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Waltzing Matilda

Waltzing Matilda — Squatter’s History

Slim Dusty — Waltzing Matilda

Have you ever wondered why Australia’s most successful board game is called “Squatter”? Well, the inventor, my dad Bob Lloyd, loved Banjo Paterson’s poems, as do I and many others. But for Dad, Banjo was able to capture the essence of something Australian of which we could all be proud.

In late 1950’s and early 60’s “Australian Made” was poorly regarded. Most of our school textbooks were published in England, and most of our toys were “Made in England”. “Australian Made” was widely considered to be of inferior quality and was hence somewhat despised. I know Dad rejected this idea; in fact, I think it infuriated him. He was very proud to be an Australian, and it was important for the game to reflect something that was quintessentially Australian.

When the game was invented in 1956 it was also the year of the Melbourne Olympics, and Waltzing Matilda was at that time often referred to as Australia’s un-official national anthem. It was played a lot during the Olympics and was internationally associated with Australia. In that era, within the Australian vernacular, the word “Squatter” as referred to in Waltzing Matilda, almost universally was accepted to mean a pioneer farmer. And because the “jolly swagman” was gleefully stowing the Jumbuck (a sheep) into his Tucker Bag, it more particularly meant a pioneer sheep farmer.

Again, in that era, there was hardly a better, more Australian word to describe an Australian game that was about sheep farming and wool production. It wasn’t until the mid to late 60’s that there was a growing awareness in Australia that “Squatter” also meant an illegal tenant not paying rent and difficult to evict.

Dad commented much later that he regretted choosing the name “Squatter”, and he might have preferred “Jumbuck”, which is also mentioned in Waltzing Matilda. However, since then, that name along with many other suitable alternatives, has been registered by other companies and is consequently unavailable.

Nevertheless, while it is a significant undertaking to embark on a name change for such a well-known brand as Squatter, we are poised to launch this famous game internationally. And because outside Australia, the word “Squatter” is unacceptable, a name change is in the pipeline!

Stay tuned!

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A term used in Australia to describe the owner of a large livestock farm.

Historically, after European settlement of Australia, the demand for grazing land was greater than the rate at which the government could survey the land and release it for sale or lease.

Today, when we purchase land, a Title Deed is issued as proof of “title” to the land. The transaction is recorded in the titles office. Every block of land in Australia can be traced back to an original “Crown Allotment”, which has been created by the “Crown” (the government) after it was surveyed, and subsequently released for settlement by way of sale or lease by the government. The “survey” describes the exact boundaries of the Crown Allotment, and the subdivisions of each Crown Allotment. This provides the underlying legal basis for holding a “title” (a legal claim) to ownership of land.

In the early 1800’s there was a great need for agriculture; livestock and crops to provide for the needs of a colony that was very isolated and growing rapidly. The early “Squatters” took possession of land that was claimed by Lt James Cook on behalf of the Crown in 1700. Under British law, technically they were Squatters, because they occupied land they did not have title to. Although in their defence, there was no method available to them at that time to purchase or lease the land. Nevertheless by their hard work the Squatters developed the land and provided for many of the needs of the colony. They became the pioneers of Australian agriculture.


A large livestock grazing property.


A well to tap underground water.


To dose livestock for control of internal parasites.


Spraying of sheep with insecticides to prevent them from becoming blown, or struck, by the sheep blow-fly.


A highly infectious disease affecting the hooves of sheep, frequently causing severe lameness and consequent malnutrition. (Usually confined to the higher rainfall areas or irrigated properties).


Treatment of pests on sheep by spraying or immersion in insecticidal solutions.


A leaf shaped parasite which bores through the liver of sheep, and other animals, frequently causing death.


A disease mainly confined to young sheep, when grazing on lush pasture.


Fees charged by the owners, for mating their well-bred rams to ewes owned by another stock-owner.


A property not improved by cultivation, clearing, etc.


Grasses and herbage on which stock graze.


Pasture consisting of native grasses and herbage.


Pasture which has been sown down with grasses of higher nutritive value, and clovers (or other medics which improve soil fertility).


Pasture which is artificially watered to supplement rainfall.


The maximum average number of stock, which can be profitably grazed per acre throughout the year.


Fees charged by an owner of surplus pasture, to another stock-owner, for the right to graze stock for a specified period.


A period of intense sheep blowfly activity; usually when the weather is hot and humid.


A document, signed by the seller, giving evidence of the purchase.


Preventative steps taken to prevent soil erosion by wind or water. Also to prevent or reverse land being affected by salt.


A bag for carrying food (tucker). Horseman may use a saddle-bag.

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Roll the Dice!

Tournament store house 2017-10 (27)

Roll the Dice!

There is so much to learn with DICE.

