After an epic journey lasting some 250 days, the First Fleet struck the shores of Botany Bay in NSW. Setting to colonise a nation were captains, crews, convicts and civilians, who brought down the gangplanks with them some 19 goats, 44 sheep, 32 pigs, 87 chickens, four cows, six horses and five rabbits.
In an attempt to forge out a European-like nation, the latter hard-hooved immigrants altered the landscape of Australia like no other. But it was “on the sheep’s back” we rode, straddling the hapless animal with droughts and floods, mulesing and mustering, castration and tail-docking, the latter two without any anaesthetic or pain relief. So many suffered in silence, unseen and unknown. Yet the greatest assault came in the smallest of forms; a fly – not just any fly and by many accounts, quite a “pretty” fly at that. The most colourful Lucy fly strikes her insidious and cruel blow as her larvae steadily, stealthily and painfully munched their way through the flesh of their hapless victim.
Countless sheep each year succumb to “flystrike”and set to be in this number were Pepsi and Cola. But then kindness stood in the way and the duo arrived into our care, in a state far less than the effervescence their sweet names suggest. With pain relief, antibiotics and removal of the offending maggots delivered, Pepsi and Cola could well be said to have “struck it lucky” the day they landed at Edgar’s Mission.