Gus Ryder is a Yued-Noongar from New Norcia. His father had a special way with horses and passed this knowledge onto Gus and his siblings. Gus tells a magical story of the Avon River flooding, the waters rising to over two metres high. He swam across the swollen river to save his ponies and then rode to rescue his dog, caught in the house with the waters rising. Gus speaks of his traditional language and the beautiful sounds it makes. How he spent a big part of his life playing football for the Wanderers and coached other young Noongar boys, bringing a positive focus into their lives.
I grew up near the Avon River at Northam, and at New Norcia. My parents lived by the river in a little house; we called it humpty-do.
My Dad was very good with ponies and worked for the veterinarian. We had five ponies – Flicker, Baldy, Lady, Tenderfoot and Strawberry. There was a big flood of the Avon River one time and I had to swim across the river to rescue my ponies.
As a teenager I played football at New Norcia Mission. I was in the Wanderers football club, which was started in Bishop Salvado’s time. In the mid 1980s, I revived the Wanderers football tradition down here in Perth, and coached a team in Balga and then in Koondoola.
I worked for farmers around New Norcia and Northam. My father had worked with horses and carts, but in my time we worked with tractors and injections for the cattle.
I still coach football, and have recently started writing poems and songs.