This poem was inspired by my recent trip from Yaraka to Isisford in Western Queensland but it could be any country road out west … Continue reading
I have recently participated in a tagalong of motorhomes as we made our way to Blackall in Queensland for our Solos Rally. I started my journey to catch up with the tagalong in Melbourne on the 13th April 2019 and it finished at the Blackall Solos Rally on the 10th May travelling just under 2,500kms.
This poem is about some of our adventures along the way. Sometimes there were only a few of us and in other places the group grew to just under 100 motorhomes and campervans. You can probably imagine it was a lot of fun!
The aborigines have their Rainbow Serpent that travels across the land
And it gathers tales and legends of inland seas and sand,
And lofty mountain ranges and fertile camping places,
And they tell the stories of its way in dance and painted faces.
The Solos have their tagalong that travels across the land
And it gathers tales and legends of their happy nomad band
That met the Man from Snowy River and in Wagga Stoned the Crow
And everywhere it travels, the stories tend to grow.
I caught up with them at Wyalong out at the Poppet Head Mine
Where they started their morning with yoga, and then danced in a line.
At Bogan Weir we dressed the part in our daggiest bogan wear,
Then it was off to dusty Nakadoo and a wonderful campfire there.
The camp was split in Lightning Ridge and our growing tribe was scattered
But we made the most of the tourist sites and saw the ones that mattered.
Some of us went to the opal fields and dined at the Pub in the Scrub
While others enjoyed Mel & Suzie’s place and savoured their camp oven grub.
We camped along the Minor Ballone just out of Dirranbandi
And discovered the showers at the truck stop, and boy, did they come in handy!
The bakery was popular, with vanilla slices and pies,
The coffee was good and the jam drops were huge so we feasted with more than our eyes.
Each night we entertained ourselves with happy hour till late
Gary would often bring out his guitar, and Jean would bring us all up to date
With what was planned for tomorrow, and “Will we go to the pub for tea?”
Ad the numbers would be counted to warn the next town what they might see.
The cook at the Bollon Hotel walked out when he heard there’d be 80 or more
But the publican rallied the staff around and provided food galore,
So we all turned up in our Op Shop Glam looking so gorgeously fine
And the locals came out to gawk at us – and we drank the pub out of wine!
Well, the word got passed on the bush telegraph of this mad solo crowd on the move
So Wyandra planned a night on their town and the locals all got in the groove
They bought in food and closed the road so we put on our dancing shoes
But what the pub forgot to do was buy in more supplies of booze!
So the pub ran dry by half past five, they were out of bubbles and wine
But how could anyone get upset when they’d looked after us so fine.
Our travelling band was rolling along with Charleville our next port of call
And a fancy dinner was held in the Bush Camp and more fun was had by all.
See, we all wore our undies as ‘overs’, like Clark Kent when he becomes Superman,
And just like super heroes, raised money from an auction we ran.
On our last big night together, the sausage sizzle added some more
$500 was raised for the cancer ward, now that’s worth raising money for.
The muster begins on the weekend and our tagalong comes to an end
We’ll have one final night in Tambo, camped out at Stubby Bend
For months we have travelled together making memories and friendships to last
Thanks to Jean and her Adventure Team, this whole journey has been a blast.
Rosemary Robinson 2019
Were all doing the Aussie Salute, waving away the sticky little bush flies! They just don’t leave you alone here in Blackall.
We’ve bought every fly net available in town and they’ve had to bring in more supplies. People that swore they’d never be seen dead wearing a fly net are sporting them like the latest fashion statement.
I absolutely swear by my ‘fly ointment ‘ that I bought in Alice Springs in 2015. A little dab around the ears and the flies literally buzz off!
And the gifts for the volunteers at our rally here was this very handy little fly switch.
Everyone is doing the Aussie Salute!
Now I find out from Wikipedia that it is also called the Barcoo salute! Where are we? At Blackall on the Barcoo River! We’re in the thick of bush fly country!
Here’s my poetic comment about flies …..
Flies! The Aussie…
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I was fortunate to attend the Man From Snowy River Festival at Corryong this year. The Festival is inspired by Banjo Paterson’s poem, The Man From Snowy River and now the Festival has inspired me to write about my experience there. I’ve called it The Corryong Sound!
The Corryong Sound.
The sound of the whips as they flick and they crack,
The whinny of horses that are camped out the back,
The smoke from the campfires that light the campground
And line dancing music, it’s the Corryong sound.
