Five Miles From Gundagai


Five Miles From Gundagai


Was it 5 or 9 miles? My money is on 5 as Five-Mile Creek sits that many miles from the town of Gundagai. At a time when giant wooden bullock wheels often snapped on the rough, unpredictable roads it was common practise to leave your dog sitting on the bullock dray. This was a sign that the driver had gone to town for help. Some versions of this poem have the dog doing more than sitting on the tucker box.

I’m used to punching bullock teams across the hills and plains,
I’ve teamed outback this forty years, in blazing drought and rains.
I’ve lived a heap of troubles down without a blooming lie,
But I can’t forget what happened me five miles from Gundagai.

‘Twas getting dark, the team got bogged, the axle snapped in two.
I lost my matches and my pipe, oh, what was I to do.
The rain came on, ’twas bitter cold, and hungry too was I,
And the dog, he sat in the tucker box, five miles from Gundagai.

Some blokes I know has stacks of luck, no matter how they fall,
But there was I, Lord love a duck, no blessed luck at all.
I couldn’t make a pot of tea, or get my trousers dry,
And the dog sat in the tucker box, five miles from Gundagai.

I can forgive the blinking team, I can forgive the rain,
I can forgive the dark and cold and go through it again,
I can forgive my rotten luck, but hang me till I die,
I can’t forgive that plurry dog, five miles from Gundagai.