Farewell To Queensland



Warren Fahey recites ‘A Bushman’s Farewell to Queensland’


The Bushman’s Farewell to Queensland



I first came across this work of art in the 1960s and, because I realised no one else seemed to be reciting it, have only recently added it to my repertoire. Did bushmen really despise Bananaland so much? I doubt it. Mind you, one pearl I heard (referring to Queensland’s wet weather) offered: “I only stick to Queensland ‘cause Queensland’s always stickin’ to me.”


Queensland thou art a land of pests
From flies and fleas one never rests
Even now mosquitoes round me revel
In fact, they are the very devil,
Sandflies and hornets just as bad,
They nearly drive a fellow mad
The scorpion and the centipede
With stinging ants of every breed
Fever and ague with the shakes
Triantelope and poisonous snakes
Goannas, lizards and cockatoos
Bushrangers, lags and jackaroos
Bandicoots and swarms of rats
Bull dog ants and swarms of cats
Stunted timber, thirsty plains
Parched up deserts, scanty rains
There’s rivers here you sail ships on
There’s nigger women without shirts on
There’s humpies, huts and wooden houses
There’s men who don’t wear trousers
There’s Barcoo rot and sandy blight
There’s dingoes howling half the night
There’s curlews wails and croaking frogs
There’s savage blacks and native dogs
There’s centralists, flowers and stinging trees
There’s poisoned grass and Darling peas
Which drive the horses and cattle mad
Make the sheep, juts as bad
And then it never rains in reason
There’s droughts one year and floods next season
Which wash the squatter’s sheep away
And then there is the devil to pay
To stay in Queensland, Oh land of mutton
I would not give a single button
But bid thee now a long farewell
Thous scorching land of sunburnt hell