Mr Templestowe was a resident at the Narrabeen War Veterans Home.
In this song the word ‘nut’ refers to the game of ‘two-up’ in a particularly
Australian style – ‘nut’ is the face side of the coin whilst ‘Khyber’ refers to
the back as in ‘Khyber Pass’ ie ‘arse’. The word ‘blow’ is also distinctly
Australian and I have heard it used to describe a ‘talk session’ and also for
‘drinking’ as in ‘blowing the froth’. It is also used to describe a rest period as
in ‘a breather’.
‘When we were in France we made up songs when we had a glass of Vin
Rouge or Vin Blanc (this is where the word plonk (blanc) comes from). The
house specialty, Madame, liked us (we didn’t misbehave unless we were in
bad company!). We stuck together and the word ‘Aussie!’ ‘Anzac!’ or
‘Digger!’ brought mates from everywhere to your aid, from all battalions. We
made up a song about French beer. If you’ve ever seen rain in a cobblestone
pool where horses stand, then you will have some idea of the taste and colour
of ‘Ie bier Francaise’.
‘We also sang a ditty that went: ‘Who’ll come a-drinkin’ the vin rouge with
me?’ to the tune of ‘Waltzing Matilda’. We sang one about ‘Rolling home,
rolling home to dear old Aussie’. (Obviously a parody based on the old
sailor’s song ‘Rolling Home’.)
Australian soldiers seemingly enjoyed exaggerated ‘leg pulling’ and as this
seems to be a particularly Australian aspect of our folklore it is no surprise to
see standard bush exaggerations appearing under the one roof of a ditty.