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Barefoot Harry

The curious story of Barefoot Harry of Louth, an almost legendary bushman, who at the turn of the 20th century) was known from one end of the Darling River to the other in the early part of the last century.

When Harry was a young man, his wife drowned in the Darling and Harry was unable to save her because he couldn’t remove his boots quickly enough. He thereafter took a vow to never wear boots again, and was seen in all weathers frequenting the river bank in the hope that one day he might save someone else.

Harry followed many occupations, amongst them a horse teamster, a sheep shearer, a tank sinker and fencer.

Once there was a fight in the bar of the Mt Murchinson Pub in Wilcannia, and some windows were smashed. The publican sent to Broken Hill for some new glass, but in a hurry made a wrong measurement. When the glass finally arrived it was found to be too big for the window frames.

Being unable to find a tool to cut the glass with, the publican finally thought of Barefoot Harry, who was camped close by on the river bank. He found Harry, and after explaining his plight, took him to the blacksmith and with a pair of bolt cutters, cut a section from one of Harry’s toenails. Using Harry’s nail, strengthened from years of exposure, as a glass cutter, the window panes easily cut to the right size.

For more information please contact the Back O' Bourke Information and Exhibition Centre

Kidman Way, Bourke NSW 2840

02 6872 1321