By Daisy Baker
27 June, 2018
HOW to skin a wallaby, use a cross-cut saw, and milk a cow are all things Ronald ‘Tiny’ Le Fevre learned at a young age growing up in Winnaleah.
His older sister gave him his nickname, calling him the ‘tiny baby’ when he was born.
His wife Irene laughs, saying the baby wore off but the tiny stuck.
The couple have been married 59 years in July and Mrs Le Fevre says they were dating three months before she knew his real name.
At nearly 81, Tiny has lived an adventurous life in the North-East, largely working as a farmer, but also had a five-year stint as a ranger at Mount William.
He learned a good work ethic at a young age, getting two bob a row for picking carrots during the war years.
He says above all, he remembers the kindness of the old people in Winnaleah as he was growing up. “You were safe. You never had a worry in the world,” Tiny says.
“If you went up into the town and skun your knee someone would’ve picked you up and put a bandage on it.
“If you went up the street and misbehaved someone would’ve kicked your butt and sent you home. That’s how it was.”
One of his vivid memories is being thrown from a horse when he was 11, while taking 250 cattle into the high country though the tiers.
“It was a rough track, but my mate and I were regarded as capable of doing it,” he says.
“Only thing was I got a horse I couldn’t handle and ended up in hospital with a broken ankle and a few other problems.”
Tiny was picked up by a Chinese man, who put him on the back of a truck and took him to Herrick.
“The only one that had a car in Herrick was the postmaster and they had to shut the post office so he could take me home.
“Now everybody’s got a motorcar, but I don’t know if they’ve got the heart they use to have.”
After leaving school at 13, he cut railway sleepers in the bush with a cross-cut saw and axe.
“That’s how it was in those days – if you didn’t work, you didn’t eat,” he says.
“When I got a little bit older we used to ride a horse from Winnaleah to Scottsdale to pick up a mob of cattle.
“Work was tough, and we never had any money, but life was good.”
Pointing to photos on the wall, he tells me with great pride about his many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
“I’m so thankful that I grew up in that time when the people were so good and so caring.”