The poems and monologues of Frank MacNamara, including his epic ‘Convict’s Tour of Hell’ are amongst the gems of Australian literature. Most have travelled long bush roads and stood the test of time. His repertoire includes a swag of bush yarns, ballads, drinking toasts, city ditties and, of course, Australia’s classic bush poetry. The next part of the revival came with the increasing attendance at the burgeoning folk and country festivals, and in particular the large crowds who gathered for what had been dubbed ‘Poet’s Breakfasts’ – where reciters and poets would perform their own or classic Australian poems. Warren Fahey recites ‘The Wombat’. From the bush to the busy city, On the breeze there may be a perfume That entwines every heart that knows it, And fills every empty room. It works once again its magic, With a longing for one to be Where this call alone has its birth place, In the bush where life is free. Around the time of Federation, in 1901, Australia experienced a major population shift where the bulk of the population, for the first time, now lived in the coastal cities rather than the bush. From the sky it reaches downward, The sound is felt much more than heard, From those who wing on southward, A flight of graceful birds. The call is ever present, Though it is often pushed away, Just a sound or a scent can revive it, And it's back again to stay. It has a noble history starting with our transported convicts who used poetry to tell of their misfortune, express their aspirations for freedom, and, of course, to use with humour to lighten their heavy hearts. Even when we had left the bush and moved to the city she would sit with pen and paper in hand and reminisce about the bush. The funny Australian poems are no doubt, a real treat for all those people who want to make smile on their face just by reading such poems. From the softly sighing forests, Across the blazing desert sand, The call of the bushland is reaching, With eager, beckoning hands. In 2005 Graham Seal and myself edited the original A B Paterson collection of this remarkable work, originally published by Angus & Robertson in 1905. He has been honoured with the Order of Australia, Advance Australia Medal, and Centenary Medal and, in 2004, the CMAA Tamworth Golden Gumleaf Award for ‘Lifetime Achievement in Promoting The Bush Ballad’. These are rip-roaring stories that tell us so much about our Australian identity. The discovery of gold in 1851 saw Australia’s population jump from around 400,000 to 1,250,000 in a decade. In selecting the poems in this collection I have tried to offer a book of ‘classic’ works that tell our story, or some of them. This Pub Poem is all about the Family Hotel in Tibooburra, the publican at the time Mother wrote this poem was a man named Barney. The funny work of Australian people is also very famous all over the globe and it includes all genres as well. He has performed in front of Kings, Presidents, Governor Generals, State Governors, Prime Ministers, and for blokes drinking tinnies on the edge of the Simpson Desert. Bush poetry is in good shape and I hope this collection of Classic Bush Poems travels far into the 21st century. The bushmen also wrote and recited poems about their own lives – stories about dogs, dags, cantankerous sheep, trusty horses, crook tucker and the refreshing billies of tea that so revived their drooping bodies and spirits. Slowly the bush poetry tradition, alongside the singing and playing of bush songs, made a re-appearance at what were called ‘folk festivals’ and country music gatherings. It was also with those men and women ‘on the track’ as they humped their swags making track for the next town, and possibly next job. I tell ya, I don't care. Here our concern is with funny Australian poems. We can see lots of jokes, funny quotes, funny facts and funny poems as well in Australian literature work. Poetry is certainly one of the strongest branches of the bush tradition. Poetry had no place on radio and all seemed doomed. The same thing happened in WW2 and to some extent in Vietnam and later military involvements. I can’t but think of that poignant line in A. For some strange reason, explained here after decades of poking and prodding, the mystery of why wombats have square turds is revealed by an anonymous poet. and it's an adornment I don't much like. Even bush folk abandoned their regular ‘get togethers’ to tune into their favourite radio quizzes, serials and music programs. Gold also sent the colonies bouncing and poetry was there to tell the stories of hopeful diggers, officious troopers, miners striking it rich and the desperate misery of failure. Despite the fact we were changing from a nation of people who used to entertain each other, to a nation who ‘got entertained’, reciters, and I refer here to the published collections of poetry rather than the people who recite poems, continued to be popular in Australia. google_ad_client="ca-pub-7850982377150993";google_ad_slot="2856710216";google_ad_width=300;google_ad_height=250; Return