Richmond HENTY (1837-1904) was born in 1837 at Portland Bay, eldest child of Stephen George HENTY and Jane PACE. In his book "Australiana" published in 1886 he reminisced about visiting his Uncle Edward HENTY's property "Muntham" and being involved in a pig hunt as illustrated by the following extract....
"THE WANNON PROPERTY
I was placed in my father's office [c1853, age 16y], but did not take to the life, so I was allowed to visit Muntham, my uncle Edward's station [Edward HENTY 1810-1878] on the Wannon, and her I got some idea of station life and management, as well as excellent sport, of which wild pig shooting formed a considerable part.
Some few years previously my uncle turned some pigs out on the river. Pigs soon became plentiful and wild, and were not very long in becoming destructive to lambs and even sheep. On the banks of the river tall rank grass grew, affording excellent cover to the hogs.
Frequently, when sportsmen were creeping warily for a shot at black duck or teal, would a pig jump up, uttering loud grunts; and if a boar, would stand his ground and frighten both the gunner and his game.
I remember one occasion when my father [Stephen HENTY 1811-1872], uncle Tom [Thomas HENTY 1836-1887] and I, with men, ropes, carts, etc., and armed with a rifle and gun, started on a pig hunting expedition.
Tom and I crossed the river, then running high bank, in a punt, and walked on one side, while the rest of the party walked parallel on the other.
We had plenty of sport and bagged eleven pigs, besides young ones - which later were caught, tied, and put in a cart to be taken home.
Presently we heard shot after shot, shouting and uproar, and soon saw coming to the opposite bank of the river the farfamed black boar - a boar which had beaten both dogs and masters off a few days before, killing some of the former and wounding others, besides cutting with its tremendous tusks a terrible gash in the thigh of a valuable horse.
The boar took to the water, and swimming across, made for a small grassy flat where Tom and I were standing. This flat was bounded by river on one side, and by high hills on the other; there was not a tree to climb, so we had to face the big fellow.
Tom fired and wounded him sharply, and he was just in the act of turning on us when a lucky ball from my rifle struck him behind the shoulder, when he slowly sank to the ground and expired.
Returning, Tom and I had to re-cross the river, and thinking we were far away from our friends and our punt, we adopted a novel plan in order to effect our purpose.
There was an ancient red gum tree standing in the water about sixteen feet from the bank, one long branch of which stretched to the opposite side. If, then, we could reach the tree, the remainder of the crossing would be easy.
But how to do this and get our impedimenta over? Had there been no flood the thing would have been quickly managed; but, on the contrary, there was a high flood, and consequently a strong current running.
We had some rope with us - This rope was intended to tie up any young pigs we might happen to catch. If one could reach the tree with an end of the line round his body, the thing could be done.
The danger lay in the chance of being sucked under the big roots of the tree, which would most probably form a kind of network, from the fact of the stream having washed the soil away from amongst them. In the event of such happening, drowning was certain.
I could swim so I volunteered to try. Stripping off my clothes Tom tied one end of the rope round my body, while he firmly held the other end, in order to haul me in again in case of accident. Walking a little way up the stream, I jumped in, and striking vigorously out, just caught the tree as the current was sweeping me past.
Hurray! The first part of the plan succeeded - now for the second. Climbing well into the tree, so as to be able to form a sufficient angle with the bank, Tom tied my bundles of clothes and a heavy stick to his end of the rope, and let it swing to the foot of the tree, when I hauled it up.
Coiling up the rope and stick, I threw them back again, when the rifle, ammunition, accoutrements, Tom's clothes, etc. were swung safely across and hauled up. Now for Tom.
He fastened his end of the rope round his waist, while I placed myself low down on the tree, with the line well taut, ready to heave him along. He plunged in forthwith and disappeared. By Jove! Those confounded roots! But no! A heavy pull and up came Tom, puffing and blowing like a grampus.
Dressing in the branches, the remainder of our crossing was soon accomplished. When just about to drop from the end of our friendly bough, we heard a voice exclaiming: "Musha, where can the spaleens have got to?"
