4 November 2022

Riverina Rewind: The man who rode a two-tailed bull

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Two-tailed bull

John Ferguson on his two-tailed bull. Photo: Museum of the Riverina.

This week the team from the Museum of the Riverina are taking us back to around 1873, where we witness the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of a gentleman riding a bull!

The man in question was John Ferguson, the owner.

Soon after its birth, the bull reportedly grew a freak second tail from its hip. You can see the white brush of its second tail near its hind leg.

Mr Ferguson, a good horseman, broke the bull to the saddle – and in the spirit of fun, occasionally showed off the bull’s paces to his friends by riding his unique steed through the township of Wagga like a pony.

READ ALSO Riverina Rewind: The son of a convict who built Wagga’s houses and forged its steel

This is one of two photographs taken of John with his bull – the second, printed in The Daily Advertiser of 12 October 1938 is of poor quality.

It was that same year that bush troubadour Jack Moses immortalised Ferguson and his bull in verse, with the inclusion of the poem “The Two-Tailed Bull of Wagga-Wog-gar” in his book “Nine Miles from Gundagai”:

“Years ago, back ever so far,

A bull was ridden through Wagga-Wog-gar;

The fact was known in Tar-cut-ta,

And coo-eed to Car-pen-tar-iar.

And round the world wherever you are

You’ll hear of the bull of Wagga-Wog-gar,

How Bidgee Bill with great eclar

Rode the famous bull through Wagga-Wog-gar.

So we’ll toss a toast in the Widow’s bar,

For the jockey and bull of Wagga-Wog-gar –

Wagga-Wog-gar, Wagga-Wog-gar,

Give three cheers for Wagga-Wog-gar.

Hip-pip-pip, hip-hoorah,

Shake it up for Wagga-Wog-gar,

For beautiful girls, oh! what a star,

Fill ’em again for Wagga-Wog-gar.

In those days of bullocks and drays,

Before they came with motor car,

Happy we were, Tra-la-la-la,

Ere the train rumbered to Tumba-rum-bah.

Happy we were, Tra-la-la,

When teamsters camped in Wagga-Wog-gar;

Before the streets were smeared with tar,

The bull was ridden through Wogga-Wag-gar.”

Photo and information provided by Michelle Maddison, curator at the Museum of the Riverina.

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