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THE following account of the doings of old-time fighters and footrunners, of happenings in the days "when our beards were black" were first published in 1922, and were very kindly supplied by one of the participants in the events described. and who signed himself "Ne'er Do Well."

Is it not strange, this clinging to the past, This tenderness for day whose light is gone, This fond belief that skies were brighter once, And suns more brilliant shone?

Sometime in 1874, Sam Shepherd (known by the soubriquet of "Sam the Shepherd," as he had worked among sheep), fought William Perry. Shepherd, in that fight, stove in three of Perry's ribs with a right-hand punch. I think in the third round. Shepherd also beat White in eight very short rounds. White was the cleverer of the two, but Shepherd was heavier and a much harder hitter than White. Perry was, I believe, an Englishman, the other two New South Welshmen. After the abovementioned fights, old Ned Seymour of the All Nations' Hotel, Mosman Street, offered to back Shepherd to fight any man in the North for £50 aside, and rumour said one or two stone in weight would not be considered as a bar to the match. Shepherd was about 5ft. 10½ins. in height, and 11st.. 71b. in weight. He was broad-shouldered, but not thick through from chest to back. He was not a clever boxer, but certainly a hard hitter with his right.
  It was. I think, towards the end of '74    that    Easton    fought    Shepherd. Easton had just arrived on the field from Bendigo (Victoria), where he had had three or four turns up with the Rawnes. The dispute with Shepherd arose over a matter of fair play. between Sam's mate and a stranger. It soon went from angry words to blows, "for those were the days when the angry blow surplanted the word that chides."

No three months newspaper warfare before a fight in that time. The fight started in front of Joe Woodburn's old store, somewhere about where the Royal Hotel is situated. Four sharp, short rounds were got through, when the police came upon the scene. The friends of both sides, and principals, then betook themselves over to the flat, whereon later stood a blacksmith's shop. I think it is known as Romberg's flat - all bush at that time. Ten more short rounds were fought. Shepherd had met his Waterloo. He slept the sleep of the just for ten minutes or so.

He lay like a warrior taking his rest.
While his friends and foes stood around him.

Dan Hayes was the only one with Easton. At that time they were mates working in the Moonstone. Dan was a good all-round sport, and in later days raced some very good horses on the Towers. The two policemen who in the first place disturbed the merrymakers, afterwards entered into the sport, assisted. to keep a good ring, and declared for fair play.

At the end of '74 Ted Honey was one of the best 100 yards runners about the Towers. Warden Charters had a black boy, a good runner, on the flat or over sticks: also a fairly good high jumper. Tom Gray and Jack O'Neill were also smart young fellows. O'Neill, although short of stature, ,could clear 4ft. 6ins. in a standing jump, which in those days was considered good. In February or March, 1875, perhaps the most important battle ever fought up to that time in North Queensland, took place between William Brown and Edward Easton. The contest took place on a well chosen piece of ground., just to the right-hand side of the road, as you look towards the Welcome Flat, with the site of the Towers Brewery on Alabama Hill, at your back, the road to the old Black Jack crushing
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