If you watch children you can see that things we take for granted, we had to learn somewhere. For example most adults would recognise the dice above as “double six” and most would know that that means “twelve” and that means move your piece 12 spaces around the board. But children don’t get all that. If you watch them, and as they discover for themselves, younger children will count the “dots”. And if they don’t miss any and they don’t mistakenly count some dots twice, they will arrive at “6”. What happens next is very interesting, because younger children will then count the dots on the second dice and arrive at 6 dots on that dice they will then proceed to add the two 6’s together to get to twelve and then proceed to move their piece 12 spaces around the board. But slightly older children will count the dots on the second dice by continuing on from 6 so 6, 7, 8 … 11, 12 and arrive at 12 without needing to add two 6’s together. Note, that at this stage, children need to count the dots. It is only after some practice they come to recognise the shape of the numbers on the dice, and say that is “six” without need for counting. Even so, they will need to add the recognised number patterns to end up with the total. Other strategies begin to emerge. “Doubles” are more easily remembered combinations. Two “six’s” are soon remembered as being a total of twelve, and so on with the other doubles. Once this is established there is no need to count dots and very soon there is a further strategy – double “six” is twelve, therefore “six”& “five” must be eleven. There is so much to learn from dice and Squatter is so much more than a game.

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Trivia – Coorumbene Station

70c Bush Ballads_The Man from Snowy River_2014. * Only to be reproduced with the perforations included.

Trivia – Coorumbene Station

In the Squatter prototype, one of the stations was named to honour Bob Lloyd’s wife, Pat. It was was called “Lady Patricia Station”. The publishers felt this was not “in keeping” with the “outback theme” and without consultation re-named it “Birronga Downs”. However, in the next edition, this Station name was changed to “Coorumbene”.

“Coorumbene” was the name of the property selected [more about selectors] in the Loch (VIC) District by Miles McCabe in circa 1870 and was where Pat Lloyd (nee McCabe) grew up. “Coorumbene” is the only real-life name used in Squatter (and although there are some properties that bear the same names as the Squatter sheep stations, this is quite coincidental).

The Coorumbene property was divided up in 1950 into 3 “Soldier Settlements” but these have in recent years, been amalgamated into the original farm. 

The woolmark used on the bale of wool on the “Wool Sale”, square is the woolmark that was used by Coorumbene. “CMBE”, being the abbreviation for Coorumbene and “LA” being Victorian Railway’s designator for Loch Railway Station.

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Tucker Bag Card – Stock Raising Principles

Tucker Bag Card

Tucker Bag Card – Stock Raising Principles

Tucker Bag cards provide insight to many stock raising principles.

Tucker Bag superfine

Maintaining farm profitability is often a juggle between two or more conflicting goals. In wool production, one of the juggles is between achieving more valuable, fine quality, low fibre-diameter (micron) wool without reducing the amount of wool produced.According to NSW Department of Primary Industries“Around 90% of the value of a Merino fleece is determined by two traits – fleece weight and average fibre diameter. Selection on either trait of fleece weight or fibre diameter on its own will lead to slow deterioration in the other, it is easy to achieve simultaneous improvement in both traits by using an appropriate selection index to rank sheep on their combined performance for both.” moreCheck out this link to discover the four basic strains of Merino sheep and the range of quality of Merino wool – from “Ultrafine” wool as fine as 12.5 microns through to “Strong” wool over 22 microns.

Person troughing fleece on the wool table in the shearing shed

View of flock of sheep that have been freshly shorn inside shearing shed

Playing a game of Squatter can be just for fun. But the chances are, you will learn a lot about raising sheep and other livestock along the way.

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Pay cost of fencing repairs

shearing the rams

Pay cost of fencing repairs $500

Did you know?

Pay cost of fencing repairs $500. Landing on this square seems like a bit of a nuisance. It is much better than landing on drought – for sure! But it niggles away and eats into profits. In the early part of the game $500 is a big part of your start-up capital, so you need to watch your spending, so you have enough money to pay for the unexpected.

Living on the land, running a farm is quite unlike most other jobs. A really big part of farming is juggling all the routine non-urgent jobs like repairing fences, in between all the essential jobs, like feeding out the hay, or shearing the sheep. In real life it is easy to forget about “repairing the fences”, until one day the stock are wandering over the road. The Trigwell Case was an important legal case that relates to liability for damages from stock wandering loose. More…

Playing a game of Squatter, draws attention to the complexity of farming and the wide range of tasks to be undertaken.

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The Origin of Lachlan Lad

Lachlan Lad Stud Ram

The Origin of “Lachlan Lad”


The Names of the Stud Rams are all significant. Lachlan Lad is named after the Lachlan River (NSW), which is mentioned in the poem, “Clancy of the Overflow” by Banjo Paterson. The Lachlan River is the 4th longest river in Australia (1,440 km) and rises (starts) in the Great dividing range, near Yass and flows inland into the Murrumbidgee near Oxley. The Lachlan is an intermittent river, which means it ceases flowing at least twice every five years. This river was named after Governor Lachlan Macquarie. The Murray (2,508 km), Murrumbidgee (1,600) and Darling (1,472 km) rivers are longer than the Lachlan.

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Tucker Bag Card – The Tractor Incidents

games Depositphotos_3082556_with sheep

Tucker Bag Card

The Tractor Incidents

Injured by tractor

Even 35 years after all new tractors being sold with roll over protection structures (ROPS), tractor incidents are still the highest cause of farm deaths and roll over is still the highest type of tractor incident. Older tractors were not required to have a roll-over bar fitted and many deaths from tractor rollovers could have been avoided with the addition of ROPS on their tractors. This tuckerbag card is intended to draw attention to tractor carelessness and the harshest penalty in Squatter is applied. Missing two throws could put you behind by 6 months, all the while sitting on the sideline waiting for your turn.

Read  more here…

Playing a game of Squatter, draws attention to the many aspects of farming and reinforces the worksafe safety messages.