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Land of Forests Fleas and Flies next


LAND OF FORESTS FLEAS AND FLIES

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There the matter appears to have rested. Perhaps the clipping of Deuchar’s wings also trimmed the feathers of the poetic flights of others.

Alleged False Pretences. A Partnership Dispute
At the City Police Court yesterday, before Mr. A.S. Roe, P.M., Allan Deuchar was charged by Ebenezer Allen with obtaining from him £400 by falsely representing that the profits in his business exceeded the actual amount, Mr. Clydesdale appeared for the prosecutor, and Mr. Ewing for the defendant.
17 July1900, The West Australian

By 1902 the feathers had grown again. The Southern Cross Times of 8 February, 1902:-

PERIGRINATIONS
by “The Nomad”
Here, land o’dust, and thirsty sots,
From dead goat end to railway plots,
If there’s a hole in yer coats
I rede you tent it:
A chiels amang you taking notes
The TIMES will prent it.

Then a distant echo in The Sun of 11 September, 1904:-
IN MEMORIUM
News item: Hine’s Hill refreshment rooms recently burned down, will, in view of the putting on of dining cars, in all probability not be rebuilt.

Farewell, O, tinned dog, fare thee well;
Farewell, O, half-cold coffee,
Farewell, the meal you used to sell,
To swaggie or to toffie,
Farewell unto the ancient snack,
The tea and sandwich hurried,
Farewell to that mysterious tack,
 Scrub-mutton, hashed and curried,
Farewell to that pyjamaed horde
Who early in the morning
Foregathered at the “festive board,”
With mouths agape and yawning,
Farewell the mob’s impatient cry,
Farewell the answer shirty,
Farewell the good old possum pie,
Farewell the “hot-and-dirty,”
Farewell the cutlery superb,
The cloth and napkins “snowy!”
Farewell the adjective and verb,
At puddings dark and doughy.
Farewell the dogs who snarled for bones,
Farewell their flealets frisky,
Farewell the guard’s stentorian tones,
 And O! farewell the whisky!

The scene changes, a new act begins. The Sunday Times of 3 December, 1905. This was rediscovered by The Northern Times of 28 October, 1911 – “one of the North-West’s first locally made poems” and The Hedland Advocate of 4 November, 1911 with the comments from the latter

NOR’-STRALIA
Described in Quatrains
A Broome man brought this shriek along. He said it was published in the Dampier Despatch (alias “Dampier Despair”) on September 16:-
 
Land of outcasts, fleas and flies,
Ruined health and blighted eyes;
Art thou hell in earth’s disguise?
Nor’-stralia.
Wert thou once the promised land,
Where Adam broke God’s own command,
That he in wrath turned thee to sand?
Nor’stralia.
Or art thou some volcanic blast,
By e’en volcanoes spurned, outcast,
Art still unfinished, made the last?
Nor’stralia.
Land of chain-gangs, poor paid clerks,
Nest of sneiders, pearling sharks,
Dried up lakes, and desert parks.
Nor’-stralia.
Land of murderers, colored mobs,
Willy willy wrecks and cock-eye-bobs,
Land of gamblers, arrant snobs.
Nor’stralia.
Land of humpies, so-called inns,
Wicked men and faithless gins:
Land of blackest, grievous sins.
Nor’stralia.
Where pearls are stolen every day,
Where wrong is right the gamblers say,
Beyond redemption! who’ll say nay?
Nor’stralia.

The following was written by a resident of Broome and published in the Dampier Despatch (a typewritten sheet) about eight years ago. The author is dead. The Proprietor of the Despatch lost 12 of his 16 subscribers through publishing the above, and we are given to understand that Green refused to publish it for fear of a somewhat similar fate.

NORSTRALIA
An angry Carnarvon poet, after reading the verses on Norstralia in last week’s issue, strode belligerently into our office, and seizing our ink and several envelopes, relieved himself of the following:-
 
Land of brave men, intent to rise
To nationhood. This goal their eyes
Constraining; swerving not for lies –
Norstralia.
Still thou art the promised land
For old world slaves. Jah’s command
Provides for fruit from all thy land –
Norstralia.
If Volcan built in ages past,
Or later; whether first or last,
O’ershadows not thy future vast
Norstralia.
Land of free and smiling homes,
Bark-roofed, bough, or gilded domes
Is thy guerdon. Poetaster!
Thy dread list of black disaster
Nathless. Shivering pessimist,
Liar also; wits moonkissed
Thine must be. Australind stands clean
Despite thy vapour; charges mean
And filthy, such as dragged to light
By thee from their own native night
Or colored by thy “snobs and gins,”
Associates fit for thine own sins –
Avail not. Liar, cur and friend
Of liars! I for one make end
And pray – Relief from thee God send
To fair
Norstralia.
 