The cooking of damper, each one its own taste
Some made with cheese, and others port laced.
The rain’s getting heavy and sogging the ground
And I’ve looked for a raincoat – there’s none to be found!
So it’s out with the brolly to view the events
And feel sorry for campers who are only in tents.
There’s a chill in the air, and the atmosphere’s damp
It’s not the best weather to enjoy a bush camp.
But the company’s friendly and the programme is good
And the truck comes around every day selling wood
And they’re re-enacting Jack Riley’s great ride
That chased the rogue colt down the steep mountainside
Where he ran with the brumbies, so wild and so free
But this kind of life was not meant to be
He was cut from the run and forced to the stockade
And this story was how Riley’s legend was made
Then Banjo related the story in rhyme
And the legend lives on long after the time
That the word went around that the young colt had gone
And the horsemen had gathered to chase him down.
Now each year in Corryong there’s a great celebration
Of the ride that has captured the heart of the nation.
It’s open for all, we’re all welcomed to town
And the campground’s abuzz with the Corryong sound
Of whip cracking, whinnying, country music and fun
So for four days we’ll party until the Festival’s done.
By Rosemary Robinson April 2019
Augathella, Thargomindah, Eromanga, Yaraka –
I’ve been out in Western Queensland, travelling on and off the tar.
Where everything is dry as dust, both the locals and the land,
They haven’t lost their Aussie humour, but they could do with a hand.
At Isisford and Blackall, Windorah, Quilpie, Tambo
If they can’t keep their stock alive they’ll pack up and they’ll go.
The drought is devastating as it sucks the country dry
And the wind blows off the topsoil, and the wild dogs multiply.
So they’re building dog proof fences to keep wild dogs at bay
And they’re hoping this will keep their stock alive another day.
A farmer told me recently he’d lost seven hundred sheep
And that was just one pack attack, it’s enough to make you weep.
The long paddock is well stocked with beasts grazing the stubbled ground
And stockmen and their horses and their dogs move them around,
I’m not sure where they’re taking them, there’s no relief in sight,
There’ll be many miles to cover before they rest up for the night.
Cunnamulla, Eulo, Toompine and on to Bourke
This drought’s affecting everyone, not only those the land they work.
The little towns are dying, although they’re struggling to the end,
And shops are closing one by one without a local spend.
The “nomads’ keep their hopes alive as they buy their fuel and food
Any dollar spent in town can only do some good
So on your travelling adventure to our outback Aussie land
Spend up in little country towns, it’s a way to lend a hand.
And leave a little something in the RFDS tin
Or other outback charities, it’s a chance for them to win.
Too many farms have closed their gates, they’ve just packed up and gone
Where they’ve farmed for generations is worth nothing but a song.
Longreach, Winton, Isisford, Jericho and Jundah
Aussies need to band together, stop these towns from going under.
So while we all appreciate a cloudless, clear blue sky
Think of the west that needs the rain to put an end to this long dry.
The theme was pink and purple
In the Pontville Party tent
And we dressed for the occasion,
Looking good was our intent.
We decorated tables
In purple and in pink
And played with colouring our hair
Asking friends “What do you think?”
And when we turned up for the “do”
We had our nibbles on our plates,
And we also had a drink or two
To share with all our mates.
The Baker Boys performed for us
And they played long and loud.
The dancers surged to the dance floor,
It was a happy party crowd.
I finally made my way back home
My wine bottle the worse for wear,
I danced my way through the pristine grass
I didn’t have a care!
That all changed when I reached my van
And bent to fix my solar light –
I forgot to stop when I leant down
And a dramatic face plant ended my night.
I hope no one saw me-
It was not a pretty sight –
My pride was hurt more than my head
And all because of that stupid light!
To continue the colour theme of the night
My eye is turning purple, not pink
And like Pete and Trish, Rally Managers
I’m swearing off the drink!
It was when we were camped up in Broome
Geoff took us for a drive
And he pointed to something on the road
That used to be alive.
He’d taken us to Willie Creek,
And along this sandy track
A shape lay flattened in the sand
And Geoff said “Look at that!”
Well it was thin, like a template made of tin,
And I thought it had a quite familiar look
A rounded face, a pointed ear – a second glance was all it took
To work out what this animal had been.
It was so flat, squashed on the sandy track
By tyres that travelled back and forth all day
The heat had dehydrated it, but you could tell when it was hit
That once upon a time it was a cat!
Rosemary Robinson November 2016