Made in the Bush

A Bullock Whip Used by Berry’s Bert Jorgenson

One day while Bert Jorgenson was in the bush near Berry, he found a strong-looking sapling branch, perfect for the purpose he had in mind. He needed a whip to use on his bullock teams that hauled the massive trees felled from the local forests. Rather than buy one readymade, Bert found what he needed in the bush, improvising the handle and using tanned hide for the whip.

The son of Harriett Mansfield and Hans George (Jorgen) Jorgenson, Berthal ‘Bert’ Thomas Jorgenson (1893–1984) settled in the Berry district in 1910. Bert became a true bushman, winning prizes at the local wood chopping contests in the 1910s, and building a dairy farm named Millsite near Malloy’s sawmill near the railway. In 1933 Bert married Evelyn Florence Williams and they lived in a cottage on Albany Lane.

Jorgenson drove his bullocks at night along Beach Road to the Berry sawmills. But in 1916, Bert left logs on the Coolangatta Road and also damaged the main South Coast Road. The Berry Council had to send Bert and his timber mill colleague Malloy an official letter, ordering them to remove the logs and repair the road.

Before trucks and trailers were available, bullock transport was the most common form of transport, since bullock teams were easy to control, stronger than horses, steady, patient and determined. Bullocks were harnessed in pairs with a wooden yoke, and several pairs were linked to create a team. In Berry, they were used to drag Eucalyptus trees from the nearby Barren Grounds, for extracting the gum, which was used as a substitute for petrol during World War II.