It is easy to lose sense of time in Tasmania, Godfrey wrote. The long summer twilight ,cool breeze up the kilt, steep narrow roads through wonderful mountains, old stone bridges the convict laborers built. Tasmania had a dark beauty, kind welcoming people that Godfrey enjoyed. His goal was to save up steam passage to Canada, so at a dairy farm found himself employed.
Twas a valley that reminded him somewhat of Wales, past “The Pig In The Paddock” pub, along the river Cowdown. After the mornings milking, just he and the smelly cow-dog, could watch the cows in the shade of a waterfall, back propped against a log. He had all the time to write his poems, learn the guitar, send letters home long overdue, its easy to lose sense of time in Tasmania, he wrote his old teacher Mrs Kromplak, said Godfrey” I did not get to say goodbye or to thank you”..
. He wrote,” for my pink bike I bought a nice padded seat, at Devenport here on the high street”. “It is spring time now, a bit showery and damp, I peddaled today through the countryside, and found a fine spot to camp”. All night long on the stone hard ground felt the wombat thump and the wallaby bound, all around my tent”.” In the moonlight wombats looked like grazing sheep,” it’s a good thing that by day I much prefer to sleep”. Remind me never to complain of, pot-holes, mud flats,wind or rain or sand.” it is easy to lose track of time here, this wild and mysterious Island.”
.”So at the base of Ralph”s Fall I sit propped on my log, eating lunch neath the stars with Hammer the cow dog.” Of her breeding I am not quite sure, russet colored, and playful, often knee-deep in manure”. “The cows are lovely,making there way home placid at days end”. One day I will venture beyond the falls, where the stream makes a big bend into the forest. Life is good here along the river Cowdown, far from the nearest town.
Were our neighbor rang to say, that an odd looking chap was making his way, on a pink push -bike down the track to our place, dodging cow pats and ruts at a leisurely pace, came the vagabond Godfrey.
He introduced himself, as” one who disliked beets”. He had read our sign seeking a cow hand, at the crossroads of 3 Creeks. He reminded me of someone I once knew but ,that was long gone, I said come in but leave the dog outside please, she reeks. Godfrey questioned everything, from the cows names to what they ate. He knew enough to keep them right side of garden gate,he disliked beets but worked well with cow and dog. He asked about Ralph’s Falls, where he liked to sit propped back against a log.
The waterfall tumbled and fell, in a fine mist at the north end of our land. It formed a deep clear pool and a very small bank of sand.” It’s called Ralph’s falls my dad said when he asked, if you ferret about in the bush you’ll learn why. Then the old man gruffly turned away lest Godfrey see a tear in his eye. Godfrey, a decent chap did not pry, I believe he thought Ralph was someone who fell in the river and drowned, the little river so peaceful, the one known as Cowdown.
On a warm afternoon with all cows grazing, Godfrey and Hammer did some trail blazing , wary of snakes and things that crawl they explored the thick bush around Ralph’s Falls. Godfrey found there a stone crudely carved, set alone, it read “Ralph” -born along this creek- died in war-20 years old 1944. Ralph did not fall in the river and drown, he fell long ago, far from his home, where flows the river Cowdown.
When Godfrey, mud covered, came that night with the cows, I knew that he knew that I knew. I told him,” Godfrey my brother Ralph, was a wanderer like you”.” He loved to sit at the foot of the falls, always writing a poem or song, we would hear him singing to the cows when herding them out at dawn”…Godfrey believed without question that-IN A WORLD THAT RHYMES-WE SHALL SEE WISDOM IN OUR LIFE TIMES- “‘TONIGHT YOU WILL EAT- UNDER SHELTER YOU WILL SLEEP- THERE IS NOTHING MORE URGENT THAN WHIRLED PEAS”. It is easy to lose touch with time in Tasmania, there”s a sad, dark history to this beautiful Island, and we will not forget Godfrey, and the year he spent as our cow hand.