Hawker Memories


Hawker Memories

James Hawker purchased land at Moorundi on which to raise pigs.

His next challenge was to drive his pigs to Moorundi. Pigs are not like sheep and object to being driven great distances. Happily, he found a friend to help, the cheerful and ramrod-straight Captain Fergusson, who kept the pigs on track towards Moorundi by going ahead and laying down maize cobs to entice them forwards. At the same time he made loud squeals as if pigs were feeding greedily and even fighting to get at the food. It worked. The pigs must have really taken to Fergusson as a mother figure because:

As the embers of our fire still gave a little light, I looked round to see how the Captain fared. He was sleeping as calmly as a child in a crib, a big porker on each side. They all seemed so happy and comfortable that I considered it would be a sin to disturb them.

But as the day dawned, the Captain realised his position, and tremendous squeals showed that the sociability of his companions was not in accordance with his views of friendship.

Hawker’s pigs prospered and he soon had a sufficient number for fattening and breeding. He also supplied mutton to the workmen, Scott having the contract to supply it to the police and soldiers. He and Scott became firm friends and often went hunting or fishing together.

Hawker put out lines to catch Murray cod commercially, selling some of his catch to the police and soldiers, amongst others. He recorded the weights of the Murray cod he caught on the lines and many were above 40 pounds, some being twice that. Most fishermen today would agree with him that “those were the days”.

He enjoyed life at Moorundi and stayed after Eyre had left, taking pleasure in the local sociability. He put up two houses and constructed a large piggery with a thatched roof.