Glassy Eyed

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bush Poetry, Glassy Eyed


Butchering is not a trade for the weak of stomach, and rest assured, the craft that is often practiced in the bush would leave many self respecting butchers queasy. Throw a few beers, a dark night, and a blunt knife into the mix and see what you come up with.


Old Ted had a glass eye that was missing its lid,
So the bloody thing just used to stare.
And whilst he was asleep one eye would be hid,
Whilst the other continued to glare.

Once on the way home from a spree at the pub,
And definitely being to drunk to drive.
He steered his ute towards his shack in the scrub, 
But didn’t realise he’d not make it alive.

A couple of miles out he stopped to shoot a roo,
And he waved the gun in its general direction.
He needed bones for the dogs and some meat for the stew,
And the roo died of random lead injection.

Then with a rusty old Bowie he began the attack,
But his balance was tempered by beer.
And he slipped in the blood landing flat on his back,
So he said, “bugger it, I’ll just skin you from here”.

Ted wrestled the carcass like a demon from hell,
Dismembering limbs and things off the roo.
With the guts and the blood it was soon hard to tell,
Just who exactly was skinning who.

With the butchering done Ted was covered in gore,
Jack the Ripper would have spewed at the sight.
Then with the meat tucked away he set off once more,
Looking forward to getting home for a bite.

But at the half way mark the rum had started to tell,
So Ted pulled up in the road for a rest.
With his head against the window into a coma he fell,
With that eerie glass eye staring west.

A passer by stopped to see all was right,
With the car that was parked in mid lane.
But that staring eye, gave him a hell of a fright,
Not to mention all the blood and the brain.

The man flew into town, to tell of the slaughter,
And the ambulance and the police rushed to the scene.
But the cops seeing the mess said it must be murder,
And all agreed it’s the worse case they had seen.

With Ted’s staring glass eye sending chills down the spine,
And the hanging chunks of flesh and bits of liver.
While draped round his neck was a length of intestine,
And an eyeball was stuck to the rear vision mirror.

They fenced off the crime with a mile of yellow tape,
Whilst flashing lights diverted the traffic.
And the rising full moon light the surrounding landscape, 
Making that glass eyed stare even more horrific.

The sergeant radioed a warning throughout the night,
A madman must be in hiding near town.
And do not approach him just shoot him on sight,
Anyone capable of this just had to be put down.

Next at the crime scene a gruesome job lay in store,
The nervous medics could now do their bit.
But the body’s angle, meant that when they opened the door,
They’d have to move bloody quick to catch it.

The catcher was decided when he drew the short straw,
And he cursed his bad luck and his fate.
Then his partner opened the latch and old Ted started to fall,
But he awoke and with a groan sat up straight.

It took twenty minutes to revive that medical man,
The poor fellow’s heart just couldn’t compete.
And the cops that hadn’t fainted, well they all up and ran,
Screaming and wailing in hasty retreat.

And old Ted looked around with his blood matted hair,
And he slurred with a rum stained groan.
You mongrels just woke me and gave me a hell of a scare,
Then he started his ute and drove home.


Caught in a Drum Net

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bush Poetry, Caught in a Drum Net


A similar fishy tale to this has been knocking around the bush in one form or another for years. This is a true story that is about Ron getting caught by some fishing inspectors while he was checking a fish trap that he had found several years ago. Fish traps, or “Drum Nets”, are of course highly illegal. As it turned out the trap he was inspecting when inspected by the inspectors was actually the inspector’s trap. They were apparently doing a survey of fish numbers. That was their story any way. Here’s Rons.

Bush poetry by Ronnie Wilson

A fish inspector’s job is to enforce our laws,
From poachers who driven by greed.
Use methods unfair in the name of their cause,
And then take more fish than they need.

It’s a well known fact that bag limits retract,
From those who tend to be illegal.
And the nature of tackle is sure and exact,
On what is and what is not legal.

