What’s The Story

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bush Poetry, What's The Story


Henry Lawson said that ‘if you know Bourke, you know Australia.’ But you don’t have to believe him, he was a bit of a trouble starter and a drunk. (Two perfectly admirable qualities) Come and have a look for yourself.

Bush poetry by Andrew Hull

The sharpest of the media
Felt stirring’s in the breeze.
And experienced reporters,
Had a grumble of unease.

Somewhere, there was a story,
That was about to break.
The likes of which was liable,
To make the news world shake.

And as necessity,
Is the mother of invention,
Reporters began searching,
For a focus of attention.

They looked in all the usual places,
Stories tend to lurk.
Till finally a shrewd one,
Lucked upon the town of Bourke.

The Deputy Prime Minister,
Had recently been west.
But that wasn’t a big story,
A brief article at best.

Then the Prime minister himself,
Had paid a special call.
Which sounded the alarm bells,
For journo’s one and all.

But what was the story?
What was it they all knew?
In the media, anxiety,
And speculation grew.

Till it got to breaking point,
And producers went berserk.
And then the story broke,
The Queen was going to visit Bourke.

Read the next days morning news,
With monarchists and republicans,
Each offering their own views.

But why is she going to Bourke?
Asked the reporters who had nouse.
There’s no Bourke harbour bridge,
There’s no Bourke opera house.

They have no real celebrities,
And no real millionaires.
I don’t think even Tom and Nicole
Have bought a place out there.

They say it’s marvelous to hear
The poet ‘Hully” speak.
But couldn’t we just fly him,
Down to Sydney for the week?

And ‘The Bourke Two Thousand Olympics’?
No, that just doesn’t work.
Why come to Australia
Just to visit Bourke?

The answer to these questions,
Won’t be written anywhere.
You won’t see it on the news,
Or on A Current Affair.

You’ll see it on a sun-baked claypan,
On a summers day.
When ancient dust and heat shimmer,
Wash the horizon away.

And when it storms you won’t see it,
If you huddle and complain.
You will if you bare your chest,
And turn your face up to the rain

Or in an outback evening,
You can’t find in clubs and bars.
And when the fire dies,
You just try and count the stars.

And if you want your heart to soar,
Forget your cheap romance.
Watch aboriginal children,
Perform traditional dance.

And if by chance you don’t see then,
Just why the queen would come.
Then sit down by the river,
And breathe the breath of river gum.

You’ll have your answer then,
But not the words to write it down.
You don’t come to Australia to see Bourke,
It’s the other way around.

© Andrew Hull