On to Parramatta
© Chris Woodland
When next we hear of Martini and his travelling show they were to perform at Parramatta on Saturday 2 December, that an eight-hands high pony known as the Midget, was the smallest buckjumper in Australia, and that Mr Menadue, the Queensland champion cornet player, will be playing solos during the evening and that he would also play the gum leaf. The Cumberland Argus said:
Local horsemen will have another opportunity to pick up £10 tonight at Martini’s buckjumping exhibition, at George Street, Parramatta. It is only a matter of sitting on “Bobs” for a few seconds.
The Lithgow Mercury named the usual varieties of performing animals, how long the show has been on the road, then interestingly informed the readers that the performing enclosure was of canvas, which is 14 feet (4.3 m) high and 240 square feet (22.3 square metres). The show was to be in Lithgow on 2 December the 4 December. They have concluded five nights at Penrith and would soon arrive at Katoomba, then Mt Victoria for performances before arriving in Lithgow.
After all that coverage it appears that the show never reached Lithgow and stayed or returned to Parramatta, where they commenced one of several nights on 2 December, the day they were to open at Lithgow.
It appears that Martini had formed a better idea than heading over the Blue Mountains. He made a decision that would make him even better known, would enhance his earnings and would offer the show a welcome reprieve from always moving along the road. Martini’s Buckjumpers would become a household name, which would pack the venues with eager spectators and those attempting to earn a name in the faculty of roughriding.
One performance at this Sydney venue would be the most advertised and best attended of Martini’s career. This was to be the match between Australia’s most famed roughrider, Lance Skuthorpe, and the notorious outlaw from Bryamine station in North Queensland with the brand ST4, the seemingly unrideable Bobs.
Martini’s Buckjumping Show was to spend over 22 weeks in the centre of the city of Sydney, from Thursday 21 December until closing night, with the Monster Farewell Programme on 19 May 1906. The area was adjacent to the Christ Church School grounds in Pitt Street, opposite the entrance of the new railway station, which was to be known as Central Station. The old Sydney heritage-listed Anglican church of Christ Church St Lawrence, with its dominant spire, was consecrated in 1845 and still stands today between Pitt and George streets.
On Wednesday the 13th December the Referee published:
The Byrimine [sic] Station (Q.) Buckjumper, with Martini’s Buckjumping Show. Martini will back Bobs for £100 to throw any rider in Australia in less than five minutes and has deposited £25 at “Referee’ Office” to bind a match. Martini is prepared also to back one of his Queensland horsemen to ride any other horse under same conditions. Full particulars at Exhibitions, given nightly, at Christchurch [sic] School Grounds Pitt Street, opposite the entrance to New Railway Station, commencing THURSDAY NIGHT, 21st DECEMBER.
The following telegram was received at the Referee Wednesday 7 December:
I will back Prof. L. A. Skuthorpe to ride Martini’s buckjumper Bobs for any part of £100; Skuthorpe to ride in his own small stock saddle. —
Sam Evans, owner Durendo Station, Q.
Martini replied that he would accept the wager under the condition that the knee pads would not exceed three inches, to which Evans wired back that the pads of Skuthorpe’s saddle measure three and a half inches on the inside of the pads and four and a half on the outside. When the night of the challenged finally eventuated in March the choice of saddle developed into a major disagreement.