And apart from a gill-net the worst to conspire,
Is a round trap with the nickname of “drum net”.
With a funnel at one end, made of chicken mesh wire,
It just rolls into the river when set.

But still because of my respect for the law,
I’d never risked using one myself, “true”.
The cost if convicted means losing it all,
Your boat, and your four-wheel drive, too.

One morn I went early to a secret location,
Where I new I’d catch a good feed.
I had permission to fish on the grazing station,
And I never catch more than I need.

But there on the bank not ten feet from me,
Was a rope disappearing into the river.
I thought seeing this end is tied to a tree,
The other must be tied to a… “fish giver”.

An easy free feed seemed too good to pass,
So I hauled up the trap for inspection.
And I emptied the catch on the river bank grass,
Completely unaware of detection.

Then I jumped in the air when a voice on my right,
Said, “looks like a pretty good feed”.
And my heart went on strike from effects of the fright,
And my bowels soon followed its lead.

The local fish inspector right there, in uniform stood,
Surveying his latest investigation.
And I looked up the bank at my Landcruiser’s hood,
And new it was marked for confiscation.

I new in an instant as my life flashed me by,
He had already decided my guilt.
And I had to think quick of a suitable lie,
Or suffer the law at full hilt.

I drew a sharp breath and very loudly I said,
“And who the bloody hell are you”.
And I stood holding ground, demanding instead,
Where he probably thought I’d shoot through.

Then with a swing from my aggressive manner, 
I said, “Oh I’m dreadfully sorry old chap”.
What luck that it’s you the local fish inspector,
I thought you must be the bloke who owns this trap.

© Ron Wilson


Blowfly Stew

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Blowfly Stew, Bush Poetry


The drovers cook’, conjures up all sorts of strange imagery and is linked to bush culture in just as many strange and imaginary ways. The light that drovers, and campers of all types, become accustomed to eating by, can sometimes call into question the exact origin of the meal.

Bush poetry by Ronnie Wilson

Back in Eighty-nine, when I was seventeen,
I had drifted to the outback for a look
And had found some brief employment with a local droving team,
My official title was the drovers cook

I had joined up with the team about ten miles west of Bourke,
On a ‘forty degree’ stinking summer day.
It was just three hours till tea-time and the men were still at work,
So I got stuck into cooking straight away.

The provisions were transported in an old worn out camper,
Which had already been stocked up by the crew.
They’d included the ingredients for about six tons of damper,
And about twenty-six tons of mutton stew.

It was the favourite and only meal they ever ate
‘Mutton stew’ for breakfast, lunch and tea,
So I thought on my first night that I’d serve them up a plate,
Of something new, created just by me.

But potato, onion, mutton and flour is all that I could find,
In the caravan which acted as a store.
Until I found some sweetened raisins hidden in behind,
A salt bag dated nineteen thirty-four.

I cooked them up a standard stew from an old bush recipe,
And then I threw my secret ingredients in.
With the extra raisin flavour it seemed tastier to me,
So I couldn’t wait for dinner to begin.

Id imagined these old drovers to be as tough as rusty wire,
And when they came in that was how they looked.
And one by one they each took a place around the fire,
To dig in to the feed that I had cooked.

The warm glow of the campfire was the only light about,
As I served up this new stew to my new mates.
So I was surprised to see them all pick the raisins out,
And push them to the edges of their plates.

As I cleaned up the dishes at the end of the night,
I saw every single raisin segregated.
They’d left every one behind in that campfire half-light,
And left my ego irreparably deflated.

The boss called me aside, so to whisper in my ear
And in a friendly way he told me what to do,
‘You have to leave the lid on, when you cook ‘round ‘ere,
Then you don’t get so many blowies in the stew!’

