Nellie Bowley was a crackshot who culled more than 1000 dingoes in her lifetime and lived on a farm at Spring Creek Mountain until she was 101 years old.
Nellie Bowley was a crackshot who culled more than 1000 dingoes in her lifetime and lived on a farm at Spring Creek Mountain until she was 101 years old. Contributed

The crackshot queen who hunted dingoes at 101

SHE was a crackshot with a 10-gauge shotgun, hunted dingoes on the top of a mountain until she was 101, milked 100 dairy cows by hand and paid for her second husband's divorce.

This is how the people of Killarney still remember Nellie Bowley, the Spring Creek Mountain woman who has now become an internet legend.

Killarney tourist guide Tony Pearson said Ms Bowley deserved to go down in history, but it was a recent dingo attack on Fraser Island that bought her story to light.

In the wake of the event, Mr Pearson posted a photo of her holding a dingo scalp that has now been shared more than 1000 times on Facebook.

He said it was her fortitude that captured people's admiration.

"She was just phenomenal. I think her tolerance for being able to live alone and in such harsh conditions was what amazed everyone," Mr Pearson said.

"It is bloody cold up there in the winter time up the top of her mountain."

Mr Pearson has collected stories and records of Ms Bowley's life, which began on the family farm at Spring Creek Mountain in 1900.

 

Nellie Bowley has become an icon of the Killarney community.
Nellie Bowley has become an icon of the Killarney community. Contributed

Legend has it she didn't wear shoes until she was 14.

"She would go and round up the cattle with bare feet in the snow," Mr Pearson said.

Growing up, Ms Bowley helped her mother milk 100 dairy cows by hand, and her father Daniel James Watt would transport the milk down the mountain to a butter factory each day.

When she inherited the hill-top property from her parents, she lived up there until she was 101, the year she laid her last dingo trap.

Mr Pearson said the Killarney Heritage Centre held most of the tickets Ms Bowley collected from the government, which reimbursed citizens for dingo scalps.

"She would have culled more than 1000 dingoes in her time, which is incredible," he said.

"She was a crackshot very rarely ever missed."

While her dingo-hunting past is what brought Ms Bowley to fame in the past week, there are other colourful facets to her life.

After losing her first husband to cancer, she re-married Lynn Bowlie who pursued her for two years before she gave in.

But it wasn't all that simple.

 

Nellie Bowley herded cattle, lived alone on a mountain until she was 100 and will be remembered in Killarney for years to come.
Nellie Bowley herded cattle, lived alone on a mountain until she was 100 and will be remembered in Killarney for years to come. Contributed

A poor returned soldier, Mr Bowley could not afford to divorce his then-wife.

"So Nellie paid for the divorce so he could marry her," Mr Pearson said.

After about 15 years of marriage, Mr Bowley died and from then on, Ms Bowley ran the farm on her own.

It wasn't until she was about 101 that her family intervened and arranged for her to move into the Killarney Memorial Aged Care facility, according to Mr Pearson.

He said her legacy deserved to live on.

Killarney Historic Centre holds relics of her past according to Mr Pearson, who described the old Toyota Scout she drove.

On social media, friends and family members have shared memories of her strawberries and scones.

 

Nellie Bowley passed away in 2009.
Nellie Bowley passed away in 2009. Contributed

"My brother in law's great aunt . She definitely was a legend in her own life," James Massey said.

Mr Pearson said Ms Bowley would long hold a special place in the Killarney community.

"A lot of the nurses that looked after have got on and said what a wonderful old lady she was," he said.

"She didn't keep silent she would tell all the yarns, just mesmerising people with what she had done in her life."

In relation to the recent dingo attacks, Mr Pearson said her skills could have come in handy today.



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