Dogged Mr. MacCabe

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Folks, this summer has been a bit hot and mosquito-ey. Note: for more astonishing observations like this, visit my website:*

Anyway, late last year Gladstone suffered the perfect storm, unfortunately it wasn’t the kind that brought buckets of refreshing, cooling rain. Instead, in November we received a few blessed showers which were followed by several weeks of blistering heat – perfect conditions for Mummy and Daddy mosquitoes to make lots of little baby mosquitoes.

As a result, anyone venturing outdoors in the weeks before Christmas was instantly swarmed by the flying vampires and sent reeling back indoors, feeling a little light-headed from the sudden loss of blood.

But, if you think we’re doing it a bit hard having to dash from our air-conditioned houses, to our air-conditioned cars, then driving to our air-conditioned workplaces, or shops, then spare a thought for one of this regions’ pioneers, Frances MacCabe, who was sent here to survey the settlement of Gladstone.

I often wonder who he’d annoyed?

Anyway, Frank, and his party, arrived in 1853, set up camp and, to the astonishment of the watching natives, began dragging twenty metre lengths of chain around the scrub. Each morning, after a night of being eaten alive by insects in their piping hot tents, they’d pull on their thick, sweat-stained, cotton clothes and woollen socks, and carry on mapping.

To say it was hard yakka only hints at the hardships they faced, and it’s safe to say, they probably became very familiar with the symptoms of heat-stroke. Six months later, MacCabe got even hotter under the collar when his shattered labourers pulled the pin and rushed southwards to a cooler climate. You couldn’t blame them.

And, last weekend, as we bunkered down inside our gyprock snow-palace, I dumped some ice into the dog’s water bowl and it occurred to me that even our mutt’s doing it easier than poor ol’ Frank!

So, I silently tipped my hat to MacCabe, and the other pioneers, who doggedly (hot-doggedly?) took years off their lives, to put our baking town on the map.

*not an actual website; seriously.


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