© Ronnie Wilson


Dances with Roo’s

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bush Poetry, Dances With Roo's


In case you don’t already know, our national symbol, the kangaroo, is one of the most dangerous creatures, at close range, in the outback. They will happily punch and scratch you with the front legs, but their secret weapon is to hold you with the front legs, lean back on their tail, and rake you with their powerful, and clawed, hind legs. There has been many a larrikin jackeroo, taught a lesson in bush blueing from either a kangaroo or emu.

Bush poetry by Ronnie Wilson

Stuey and Bluey were two cocky’s sons,
From a property west of the river at Bourke.
They were big and strong, and if you did the sums,
There was a couple of brick “out-houses” at work.

One day these two lads on their way back from town,
Hit a roo, which had jumped the wrong way.
And after the impact the Ute suddenly slowed down,
And it looked like it had decided to stay.

With the Ute hissing steam they surveyed the sad scene,
With roo fur and blood marking the trail.
And at the end of the carnage the corpse could be seen,
And Bluey thought of soup…. With “kangaroo tail”.

But Stue’y had other plans for the marsupial red,
He said why don’t we dress him in top hat and tails.
They had just bought the gear cause their sister soon wed,
And they even had the dress and the veils.

So with Stue’y all radiant in a majestic white gown,
And the seven-foot red, groom propped up beside.
Bluey acting as priest then married them down,
Then he photographed the roo and his bride.

Bluey then ran to the Ute and tuned the radio in
To a station playing some sort of a slow dance.
And there on the tarmac in tune to the din,
The red roo and his bride spun in romance.

Then a bus full of Jap tourists stopped for the sport,
And the flashing of their cameras was blinding.
And Bluey explained though the engagement was short,
The marriage remained legal and binding.

Then caught in wedded bliss Stue’y went for a hairy kiss,
But instead was caught by surprise by the roo.
He’d been unconscious not dead and wanted no part of this,
So he proceeded to throw punches at Stue.

Well the tempo picked up with both partners awake,
And Stue’y in high heels missed his shoes.
But he held on with fright cause his life was at stake,
This must surely be “Dances with Roo’s”.

Waltzing cheek to cheek like a love struck pair,
With the radio blaring to their movement.
The roo’s powerful back leg’s kept raking the air,
And Stuey knew to let go meant disembowelment.

After two solid hours of swirling and prancing,
Stue’y desperately let out with a stammer.
I cant stand much more of this Roo’s dirty dancing,
Try and hit him on the head with a hammer.

So as the couple hopped and bopped about the place,
Bluey stalked them with his nine pounder.
Then he swung and he missed and hit Stue in the face,
Much to the relief of the top-hatted bounder.

Stue’y dropped like a stone from the force of the blow,
And the roo was quick to shoot through.
And the Japanese tourists applauded the show,
Then past round the hat for poor old Stue.

Now this tale is renown round the district of Bourke,
And that tux wearing roo has entered folklore.
And Stuey never leaves home just preferring to work,
Cause the local girls know that “he’s spoke for”.

© Ron Wilson



March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bush Poetry, Rooted

Available soon


Bourke Time

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bourke Time, Bush Poetry


I’m sure all country towns have there own concept of correct time. The further west you head the more the ‘real time’ turns into ‘when it happens’. This poem was written for a presentation to the Prime Minister in January Two Thousand, just five months before the Government launch their controversial new tax agenda.

Bush poetry by Andrew Hull

The minute the P M’s plane stopped at Bourke,
Our public relations team went to work.
Helping him down without any slip,
Inquiring whether he’d had a good trip,
And wasn’t feeling a touch of jet lag,
As they organised someone to carry his bag.
The P.M. instantly summed up the scene,
He was in the hands of a well-oiled machine,
So he asked if they would mind if he,
Could peruse tomorrow’s itinerary.

With a nervous glance from side to side,
The public relations team guessed,
That what he asked could not be denied,
And to tell him the truth would be best.
So with an embarrassed cough they tried,
To grant his humble request.

