June 22, 1982
Valley drover moving on
His name is Owen Maloury, but only one old aunt and school friend Vin Cummins call him by his proper name.
'Darky’ Maloury is one of the last of the drovers.
All his life has been spent on the back of a horse, breaking it in, training or working stock.
When asked how long he has been riding, Darky comes out with one of his classics — “since I was took out of a nappy, I guess”.
Darky went to St Brendan’s school for four or five years, before setting out on his life with horses.
“He was one of those blokes whose education was interfered with by schooling,” is the way Vin Cummins described Darky’s younger days.
After leaving school at 13, Darky went droving, rabbiting, worked on farms and became a stockman.
He has worked on and off in the Goulburn Valley since he left school and has spent about 20 years working with the Shepparton abattoirs.
He was head stockman responsible for receiving stock at the works for the past five years of its operation.
It has been the closure of the meat works which is forcing Darky to leave for work in the Kyneton area.
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” as Vin said.
There would be hardly a Shepparton resident who hasn’t seen Darky racing his horse on the slippery bitumen on New Dookie Rd, turning the steer which got away from the mob.
Reckless, some people might say, but long-time friend Alan Claney from Caniambo describes Darky as “very brave”.
“He has no respect for his safety, but was such a good horseman, he never came off,” Alan said.
“Some people might call him rough, but I would not say that.
“He demanded respect from a horse, and if he gave them a hit, it was because they deserved it.”
Alan worked with Darky at the Shepparton abattoirs, and occasionally on the road droving.
“Everywhere we would go with cattle, someone knew Darky.”
One stretch of droving lasted five years.
“I would go out with a mob of 500 and fatten them up for a year, bring them back and swap them for another 500.”
Darky is always the first person the police or the pound keeper would ring if stock were causing a menace on the roads.
Another job Darky enjoyed was to catch the runaway horses at the trotting meetings.
His speed and agility on a horse were needed to stop the panicking racer.
A trick which never fails to impress is the way Darky loads horses onto his truck.
He finds a depression in the ground, backs the truck up to it, and the horses jump on.
When he gets to the destination, he opens up the back, and the horses jump out.
Darky has a substantial area of land near Shepparton.
If there is enough work at Kyneton in the next few years, Darky plans to return to Shepparton and build a house.
His mates held a surprise farewell barbecue for him last Friday night.
Although Darky’s style on a horse may appear a little rugged at first, it was his work breaking in a horse which helped it go on and become Champion Galloway at the Sydney Royal Show.
Alan said he took the horse to Darky for breaking because “it was cheeky”.
The number of horses Darky has broken in around the Goulburn Valley must be thousands.
Add to that the number of horses people have taken to the drover to be “straightened out” and his influence is widespread.
Must be a devilish place, Devenish.
These two direction signs are within about 100 metres of each other near Dookie.
Sometimes such signs are made by devilish people (from one of Her Majesty’s prisons).
Anyway, the signs are pointing in the right directions.
June 22, 1982