Bullock Team Tradition


In 2014 'Light Between the Oceans' was filmed in Stanley and  quite a few locals were extras including Richie Wells and his bullock team featured in a couple of scenes.  Richie's story is pretty amazing and I thought I would tell it as I know it - it is a great 'go behind the scenery' story.

Richie rears, breaks in and works a bullock team in Circular Head. Not many teams are left in Australia, but Richie is following family tradition, having worked  when he was a young with his great uncle, Ernie Wells who worked bullocks at Trowutta and he follows in the footsteps of another relative, Arthur Wells, who worked bullocks at Stanley over 100 years ago.

Harnessing bullocks is heavy work and working them requires a lot of patience -  it is all about team work and bonds.  The sense of teamwork comes from raising them from a young age to work as pairs.  The bullocks, all of whom are named, are controlled by a range of voice commands (and there may be a hand- hewn bush stock whip!) 

The bullocks (de-sexed bulls) need to matched by size and power and a working bond needs to be maintained. It is all heavy work and it requires bullocks happy to play their role, waiting patiently and then all pulling together.

As an alternative to machinery, Richie uses his team to pull timber from the bush - the bush isn't harmed, trees aren't broken down and there is no trail left behind. He has also started using them to do some cultivation work as an alternative to tractors.

As Richie said in an ABC interview last year  'I like tractors too but it's really nice when the bullocks are all working good as a team and they really enjoy it as well.'