(They said) “A prominent businessman wishes to talk,
If he could join your six o’clock walk,
The trouble with this Mr Howard you see,
Is we’re not sure when six o’clock will be.”
You have a meeting at nine with the mayor
Although it’s unlikely that he will be there,
But the deputy mayor will meet you at three
Which could occur around morning tea.
And the chamber of commerce is booked in for five
Though it’s doubtful any of them will arrive”.

The Prime Minister said not a word,
He wasn’t quite sure what to do.
He didn’t know if what he’d just heard
Was a joke or if it was true.
This public relations team was absurd,
And their timetable was too.

“The problem”, they said, sensing his concern,
“Is this new time zone we’re trying to learn.
Every thing out here seems to work fine
If you only understand Bourke Time”.
“But Bourke Time is open to all sorts of tricks,
For example the milk is delivered around six.”
“So the logic they use out here in their sums
Is it must be six when the milk comes.
But depending on how fast the milkman drives
It could be ten before it arrives”.

The Prime Minister nodded his head
He was a shrewd sort of bloke,
He didn’t believe a word they’d said
But he’d go along with the joke.
It was their way in the bush, he’d read
‘Not to fix it if it ain’t broke’

“The deputy mayor,” said the public relations
“Knows all the Bourke Time machinations.
His doctor has told him no coffee ‘til three
Though he usually has one for morning tea
So now if he’s thirsty at nine or ten
He declares that in Bourke time, it’s three o’clock then.
The Chamber of Commerce can only survive
If they all agree to shut shop at five,
But if at that time there are shoppers in sight
Then the clock won’t strike five till half-way through the night”.

The P.M. cast a propitious eye
Over the public relations band.
He concluded now that this was no lie,
And this was the best that things could be planned,
But he thought he knew a way to try
And still maintain the upper hand.

The official dinner was at eight on the dot.
He said “If the time now is seven o’clock,
And two beers take half an hour to drink
It’ll be half past seven when I’m finished, I think.
That should give me time to settle in well,
So I’ll have a few beers at a local hotel”.
And when two beers turned into seven or eight,
He knew in Bourke time that he couldn’t be late.
So when they closed the pub at eleven,
He declared that it must now be half past seven.

Although his head was not so clear
When he finally sat down to dine.
He told his staff that he had an idea
To help get the new tax system on line,
And for the following financial year
Australia would get to know Bourke Time.

“The answer was always out here at Bourke
I think we really can make this thing work.
We’ll make an announcement in the press
That all the issues have been addressed
And we can now publicly guarantee
That the new tax system will work perfectly.
Right from day one, there won’t be a hitch,
There’ll be no transitional hiccup or glitch
And we promise the new system will be sublime
From the first of July, year two thousand – Bourke Time.”

© Andrew Hull


Gold Plated Trouble

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bush Poetry, Gold Plated Trouble


Drilling is a very expensive operation, with equipment, labour and expertise running into thousands of dollars per hour. The men in charge of these operations take protocol very seriously, they have to. The labour on the other hand, often contains a fairly large element of ‘larrikin’, which can cause further problems for management.

Bush poetry by Ronnie Wilson

“Jack the Rigger” worked on a western drilling rig,
Where the climate is hotter than hell.
And him and his mates are as tough as they’re big,
Burnt brown and sweat stained as well.

The land all around is scorched red from the sun,
Anything metal will burn at the touch.
The life of a driller doesn’t include a lot of fun,
And the temperature at night doesn’t drop much.

They work on a round platform, five meters across,
In the centre runs the diamond tipped drill.
And if any metal, down the drill hole, get lost,
The whole bloody job comes to a standstill.

The down time for retrieval could take up to a week,
To the tune of a million a day.
And the foreman’s temper would scream to a peak,
And the men knew to keep out of his way.

One day jack tripped and he fell with a slammer,
As his feet got caught on a stray pole.
And clanging across the deck skidded his trusty hammer,
Which first teetered then dropped down the hole.