from Australian Bush Poetry to Australian-Information-Stories home page. Reading a poem about an old sheep dog, stubborn longhorn, or high-riding drover, immediately transported these soldiers from the front line to the back paddock. There were many new recreational options including shopping, parklands and beaches, sport, music hall, vaudeville, special exhibitions, and silent film theatres. google_ad_client="ca-pub-7850982377150993";google_ad_slot="6488545438";google_ad_width=336;google_ad_height=280; We'd see her with pen and paper in hand writing away all the time, it just became a part of our lives and I thought for years that all mums wrote poetry and told stories and sang songs to their kids. There’s a popular song from 1979 called ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ however it could be said that ‘radio killed the reciter’ as the spirit of much traditional entertainment disappeared with the increasing popularity of the wireless. These later poems come in all shapes and sizes and although we are still riding with the ‘man from the Snowy River’, still staring at the ‘faces in the street’, and looking out the window ‘like Clancy’, we are also reciting about lovesick bulls, stockmen riding motorbikes and bushmen riding to the ‘big smoke’ – in 4WDs. These newer poems are proof that the interest in bush poetry is more than a nostalgic look back to ‘the good old days’, and also proof that we have not succumbed completely to the passive seat by the television and internet screen. Magazines like ‘The Sydney Gazette’, ‘The Monitor’, ‘Sydney Punch’ and ‘Sydney Herald’ all carried poetry of this style. 4. Poetry also travelled ‘up country’ to the ‘outback’ where it was recited ‘back of Bourke’, scribbled on the ‘black stump’ and sent to the local ‘one horse town’ newspaper, where it was duly published as ‘original verse’. My cigarette smoke lines the roof of the shed, My crumpled akubra near swallows my head, All I am is my stories, the smoke that you see, And the piles of ash on the floor. Warren Fahey recites ‘The Dog’s Meeting’ and thereby solves another age-old mystery: why dog’s delight in sniffing each others posteriors. We would ask our mum to recite different poems to us when we'd all sit around inside at nights before we went to bed; no TV in the bush back in those days! The Average Australian "I Don't Care" Dear Mum And Dad Old Mate And His Horse You're The Teacher The Truth About (some) Men The Challenger Writing Rhymes Ploocrosse The Dunny Dunnie Done Television Eats Kids Speaking In Bush What Game Lambs Grow Up Thanks Yowah Writing A Novel The Bladder Song . However, it does not mean that all this literature work is of serious nature. There were poems that gave welcome ‘news’ of wealth and success and poems that related what must have sounded hysterically funny: describing the ‘arrival of the new chum’ dressed in England’s finest, including a top hat, plum in mouth, ready to meet the sheep and cattle. The advent of television in 1956 appeared to hammer the last nail into bush poetry’s coffin. It reaches out from a darkened sky, Through the softest moonlit glow, On a land that hushed and sleeping, Beneath a mantle of whitest snow. A whisker has appeared upon my chin. Here was a ‘bush bible’ of verse that spoke of our pioneering past and the role of the poet, both professional and anonymous, in capturing our emotional and poetical history. Many army kits included a battered and treasured copy of a classic bush verse collection. The legendary Min Min Light was apparently first seen about 100 years ago around Boulia in central Queensland and is a great subject for one of mums bush poems. The stories told in these poems were often heartbreaking stories familiar to most frontier societies: memories of distant home, missed loved ones, and the ever-present ache of separation. I don't mind a bit of flab. I had initially gone out to collect ‘bush songs’ for my National Library of Australia Collection, and for my own repertoire. No sheila who is your age. Entertainment continued to change dramatically, especially after the introduction of commercially priced gramophone machines and, later, radio. He has spruiked at writer’s festivals, folk festivals, poet’s breakfasts, country music festivals, and several international festivals including the Edinburgh Arts Festival, weddings, wakes, openings and closings. There's somethin' there to grab. This collection of classic bush poems celebrates the great poets of Australia’s ‘colonial golden years’ – including Henry Lawson, A B ‘Banjo’ Paterson, C J Dennis, P J Hartigan (‘John O’Brien’), G H ‘Ironbark’ Gibson, Harry ‘The Breaker’ Morant, E G ‘Dryblower’ Murphy, Joseph ‘Tom Collins’ Furphy, Will Lawson, Adam Lindsay Gordon, Will Ogilvie, John Neilson, W T Goodge, and the prolific ‘Anonymous’. Mother wrote this Cobb and Co poem after we'd been out 'fossicking' around some of the old coach stops and homesteads that were all over the bush.
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