POLING IN THE DRY
Lyrics and Music: Harry Robertson
And it’s thirty bob a week me lads to chop the mulga down,
To cut the poles and dig the holes from sun-up ’til sun-down,
Charlie Todd has got us moving and there ain’t no turning back,
So string the wire me laddie-oh, and tighten up the slack.
For it’s north me lads keep moving axe or shovel in yer hand,
Through saltbush, scrub and gibber and a world o’ desert sand,
Knocking skin from off your knuckles throbbing blisters on your feet,
As we bust a gut to build a line, in the scorching desert heat.
Oh it’s lonely in the donga with the city far behind,
And we seldom wash in water for it’s bloody hard to find
With the blowflies growing maggots on yer sweaty flannel shirt,
And you rest your weary bones at night, on the freezing desert dirt.
Roll your swag up, day is dawning, drink a pannikin o’ brew,
Eat the weevils in yer damper with yer plate o’ Irish stew,
For the bullock teams are coming and they’ll reach our camp today,
With a wagon load of poles they cut, five hundred miles away.
We are pioneers, me buckos, we’re the men to build the line,
End Australia’s isolation in the stipulated time,
But until the Morse key’s tapping with the first word that they send,
We’ll ask ourselves each morning, “Won’t it ever bloody end?”.
© Harry Robertson,
and subsequently ©1995 Mrs Rita Robertson, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
Registered with APRA/AMCOS www.apra-amcos.com.au