from my legs, is that no matter what road you’re travelling on, HANG ON!!!!!!!