4 November, 1911. The Northern Times.
This was reprinted the next week with corrections, “on account of two errors that escaped notice, due, of course, to the scribes calligraphy. “The Kalgoorlie Miner and Argus finally discovered the original Norstralia and printed it in January and February, 1914. Now (23 October, 1919. The Western Mail) the imitations became spread out:-

I had a visit a few days ago from a gaunt and unhappy-looking party with a grievance. He told me he had lived all his life in Western Australia, was a servant of the State and in receipt of a salary which any self-respecting member of the Industrial Union of Amalgamated Navvies would reject with gaudily-trimmed scorn. He handed me about five feet of verse, which he said, embodied in tuneful measure, his opinions about the West and some of its most prominent citizens. I quote the only verses that are quite free from doubly distilled essence of libel.
 
“Hail, West Australia! blessed clime,
The lovely land of my adoption,
I never would have seen the spot,
If I had had the slightest option.
Hail, glorious gums of mighty height!
Whose heads the very skies pervade.
Whose tops and trunks yield vast supplies,
But not a particle of shade.
Hail, West Australia, once more hail!
That man indeed is surely rash,
Who cannot live content in thee,
Or wants for anything – but cash.”
and of course war propaganda never goes astray:-
The Hun, who is obliged, to be responsible for the following lines, will probably become a professor in a German university. He has all the qualifications. The “howling” dingo is a picturesquely Prussian touch.

THE DEPORTED HUN’S FAREWLL TO AUSTRALIA
Australia, thou art a land of pests,
For fleas, flies and bugs one never rests,
E’en now mosquitoes round me revel,
In fact they are the very devil.
Sandflies and hornets just as bad,
They nearly drive a fellow mad.
Parched up deserts, thirsty plains,
Parched deserts, scanty rains,
There’s rivers where you can’t sail ships on,
There’s nigger women without shifts on.
There’s humpies, huts, and wooden houses,
There’s nigger men who don’t wear trousers.
There’s barcoo rot and sandy blight,
There’s dingoes howling all the night?
There’s curlews, quails, and croaking frogs,
There’s savage blacks and native dogs.
There’s scentless flowers and stinging trees,
There’s poisonous grass and darling peas
Which drive the cattle raving mad.
Make sheep and horses just as bad,
And then it never rains in reason,
There’s drought one year, and floods next season.
Which sweep the squatters’ sheep away,
And then there is Old Nick to pay.
To stay in thee, oh! land of mutton,
I would not give a single button.
To Germany I’ve got a passage
And soon will have sauer-kraut and sausage.
24 December, 1919. The Western Mail

or social comment:-
Nomadic Niggers. A Katanning Komplaint. Dogs, Gins, Fleas, And Flies
It may, or may not, be generally known that there is a native settlement at Carrolup, handy to Katanning. Quite obviously it is not a complete success, and the Southern Districts Advocate (Katanning) has no hesitation in saying it is a failure. The Advocate claims to be quite calm and restrained on the subject. If that is so, and the paper carries out its threat to really “let itself go” later on, well then there will be something doing. The Advocate writes under the heading of

THE NOMADIC NIGGER NUISANCE
Frowsy kids and filthy rags,
Well-picked bones and tattered bags,
Dirty bucks and greasy gins,
Broken bottles and empty tins,
Lousy camps and mangy dogs,
With swarms of flies and smold’ring logs.
And there you have it. The above few lines were suggested yesterday afternoon, when we made it our business to take a walk across the commonage at the south end of the town. We had noticed for some time past that quite a tribe of niggers had been meandering about the streets and not far from our humble habitat the air for many evenings had been pierced by the yells of piccaninnies, and sometimes by, as we afterwards learned, the weird wailings of disobedient gins, who were being given a gentle lesson in domestic felicity.

