Australian champion teamster George Scarlett is much in demand. Here he is at the Jondaryan Woolshed. Photo by L.J. May.
We're cultured here in Yangabilla - we're cultured up to our armpits! 'Sludge on Tour'. Illustration by Alan Rose.


The Adventures of Hanrahan (Cont.)


‘Next up is a bunch of people who are going to give us a play based on a book that this Thomas Hardy wrote called Far from the Maddening Sows. But it didn’t end up being about pigs at all. It was about a sheep farmer and his girlfriend so I started getting interested.

‘This sheep farmer had the name of a tree (can’t remember what it was so let’s call him Gum) and he meets up with this girl who’s inherited her uncle’s farm. She’s a bit of alright and he’s got his eye on her but she won’t have him because he’s not good enough for her, she says. Can’t remember her name now – bath salts I think it was.

‘Anyway, this bloke’s got a mob of sheep that he hasn’t paid for (and we all know what that’s like) and he’s got this young sheep dog that doesn’t know his business and drives the mob off the side of a cliff – so of course Gum has to shoot him. 

‘About this time Sheila starts sniffling and Aunt Bertha keeps telling her to “shush”, but like I said to her, it’s survival of the fittest. You can’t keep a mongrel like that around.

‘The upshot is that this chap ends up broke – no sheep, no home, no job – so he goes wandering around the countryside looking for work. He comes across this young girl who’s obviously down on her luck, so he slings her a bob and that tells you he’s a nice bloke.

‘He decides to take a nap in a hay wagon, as you do, but when he wakes up he finds that it’s on the move and hops off. Then he spots a fire in a field that looks like it might get out of control, so he starts to help put it out.

‘Now, I’ve got to hand it to the theatre mob here. They’ve got a real fire on stage and everything looks pretty realistic, only then the bottom of the curtain looks like it’s catching on fire. So Percy Wainwright jumps up, grabs a fire extinguisher, tips it upside down and sprays the whole stage and everyone on it with foam. And boy, does it stink! 

‘Then the peg lady comes tearing out from behind the stage and yells that it’s not a real fire – it’s back lighting (whatever that is). But Percy can’t stop the fire extinguisher from spraying everywhere, so they make him take it outside.

‘Now, Tom’s dog, Whacker (Whacker by name, Whacker by nature) is sitting outside and he’s only loosely tied up. He takes one look at this bloke covered with foam from head to toe and tries to take a piece out of him. He pulls and pulls on the rope, and the next thing you know it comes undone and Whacker’s on the loose.

‘At this point Percy realises that he could cop some real damage so he takes off down the road like a Bondi tram with Whacker making up speed behind him and disappears into the bush. After that we couldn’t see what was going on. Whacker must have caught up with him though because Sheila said in a letter last week that he was as sick as a dog – Whacker I mean. He must have swallowed some of that shocking smelling foam Percy had all over him. She didn’t say what happened to Percy though.

‘By this time the clothes peg’s in hysterics and Aunt Bertha’s hopping mad. Sheila and me offer to help clean up but Aunt Bertha says she wants Sheila to go back to the homestead and get a start on next day’s dinner for the shearers, and she’d be obliged if I’d take her straight home. So we leave them to it and without the rellies around I have high hopes.

‘No sooner do we get into a cuddle on the front verandah than I hear a voice calling out, “Is that you Bill Hanrahan?” and I yell back, “Yeah!” It turns out that Bob, the overseer, has managed to get out of going to the do because they’ve got a mare in foal and she’s due to deliver. 

‘He fronts up to the verandah and says, “I need your help. The mare’s in trouble and I need someone to help pull the foal out – you too Sheila!”

‘Well, what can you say? Code of the bush! The mare and the foal end up all right but there goes me kiss and cuddle. What’s worse, Sheila’s on shift at the hospital the next day and can’t see me. So it looks like that Gum bloke wasn’t the only one who didn’t get the girl. 

‘Sheila reckons they’re going to have another go at that play in a couple of weeks, and I thought I might go down and see how it turns out.’

His story finished, Hanrahan raised his glass to the bar and said with feeling, ‘Here’s to romance!’ and a chorus of voices thundered back, ‘To romance!’

‘Bloody oath!’ said Chookie, and called for another.

© L.J. May


Alan Rose decided on a career in art when his mum pronounced him a genius after he drew a squiggly line on the bathroom wall. This was followed by a stint at Mentone Grammar in 1974 where he spent most of his time in class caricaturing the students and teachers.

Realising that a reference from his mum was probably not going to establish him as an artist, Alan took an RMIT Graphic Design course Diploma of Graphic Design and busied himself by drawing people with large heads and small bodies in life drawing class.

In 1977 Alan began work as a Cadet Artist with the Herald and Weekly Times, graduated to an ‘A’ Grade Press Artist in 1980 and went on to become Art Director for Newspress (The Age mag) in 1982. He joined The Sunday Observer in 1986 as Art Director and also worked as the Art Director for Recorder News (UK) from 1990–1993.

Back in Australia Alan Rose became an ‘A’ Grade Press Artist for the ever popular Aussie Post magazine from 1993–1997. When Aussie Post was forced to close after it became unsustainable in a changing market, there were a lot of Australians who really mourned its passing as an iconic publication that seemed to have been around forever as part of the Aussie way of life.

During his career, Alan became the ‘go-to’ person for caricature and cartooning – political, sporting, brochures, adverts – you name it. Most Australians will be familiar with his work even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, and his website at is well worth a visit to chuckle about his takes on well-known and less well-known people.

Hundreds of private clients also requested that Alan draw a caricature as a gift for the person who has everything. He does caricatures (including family and office caricatures from photographs), editorial cartoons, strips and gags, logos and murals, publication and graphic design.

In his spare time, Alan does cartooning workshops for schools, libraries, art centres and also during the school holidays. People in Melbourne can ring him to organise a cartooning class on (03) 9555 1913, or email him

Everywhere else – unless you have a lot of loot – sorry about that. But you can still ask Alan to do a caricature for that special occasion for an important person in your life. One thing’s for sure, your offering will be unique and few people will have anything like it. Email him about this on


A Sensitive Drummer? Illustration by Alan Rose.
The historic Blackall Wool Scour stands silent now.
Photo by L.J. May.
Sheep shearing time at 'Prairie Downs' near Barcaldine.
Photo by L.J. May.
The mighty Maranoa at Mitchell (Kenniff Country).
Photo by L. J. May.
It wouldn't be the Outback without a Comet windmill.
Photo by L.J. May.
Superb sunset over the Thomson River at Longreach.
Photo by L.J. May.