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  • Writer's pictureBeverley Skurulis

The Dog at Billabong Roadhouse

The dog at Billabong Roadhouse No.737.

Yes, I was a waitress come cook gardener and cleaner at Billabong Roadhouse on the Great Northern Highway WA. Think it was in 1967 or there about. After driving 600 kilometres from Perth in my Mark2 Zephyr station wagon for my new live in position at the road house. I was extremely excited as I loved travel and a new adventure. My station wagon had a mattress in the back so I slept where I pulled up.

Now about my time at the roadhouse. Up at 4am serving a truckies feed to road train drivers and the odd person or family driving further north. The feed consisted of anything you could fit on a large plate as they had umpteen kilometres to go to deliver their loads and before the chance of the next fuel and tucker stop.

We had to make our own fun and on the odd occasion we would have a day off . Sometimes tying an old metal bed frame (beds were often made out of old station gates) to the toe hitch on the back of an old mustering vehicle. We would go to the salt lakes and ski on the salt, being dragged around on the bed frame by the vehicle.

At night I would sit next to the Billabong not far from the roadhouse. I would take a spot light and my 22 rifle and I would shoot a kangaroo or two to make mince for the hamburgers. It was so peaceful sitting under the night sky watching all the different animals come in for a drink. Nothing like the North West of WA for lovely clear skies and plenty of stars. I would see goats, kangaroos, sheep, bob tail lizards, a bungarra or two, water birds and cattle. It was a little hairy out on my own, but the other staff wanted to drink alcohol and said it was boring doing what I was doing. Who cares I loved the peace.

Now having shot a roo I would skin and gutt it and take it back to the kitchen in the roadhouse and dissect it further so that every piece could be used in some form. The roadhouse dog in my above painting always hung around for his choice of bone. The truckies loved him he was always about somewhere, sleeping under the water tank where it was a little cooler always trying to find a cool hiding spot.

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