Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 50 - December 2012 / January 2013 > Dingoes Come to Dine (by Pr George Porter)

Dingoes Come to Dine

by Pr George Porter

Dingoes Come to Dine

When I was a very young boy our family lived at the foot of the McPherson Ranges. The mountain we lived under rose to over 1,100 metres and towered above us. Our district was named Upper Numinbah on the New South Wales side of the border which was marked by the mountain chain.

We lived at the bottom of a mountain slope at the head of a large creek. The creek cut its way down through some deep ravines as it flowed along the valley towards Chillingham. It joined the Tweed River, on which was situated the rather large country town of Murwillumbah.  

The old shack we lived in which we called home, was very basic and derelict.   It was a square structure with four rooms. A door, front and back with a window for each room. The window holes had no glass.  All we had were hemp potato sack blinds, which we dropped down at night and in the event of rain and wind.  The house had rough sawn timber boards for outside walls. It had no lining or ceiling.   It had a corrugated iron roof, which sang beautiful songs of varying tunes and sounds.  The heavier the rain the louder the tune!  The house rested on stumps about 400 centimetres above the dirt.

We used bags for internal doors and rough board for external doors.  The floor was made of large smooth boards which had 10 millimetre gaps between them. We often lost things down the cracks.  We used old fruit cases for drawers in which we kept our clothes. Fortunately we had beds.  My brother and I slept in one back room.  Mum and dad slept in one front room while the other front room was used for storing trunks and an old dilapidated couch.  We tried to entertain the occasional visitor in the room we called the lounge! The fourth room was the kitchen and dining room. It had a tin cove with a chimney tacked on the end, where the wood stove resided.  The back door had a small hole cut out near the floor so that the cat could go and come as required.

For a young city boy it was a rather new experience.  It was very scary at night as we were often visited by nasty poisonous snakes, huge pythons and creepy poisonous and non-poisonous spiders. One still almost silent moonlight night, we could hear the dingoes (large wild dogs) howling to each other across the slopes and gullies.  My spine would tingle and I would feel scared, thinking the dingoes just may jump through our windows. Mum assured me that my angel would look after me.   I was not so sure.  If dingoes could attack people when hungry then they just might bite my angel!   Just to make sure, every time I heard the dingo howl in the night I would crawl further under the blankets.  They often came close by to visit our fowl house.  That was real scary. They loved to dine on chicken, especially if any were accidentally left out of their pen at night.

Suddenly, one dark silent night, the stillness was broken by the stressed bellowing of Bluey our cow.    Her cry seemed to come from a slope about half a kilometre from our house. She seemed to be very agitated and distressed.  We had been awakened by her distress signal.  Dad called out, "George, the cow is in trouble. Get your work clothes on and let us hurry over to her and see what the problem is."  Dad lit the pressure lamp and as soon as it was hot enough we hurriedly set of in the direction to where Bluey's messages were coming from.   Her calls were more frequent now. She sounded so stressed.  Dad lifted the lamp high to try and see our cow.   On that pitch dark night we found it hard to locate her.   If only her eyes would shine in the light. There was nothing.

Suddenly, just on the far extremity of the light, I saw what looked like the back end of our cow.  She was facing up the slope so the light had not picked up her eyes.  Animal's eyes shine like lamps when they catch light in the dark, if they face the light.  Then I saw something I had never seen before. 

"Hey Dad," I yelled, "Bluey is giving birth to her calf.   It is coming out head first and is almost half way out."  I felt sorry for the calf because its mother was standing up.   Dad said, "That is strange, she usually lies down to give birth."  All of a sudden we caught sight of two sets of dingo eyes looking at us. They were not caring about our arrival on the scene.  They were saying grace and getting ready to dine on our new calf.

"There is the reason for Bluey calling us," said Dad.  "She is frighted that the dingoes will kill and steal her calf," he continued.   All of a sudden, right before our eyes the calf made its ungraceful landing to earth.   There was a loud thud as the calf's chin, head and neck touched down first with its rather heavy torso crashing in behind. The poor frightened wet and slimy little creature struggled to stand up, first on the front feet then finally on all four feet.  Shivering and shaking the calf did not look very stable.   It was not a pretty sight.  The two dingos sat close by watching and licking their lips.  "Dinner has arrived," they mused.    Dad watched to see what the wild dogs would do with the calf.  Dad held the lamp in one hand and his gun in the other hand. 

Bluey turned around bellowing and facing the dingos, shaking her head and snorting huge amounts of air out of her nose. We watched as the hot air from her lungs met the cold night air.  With one eye on the dogs and one on her new-born calf, Bluey commenced giving her calf a cleaning bath with her huge wet tongue.

All of a sudden the dingos lost control of their appetite, and with "grace" out of the way, they leapt in like a flash of lightening. They grabbed a back leg of the calf each and began effortlessly dragging it up the slope with Bluey after them.  She was bellowing loudly for her baby.  Dad raised his gun in one hand and tried to shoot the dingos. It was hard to aim with one hand, hold the lamp in the other hand and try not to hit Bluey or her calf.  It all happened so suddenly.  The dogs were not killed but one was injured. With such a close shave with death the dingos lost their appetite and ran off into the darkness of night.   Dad lifted the calf on his shoulder and headed for the barn.  I carried the lamp and the gun and Bluey followed mumbling her thank you for the deliverance of her calf from the dingo dining table. As we lay in bed again we could hear a dingo mourning his injured mate. They were far away up in the range, not happy with losing their dinner.

Be advised.  Dingos can be very dangerous wild dogs.  I know that for a fact.  What is more, when they are hungry no meal is too big to attack and carry off.  Their hunger makes them extremely strong.

The story picture reminds me of advice given to the early New Testament church by Peter and James. Peter's advice was "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith…" 1 Peter 5:7 James follows with a similar directive but with an added methodology. "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." But first " Submit yourselves therefore to God." James 4:7

This article is Copyright © 2012 by George C Porter.  Used by permission.

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 50 - December 2012 / January 2013 > Dingoes Come to Dine (by Pr George Porter)