Bullock Carts of Myanmar

Photo's taken of just some of the Burmese Bullock Carts.

The bullock cart (also known as a bullock wagon or bullock team) is a common means of transportation used traditionally since ancient times in many parts of the world. They are still used today where modern vehicles are too expensive or the infrastructure does not favor them. Bullock comes from the old English for castrated male cattle. Used especially for carrying goods, the bullock cart is pulled by one or several bullocks or oxen. The cart (or a jinker) is attached to a bullock team by a special chain attached to yokes, but a rope may also be used for one or two animals. The driver and any other passengers sit on the front of the cart, while load is placed in the back.

Traditionally the cargo was usually agrarian goods and lumber. Bullock wagons formed an important source of moving power in the colonial history of Australia by opening up the continent. Olaf Ruhen, in his book "Bullock Teams" remarks on how bullock teams shaped and built the colony. They carved the roads and built the rail; their tractive power made populating the interior possible; their contributions to the harvesting of timber opened the bush; they offered a start in life to the enterprising youngster". Bullocks were preferred by many explorers and teamsters because they were cheaper, quieter, tougher and more easily maintained than horses therefore making them more popular for draught work. Frequently comprising long trains of bullocks, yoked in pairs, they were used for hauling dray, wagon or jinker loads of goods and lumber prior to the construction of railways and the formation of roads. In early days the flexible two-wheeled dray, with a centre pole and narrow 3 inch iron tyres was commonly used.

The four wheeled dray or box wagon came into use after about 1860 for loads of 6-8 tons and was drawn by 16-18 bullocks. A bullock team was led by a pair of well trained leaders who responded to verbal commands as they did not have reins or a bridle. The bullock team driver was called a bullocky, bullock puncher or teamster. Bullock cart in Tamil Nadu, India still in use (2009) Many country towns owe their origin to the bullock teams, having grown from a store or shanty where teams rested or crossed a stream. These shanties were spaced at about 12 mile intervals, which was the usual distance for a team to travel in a day.

Web Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullock_carts


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