The Bush Telegraph

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bush Poetry, Bush Telegraph


In the city, housewives meet for cups of tea and bickies, or lean over the back fence to discuss relevant topics of the goings on of the people around them in their communities. Well the bush has the same sort of system, we call it “The Bush Telegraph”. It covers vast distances, as do the properties of the great out back, and is usually the first source of information on an important event in the outback community. It would have to be one of the fastest forms of communication on the planet even in to day’s high-tech net driven society.

It starts at the source of the event and then at great speed the information explodes out covering vast tracks of land, crossing rivers in flood, hot barren deserts and clearing mountain ranges in a single bound. It hitches rides with every phone call and every station bound road train as well as every mail truck and every “cocky” that scratches a stick in the dust during weather information exchanges with his neighbor. The outback always has depended on the Bush Telegraph and we believe it always will.


On every far off bush selection,
Out where the dingo’s roam.
There’s a means of communication,
that’s faster than a phone.
Its movement is always continual,
It’s not something you can photograph.
It’s an early Australian original,
Known as the Bush Telegraph.

It was used by early selectors,
Ploughing the sun baked loam.
Carried by all the visitors,
And distributed home by home.
It still moves around the outback,
Though the roads are often rough.
Both black soil road and bulldust track,
Carry the old Bush Telegraph.

It was used by ragged miners,
For news of each new rush.
Spurring dreams of untold riches,
Buried somewhere in the bush.
It starbursts out across the land,
Carried on, like wind blown chaff.
By “Cobb and Co” with four in hand,
All carrying the Bush Telegraph.

It was used by wiry stockmen,
With skin hardened by the sun.
And bush women raising children,
On a distant lonely run.
Where the loneliness is unending,
And she’s forgotten how to laugh.
She hopes soon they’ll be sending,
News on the Bush Telegraph.

Its not restricted by elements of weather,
Nor hindered by boundaries of time.
It can’t be bought sold or tied with tether,
It’s no more yours than it is mine.
The weight of its cargo is boundless,
So for the want of a suitable epitaph
Try unstoppable, necessary and priceless,
The grand old Bush Telegraph.

© Ron Wilson