An Australian Father Christmas [poem, 23 December 1932]

[Editor: A poem published in The Northern Argus, 23 December 1932.]

An Australian Father Christmas.

(By George White.)

I think it is a shame, and I feel we’re all to blame;
The way we copy England it’s absurd;
But the worst of all the lot is the bit of Tommy rot;
I refer to Father Christmas, ’pon my word.

In England, it’s all right, on a cold, and frosty night;
Where he drives his team of reindeer through the snow,
To be dolled up, warm and jake, like a fancy wedding cake;
He needs to when the stormy winds do blow.

In Australia it’s not so, WE haven’t any snow,
Or ice — well, not at that time of the year;
Why doll the old boy up, like an old maid’s poodle pup?
He won’t catch cold, you need have little fear.
I think it’s time we had an AUSTRALIAN Christmas Dad,
One who would be in keeping with our clime,
One of the good old sort, a real old “dinkum sport”;
Now don’t you think the idea would be prime?

Give the genial old chap a buckboard or a trap,
A four-in-hand of bounding kang aroos;
An emu for a hack, and of course a laughing Jack,
This happy bird will laugh away the “blues.”

A slouch hat, for his head, a shirt of pink or red;
A pair of moleskin trousers, and a belt,
Cool slippers for his feet, to overcome the heat,
An umbrella so he will not melt.

A load of useful toys, for the “Aussie” girls and boys,
A wireless set, for those so far away;
They all can listen in, even Jackie, and his Jin,
’Twill make the outback children, bright, and gay.
I think, without a doubt, we should cut the Holly out,
And use the Silver Wattle bough instead;

The yule log had to go, with it’s hot, and firey glow,
(A log, at Christmas, and we’d all be dead.)
Now, if you’ll agree, and battle hard with me,
Before too many Christmases have flown,
We will go for all we’re worth, and show to all the Earth,
That we have A Father Christmas of our own.

George White, Clare.

The Northern Argus (Clare, SA), 23 December 1932, p. 4

Editor’s notes:
blue = depressed, sad; to have “the blues” is to feel very down or low in spirit

buckboard = a four-wheeled horse-drawn open carriage with the seat (sometimes, more than one seat) attached to a flexible board connected between the front and rear axles on a lattice frame, instead of using a full carriage body with springs (from the term “buck” meaning body or trunk)

doll = dressing attractively; to be “dolled up” is to be dressed up very nicely, to look very smart

hack = horse; a horse for general hire; a horse used for general work purposes; a worn-out horse

Jackie = (also spelt “Jacky”) an Aboriginal man

jake = all right, fine, good, satisfactory, well, satisfactory; in good standing; used in the phrase “everything’s jake”, or similar

Jin = (usually spelt “gin”) an Aboriginal woman

laughing Jack = a kookaburra (a bird also known as a “laughing jackass” due to the sound of its call)

prime = excellent, highest quality

trap = a general term used for any two-wheeled light carriage (or cart) with springing, pulled by a single horse or pony, and designed for two passengers; however, the term is also applied to similarly-built carts which are four-wheeled and designed for four passengers; in the early years of the development of motor vehicles, motorized traps were built

Vernacular spelling in the original text:
’pon (upon)

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