8 October, 1921.The Truth

COCKIES’ FAREWELL TO YILGARN
by ‘Boomerang’
(Dedicated to Inspector Buttfield)
Oh Yilgarn, thou art a land of pests,
From dust and flies one never rests;
E’en now mosquitoes about me revel,
And dingoes play the very devil.
 
There’s farms up here that are not tres bon,
Gristling wheat lands with no wheat on;
There’s humpies, huts and tin-can houses,
There’ll soon be cockies minus trousers.
 
Parched up paddocks, scanty rains,
Hell fire dust storms, scrubby plains;
Goannas, snakes and shrewd brer rabbit,
All make this cocky slick to swag it.
 
I’m leaving here before I’m starving,
Gone’s the home I thought of carving;
Cockies’ life is only bubble,
Heaps of debt and tons of trouble.
 
I will not have thee, poverty point,
I’m off to find another joint;
And bid thee now a last farewell,
Thou scorching, sunburnt land of hell.
 
25 January, 1930. The Southern Cross Times
By the end of the depression memories were getting a little hazy:-
LAND OF NICKNAMES
The Western Mail, 22 October, 1936.
Dear “Non-Com” – Some people refer to that country which lies far to the north as the Land of Lags, Swags, Dags, Nags, Fags and Waterbags, and although the several “ags” are doubtless well represented, I always like to think of it as the Land of Nicknames.

For here the nickname flourishes and few are spared. Usually it is well chosen and gives an idea of the owner’s habits or characteristics. ‘Stirrup Iron’, Wubin.

15 December, 1938. The Western Mail
Could any of the team oblige me with the words of a poem which goes like this:-
 
 Australia, thou art a land of pests,
 For fleas and flies one never rests,
 Barcoo rot and sandy blight
 And dingoes howling all the night
Then there’s another which goes:-
 
 He who runs when dingoes howl
 Should stay at home like some other fowl.
I’m not sure that they don’t both belong to the one item
‘Cheedarra’, Youanmi

FARMER’S FAREWELL?
12 January, 1939. The Western Mail.
Dear “Non-Com,” – “Cheedarra” is inquiring for the words of a poem commencing “Australia, thou art a land of pests.” I enclose one version which sounds to me like a farmer’s farewell to his farm.
 
 When crops were poor
 And prices low,
 The mortgage large
 And he had to go.
 
‘Hazeldine’, Lake Grace
The verse is as follows:-

THE BUSHMAN’S LAMENT
Australia, thou are a land of pests;
For flies and fleas, one never rests.
E’en 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 centipede,
With stinging ants of every breed.
Fever and ague, with the shakes,
Tarantulas and poisonous snakes,
Iguanas, lizards, cockatoos,
Jackaroos, dogs and kangaroos,
Bandicoots and swarms of rats,
Bulldog ants and native cats,
Stunted timber, thirsty plains,
Parched up deserts, scanty rains.
 
There’s humpies, huts and wooden houses
And nigger men who don’t wear trousers,
There’s barcoo rot, and sandy blight
There’s dingoes howling all the night,
There’s curlew’s wails and croaking frogs,
There’s savage blacks and native dogs.
There’s scentless flowers and stinging trees,
There’s poisonous grass and buzzing bees,
Which drive the cattle raving mad,
Make sheep and horses just as bad,
And then, it never rains, in reason,
There’s drought one year, and rain next season,
Which sweeps the squatter’s sheep away
And then there is “the devil” to pay.
To stay in thee, oh land of mutton,
I would not give a single button,
But bid thee now a long farewell,
Thou scorching, sunburnt land of hell.

LAND OF OPPORTUNITY!
The Western Mail, 9 February 1939.
Dear “Non-Com,” – I have read with interest the verses that have appeared from time to time in the Highway and Dolly Pot. Some were amusing, others enlightening – all were good reading. Here is one I’d like to add. It concerns a “t’othersider” and his impressions of this State. I do not know the author.

FAREWELL TO WESTRALIA

Land of politicians silly,
Land of dust and willy-willy.
Land of blankets, tent and billy.
Westralia.
Land of dingoes, dagos, flies,
Blighted hopes and blighted eyes,
Art thou Hell in Earth’s disguise?
Westralia.
 
I could some stories of thee tell,
What matter now? To thee farewell.
Thou dirty, sunburnt land of Hell,
Westralia.
 
RED O’SHANE, Kennedy Ranges

 

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