Bullock driving, bush poetry and blacksmithing a passion for teenage old soul

Bullocky, bush poet and blacksmith teenager Joey Reedy, of Wallabadah, with his jersey bullocks in the parade at the Good Old Days Festival, Barellan. Image Kim Woods 

At 16 Joey Reedy is already an accomplished bush poet, blacksmith and bullocky – he reckons he is an old soul and in a young person’s body and may have been born into the wrong century. 

From Wallabadah in the New England region, Joey has been mentored from a young age by his father, John Reedy, a blacksmith and keen bush poet.

Joey was at the Good Old Days Festival at Barellan, in southern NSW, this year, splitting his time between driving Jersey bullocks, helping out with the blacksmith display and entertaining hundreds of visitors at the barbecue breakfast with side splitting bush poems. 

He started taking an interest in poetry at the age of five and has since appeared at many festivals and events including the Tamworth Country Music Festival poet’s breakfast where he is a past Golden Damper award winner. 

“I started with small poems when I was young and now I have a few standby ones I say around the fire at every festival,” he said.

He recited “The Compo Kid” by Jack Drake and “How McDougall topped the Score” by Thomas Edward Spencer.

“I recite a lot of Jack Drake’s poetry as I like his style and humour,” he said. 

Joey runs a small team of jersey bullocks and took part in the Motor Neurone Disease Tribute to the Teams charity drive with bullocky Philip Thomson the week before the Good Old Days Festival to further educate his bullocks.

“Blacksmithing and bullockying go hand in hand really. I do get told fairly often that I’m an old soul in a young person’s body.

“I’m not exactly up with what modern people do – I’d sooner drive bullocks in the bush or cut a bit of firewood. I do believe I was born in the wrong century sometimes.”

2022 was the first visit to the Good Old Days Festival for Joey and this year he borrowed bullocks Chip and Dale off Philip Thomson. 

“It’s a very good festival – one of the best ones around with the variety and things to see, you don’t get a chance to see the big teams anywhere else, the opportunity to learn from the bullockies and the other blacksmith, Russel Roberts.”

Joey cuts firewood and then educates his yearling and two-year-old bullocks – Bruiser (near side leader), Bright, Rusty and Sharp – to drag the logs out of the bush.

“My advice to anyone wanting to learn bullockying is to surround yourself with the right people and you will learn a lot. I’ve been asking a lot of questions and am pretty much soaking it all up.”

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