"Sure, they must be in the river - God forgive us all." "Here we are John, just catch the guns." "By the holy poker, " exclaimed John. "Where did them sounds come from? Begorra, it must be in the tree they are: divil a place a place else, unless they are drowned."
And then seeing us, he burst forth with: "Holy Mother! By the piper that played before Moses! Did ye iver see the likes of that? Shure this bates Banagher intorily. However, did ye's come there, and ye's the other side of the river beyant?"
"O Master Richie; Master Richie, won't master bate ye for this," etc., from our faithful old servant, John Cole, who had been in my father's service since I was a small child.
We got down safely and joined the seniors, who were certainly angry with us; but I am sure they were more pleased than angry on seeing us seafely back amongst them again.
So, what with shearing time, visiting shepherds at work, riding on horses at full gallop over the grand undulating downs country, mustering cattle for a draft of fat diddo, etc. branding the young, etc., shooting and fishing, our days passed merrily and pleasantly at happy old Muntham, in the society of kind uncle Ned and Aunt - varied by occasional visits to equal hospitality Uncle and Aunt Frank [Francis HENTY 1815-1889] at Merino Downs.
Happy merry days long passed away (all such must), and alas, never to return, because the same circumstances never can recur, and more than all because the actors in the scenes are some scattered, and many have left the earth to find the Great Mystery.
How wide the difference between those days and the present! then, all freedom, few inhabitants, no fences; now, a country settled, thickly peopled, fences, railways, telegraphs, telephones, roads and bridges, taxes and rates - in short, brought under the influence of modern civilisation and science. A wonderful change, and all within the space of less than half a healthy life.
An incident of our pig hunt must not be omitted. Old Brennan was my uncle's [Edward HENTY of "Muntham"] trusted overseer. He was wholly illiterate, could neither read nor write; nevertheless was a stirling man, and as trustworthy a servant as my master could wish for - very silent, taciturn almost, fond of his pipe - never drank to excess, yet wouldn't refuse a small glass if offered.
He from early dawn to late at night, was looking after the sheep, always keeping a keen look out under his shaggy brows, with his deap-set blue eyes, for many a dingo, that might prowl in his way, and "woe worth the day" when such happened, for that dingo's time had come.
No wild dog once hunted by him ever escaped. He had been at the Battle of Trafalgar, so we boys looked upon him as a sort of hero, although he only on that occasion held the high position of powder monkey.
But who would not have been proud to have ever been a powder monkey when fighting for Old England under such a leader as Nelson? But now, only to be an overseer of sheep, hunter of dingoes - "Sic transit gloria mundi".
Practical sheep farming is more profitable than fighting, but then think of the glory, my boy - the glory - ponder that. But avast, where have I drifted? Hark back.
Well, behold the slightly wounded pig, lying on its side with all legs tied, the senior sitting smoking on a fallen tree close by, and we boys standing looking on (we were but seventeen, and never dreamt of smoking at that time of life, as the youngsters of fourteen do now) old Brennan pulling away at his cutty, when uncle said; "Brennan, don't you think we might let her go? I think she will live, she is not much hurt. What do you say boys?" turning to us.
Fun jumped to the ascendant as we guessed what would happen. "Yes, yes uncle; let Brennan cut the cords." Forewith out came the old man's knife, and gravely stooping he cut the cords; then slowly rising, he shut his knife, and was in the act of putting it into his pocket when piggy jumped up with a grunt, and rushed at Brennan, who incontinently took to his heels; but he wore jack-boots, so could not travel fast.
The pig, with open mouth, and bristles erect, gained rapidly upon him, and was in the act of seizing him when he cast his eye over his shoulder, already anticipating the grip of the pig's teeth in the seat of honor.
Fortunately at this moment in looking back, he caught his foot on a root and fell headlong to the ground. This saved him, as the pig in its chase passed over him and disappeared in the long grass.
Laughter loud and long greeted this tableau, but I just heard the old man mutter as he picked up his broken cutty: "D--- that pig."............."