The foreman in rage bought the whole job to a halt,
And a man was sent to fetch the magnetic mole.
And Jack declared to the foreman, he alone was at fault,
It was his hammer that fell down the hole.

The boss snarled back “you’ll keep for now Jack”,
But you better get out of my site.
And to make up for your slip you’d better not slack,
‘Cause my barks not as bad as my bite.

It took ten grueling days of sweat, tears and blood.
With Jack the hardest working man there.
And he did back to back shifts in the dust and the mud.
Till his hammer was pulled from its lair.

With the driller’s back drilling, life went on once again,
And Jacks folly in time was forgotten.
But the foreman still cracked at the slightest strain,
And he still treated Jack really rotten.

After a month of abuse the foreman called a parade,
And he lined up the whole of his crew.
He said I’ve been waiting to put an end to the charade,
And now Jack will finally get what he’s due.

He pulled from his pocket a hammer plated with gold,
From the other came Jacks severance pay.
He said, now Jack, you can “consider yourself told”,
You can finish at the end of the day.

Jack received his gold hammer and he let out a slow hiss,
His eyes were as black as pure coal.
And he said “where I’m going I’ll have no use for this”,
As he tossed that gold hammer right back down the hole.

Ron Wilson


Edward When You Go

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bush Poetry, Edward When You Go


This poem was written for the retiring manager of a large pastoral company, an Englishman, who is returning home after a number of well loved years in the bush

Bush poetry by Andrew Hull

Its time for Bourke to say good-bye to Chairman, Boss & Friend,
All our pleas for him to stay have been declined.
And returning to an old home, brings an era to an end,
But I wonder are you leaving home behind?

The dust has barely settled on the roads out West of Bourke,
Through the properties that you have come to know.
This country has been more to you than just a place of work,
What part will you take with you when you go?

Will you take the Toorale homestead, as a token of the place?
Though the Mansion is now rotted and decayed,
It’s a symbol to remind you of the challenges you faced,
On journey to the Empire that you made.

The back bar at the Port of Bourke still echoes with the laughter,
And the embers of the fire are still aglow.
The long nights there will fondly be remembered ever after,
Will you take that part with you when you go?

Will those beers and conversations with the locals in town,
Return to you those chilly English nights.
When perhaps your education and position let you down,
And a dose of old bush lore will put you right.

The memories of Mundawa are bound to bring a smile,
When you call back the places that you know.
Is it hard to leave that place that you have loved for such a while? 
Will you take that part with you when you go?

I can imagine all the laughs and smiles upon those English faces,
When you tell them of the long and dusty trails.
The smell and noise and atmosphere that go with the Louth races,
On the claypans, in the West of New South Wales.

Tell them of the winter afternoons of Rugby in the west,
Put all the Bourke Rams victories on show.
Will you revel in the memory of how your boys stood the test,
Will you take that part with you when you go?

To you a lengthy yarn with a wealthy station Boss,
Or a beer with his men are just the same.
For you have the understanding to assimilate across,
Those petty boundaries, such as rank and name.

You’re the closest thing that Bourke will get to real nobility,
SIR Edward is the title that you earn.
For making normal people special is your true ability,
And will hold you in good stead for your return.

So you take all those other memories, anything you care to name,
All the favourite Bush places that you know.
Edward Scott will soon return to the Country whence he came,
But SIR Edward will live on here when you go.

©Andrew Hull


The Old Soldier

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bush Poetry, The Old Soldier


You won’t have any trouble believing that this poem was written about someone close. It remains an issue close to Ron’s heart that a man (like thousands of others) gave his youth for this country, only to be a misunderstood in their old age. The war was hard enough to fight at the age of nineteen, let alone in their seventies. I have seen this poem recited to an Anzac day audience of over three hundred and there was not a dry eye to be found.

