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The Goanna


The Goanna


One suspects that this poem was based on a true incident. Well, those goannas can certainly move and they can scoot up a drainpipe so why not a horse’s leg. Whatever the case it was a wild ride.

On the Castlereagh some years ago
We didn’t mind a buster,
And some gay old sport we used to have
When going out to muster.
It was in the month of August
Though the ground was not too damp
We saddled up and started out
To put on Brigalow Camp.

And while riding across the plain
Just in the usual manner,
All at once we came upon
An old man black goanna.
“Hullo!” cried one. “Boys, here’s a lark!
Out here he has no shelter,
We’ll down upon him with our whips
And send him helter-skelter!”

Down came the whips, he stood it well,
His hide was thick and tough,
But soon he had to do a get
The treatment proved too rough.
Then for the creek he doubled quick
And, in his headlong bolt,
The first thing he encountered
Was Kemp upon a colt.

Now up that colt’s hind legs he went
And large, sharp claws he had—
You may talk about your wild west shows:
That colt went ramping mad.
But the more he bucked and the more he squealed
They both hung on the faster;
For Kemp was a chap who bore the name
Of being a sticking-plaster.

But still he served it out in style,
The dust he fairly skied,
It was plain if something didn’t come
He’d surely shed his hide.
Now the crupper went, the breast-plate too,
The girths they burst asunder,
The surcingle, it snapped in two
And down they came like thunder.

The goanna, he was underneath
So Kemp was let off lightly,
The goanna he was fairly squashed—
We thought it served him rightly.
That was many years ago
But yet I’d bet a tenner,
That colt and Kemp have not forgot
That blooming black goanna,