For more than 40 years, George Lane was a 'suburban' drover, living in Sunshine and working in Newmarket in Melbourne. He worked for a meat company, pushing the cattle and sheep around the former Newmarket Saleyards with his faithful kelpie dogs. Now he lives near Heathcote with his partner Fay, and four working dogs.
It must have been hard work at Newmarket with thousands of sheep and cattle?
It wasn’t too bad with the kelpies doing the yard work. They are excellent at that.
We had a saying: ‘When the going gets tough, get a kelpie’. They are quick, smart and tough enough. Not afraid like some dogs. Border collies are good, but work a little different to kelpies.
Why did you become a drover?
I grew up in the city. My father was a drover and so was one of my brothers. We always had working dogs in the family. I just followed on.
Newmarket must have been big when it was operating?
There was about 70000 or 80000 lambs on a Tuesday. I retired in about 1992 and went to work at the meatworks in Brooklyn. There’s houses there, now (in Newmarket).
What do you do now?
I’m retired, but I’ve got four dogs. We’ve got a self-contained motor-home, so we go all over Australia, going to the dog trials, for about three or four months of the year. We spend most of the time with the dogs. We’ve got a big dog box on the back.
What about Ellie, the border collie?
She’s about six years old. She was bred by Toby Lindsay from Dubbo. She’s won two trials. She’s a pretty good dog. Always gives her best.
Do you pick up any trophies?
Every now and then. It’s pretty hard to win because there are a lot of good dogs out there.
■George Lane is one of the organisers of the Supreme Australian Sheep Dog Trial Championship to be held at Kings Park, Seymour for nine days from October 14 to 22.
■Do you have a dog or dogs you’d like to nominate for Man’s Best Friend? Phone Rodney the Dog Man on 58203259 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org