Bush poetry by Ronnie Wilson

It’s Tuesday the Third of March, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Eight,
An old soldier died this morning, fifty-three years too late.
And the nurses in the nursing home hated to be near him,
‘Cause he’d spit and curse and fume, and cause a mighty din.
And the doctors were glad to see him go, he was dangerous in their eyes,
He’d knocked one out with a single blow, and he was twice his size.
And when he’d snarled at visitors, and spooked the other old folks,
They took away his privileges, his magazines and his smokes.
And they lectured him on manners, and called him a disgrace,
When at night he woke from screaming, lathered in sweat, pale faced.

An old soldier died this morning, fifty three years too late,
But the nursing home’s not mourning, for the latest turn of fate.
And the doctor chatting to the pretty nurse, has something else in mind,
Cause soon he’ll be on the golf course, with others of his kind.
And from cross the road, the wind will bring the sound of children’s laughter,
And in the tree’s the birds will sing, and will forever after.
The day goes on and before very long, the passing might never have been,
No lasting sorrow nor mournful song, for nasty old men it seems.
So go and put him in the ground and mind you bury him deep,
That way we won’t hear the sound, of him screaming in his sleep.

An old soldier died this morning, fifty three years too late,
With no regrets in going, nor pity at his fate.
But what cruel trick life gave him, and who designed the law,
That would slip his mind back in time, and make him relive the war.
Back to the tropical jungles, with sweat and mud and rain,
Back to the yellow terror he visits again and again.
Where the very land around him is trying to kill him as well,
With the crocs and snakes and malaria he lives in living hell.
It’s no wonder he was cranky in his final golden years,
When he heard the screams of the dying in his nightly sleeping ears.

An old soldier died this morning, fifty three years too late,
His mind went back to war in ninety-seven and ninety-eight.
And the sight of the gardener pruning in bushes on bended knee,
Was to him the enemy sneaking, as plain as plain could be.
And when the Docs came to get him he caused such trouble and strife,
But little did they realise he was fighting for his life.
And so he suffered daily at the hands of a hidden foe,
Hunted and haunted nightly by fears we’ll never know.
Why now so many years later should he fight all over again?
When surely he has already fought, more than most other men.

An old soldier died this morning, fifty three years too late,
He spent three years in Changi, Weary Dunlop was his mate.
And the Burma Rail was built with blood of men that he called mates,
And all of those men and most of his sight was lost behind Changi’s gates.
And though he lived over fifty years past the end of that terrible place,
That a part of him had died there was written on his face.
And fifty years of silence had its own nasty price,
Because in one single lifetime he had to live it twice.
Rest in Peace now old soldier you have deserved it yet,
And may the rest of us remember, Lest We Forget.

© Ron Wilson


My Expensive Education

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bush Poetry, My Expensive Education

Bush Poetry by Andrew Hull

He was making a lot of noise ,
In the bar of the hotel Federation..
He was telling every one,
About his fancy education.

He had diplomas and degrees,
From business to guitar strumming.
But the most useful lesson he had learnt,
Was how to spot a sucker coming.

He then produced some fancy papers,
Just to prove that he was smart.
They said that he was a genius,
And a patron of the arts.

But (he said) all his education,
Hadn’t helped him for a day.
Like the ability to spot a sucker,
From a mile away.

And I must say I was jealous,
Because I’d never been to school.
And almost everyone in town,
Considered me a fool.

But this bloke came right up to me,
And he said I looked deflated.
He could tell straight away,
I’d never been educated.

When he asked if we could talk alone,
I was a little apprehensive.
But he was only explaining,
How an education was expensive.

And he said he felt sorry for me,
In my brainless situation.
And he said that for a small price,
I could have his education.

It was the chance I had been dreaming of,
I couldn’t believe my luck.
So I bought his education off him
For seven thousand bucks.

So now I’ve got all his brains,
And all he’s got today, 
Is the ability to spot a sucker,
From a mile away.

© Andrew Hull


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