The Corruption of a Bushman

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bush Poetry, The Corruption of a Bushman


What happens when you take a perfectly good bushman away from familiar surroundings, and introduce him to a world he has never seen? 

He was a bushy when I met him,
There’s no denying that.
From his long unshaven bushy beard
To the sweat on his bushy hat.

He came out to Bourke from the coastal scrub,
Where he’d lived in an old bush shack.
He had a Holden ute, three or four dogs,
His swag and the clothes on his back.

The paddock where he did his day’s work,
Is where he’d make his bed.
And if he managed to catch a wild pig in the night,
Then he and his dogs would get fed.

But he was happy the way his life was then,
With the campfire and the billy of tea.
And if you asked him would he live in a town,
He’d just say “nar mate, not me.”

He had no need for modern things,
He scorned the ‘townies’ life.
He swore he’d never change, and he never did,
Until one day he took a wife.

He married Debbie in by the sea
Then brought her straight back out to Bourke.
Their honeymoon night’s they slept in a swag,
And their honeymoon day’s they both worked.

But women are more sensitive,
They need more than their daily bread.
So Debbie longed for a kitchen,
And dreamt of a roof over her head.
When he finally agreed to buy her a house,
She thought it was her finest hour.
But the house that he bought her was miles from town,
With no running water or power.

They chopped wood in the winter to fight off the cold,
And their summers where hot as sin.
But I think that when the power came on,
Is when the first rot set in.

Because Ron was skeptical at first,
This electricity didn’t seem right.
And for a while, he’d make the sign of the cross
Whenever Debbie would switch on the light.

So he still wouldn’t use the kettle,
He preferred a billy of tea.
And if you asked would he live a townies life,
He’d just say “nar mate, not me.”

But it gradually grew on him (as things do)
And he soon developed a reliance.
And in true bushy spirit, he was not content
‘Til he’d mastered every appliance.

Now when I say ‘every appliance’,
It was EVERY appliance he craved.
From Kettles, toasters, and Mixmaster’s,
To dishwashers and microwaves

The T.V and stereo he treasured, of course,
He worshiped his video games.
He had all extras a man could want,
And he referred to them all by name.

The bush lore began to fade from his mind,
Convenience became his new tutor.
But all this paled in comparison
When he finally discovered the computer.

He was absolutely astounded, mesmerised,
That such a small box could be so vast,
And this bushy who’d never believed in much,
Thought he’d found his one true God at last.

He had found new meaning, his life was complete,
He had his phone and his Microsoft mouse.
And with his computer and his other gadgets
He need never leave the house.

He had the T.V for news, the video for fun,
The climate was whatever he set.
The microwave meals were delicious
And he had friends on the Internet

His old mates would call for a cup of tea
He never knew they’d been.
He’d just mumble ‘“nar mate, not me.”
But his eyes never left the screen.

And that’s how he was, Lord of all he surveyed,
He was every appliances master.
‘Til one dark stormy night, he was alone in the house,
Unaware of the looming disaster.

The heating was perfect, the coffee was brewing,
As into the console he sank.
And then a wild electrical storm reached the house,
The lights died and the screen went blank.

The heater switched off, the dishwasher stopped,
The percolator refused to bubble.
Every switch that he threw, every button, all failed,
He knew he was getting in trouble.

Don’t panic, he thought, it’s just a brief lapse,
As he tried every trick that he knew.
But the darkness got thicker, and the fear gripped his throat,
Without power, what would he do?

His brain was overloading with stress,
His memory was coming in snatches,
And as he fumbled around like a child in the dark,
His hands found – a box of matches.

It took three or four goes to get one to light
But that match lit a long felt desire,
At the end of his sanity, his instincts shone through,
This bushy needed a fire.

It’s surprising how well a dishwasher burns
If you give the thing enough heat.
The toaster and kettle fired up well enough,
But lighting the fridge was a feat.

The microwave, T.V and vacuum cleaner
All found their way to the pyre.
And there was a maniacal gleam in his eye
As he threw on the washer and dryer.

He franticly gathered every appliance
And burnt them without any shame.
His half-crazed eyes never even blinked
As his computer burst into flames.

His cellular phone got the very last job,
Before it too got axed.
He called up the electricity board,
And screamed “you can all get faxed!”

And that was the end, the bushy returned,
He fired up his old ute.
He loaded the wife, the swag and the hat,
And a couple of good dogs to boot.

And he drove away from the smoldering mess
Of the monster he once used to be.
There’s just ashes there now and a single white cross
With three letters, R.I.P.

Now he’s happy again round the campfire at night,
With some mates and a billy of tea.
And when they ask could he live a townie’s life,
He just says “nar mate, not me.”


Billy Tea

February 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Billy Tea, Smokos' Snacks and Hangovers

Making Billy Tea is one of those legendary pastimes where every bushy has his own method and style and fiercely disputes the quality of any tea made by any other bushy. The main thing with billy tea is to remember that it doesn’t matter what it tastes like, you have to look real good making it. So with this being the accepted rules of billy tea making, it is no wonder we have a whole craft made up of forked sticks, jam pots tied with wire, gum leaves and bearded bushies swirling boiling water round their heads. It has become acceptable behaviour to threaten the safety of anyone foolish enough to be still standing that close to the campsite after the antics started.

What you need

  • Tea, Australian grown of course
  • Sugar as needed
  • Milk as needed
  • Water
  • “Billy Can”, make your own or buy one
  • Forked stick
  • Fire

What you do

Drag some coals out of the fire and put the billy on. When boiling, throw in a single fistful of tea for each person and then throw one in for the pot. Leave on heat for another minute then pull away from coals using the forked stick on the handle to lift.

This is where the rot sets in.

Grab billy handle with hat or other suitable insulator and swing quickly around in a full circle three times bringing it back up past your knee then back over your shoulder and so completing a full circle each time. The reason for doing this is to sink the tea leaves to the bottom of the pot so you can pour a drink without filling the cup with tea leaves.

However if you just let it sit for a minute or two and then pour carefully you still get a good cuppa without risking life and limb.

Tricks & Tips

Some people apparently use tea strainers.


Nothing like a good tin mug of billy tea to start the day, and for smoko drink with a slab of damper in the other hand.