Out Back: A Message to the Mulga [poem by “Dryblower” Murphy, 1926]

[Editor: This poem by “Dryblower” Murphy was published in Dryblower’s Verses (1926).]

Out Back.

A Message to the Mulga.

We have toasted ourselves in the city
’Til only the sober remained;
With speeches both courtly and witty,
A health to the ladies we’ve drained.
But while the decanters are rattling,
To speed the New Year on its track,
Here’s luck to the boys who are battling
Out back.

From the Cross to Kurnalpi we’ve lifted
The dirt where the penny-weight gleams;
From Dunne’s up to Darlot we’ve drifted,
Bluey-up or alone with the teams;
With you have I twisted the dishes,
With you has my shammie grown slack,
So I send you a pioneer’s wishes
Out back.

Some there are who my message will read not,
The Silence has swallowed them up,
The swift-rolling years they will head not
Nor drain the convivial cup.
The womenfolk did all the weeping,
We seemed to’ve forgotten the knack,
God’s rest to the boys who are sleeping
Out back.

Edwin Greenslade Murphy, Dryblower’s Verses, Perth, W.A.: E. G. Murphy, 1926, page 23

Previously published (with some differences) in:
The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 10 January 1904, p. 4 (under the title of “A Message to the Mulga”)
Dryblower, Jarrahland Jingles: A Volume of Westralian Verse, Perth (W.A.): R.S. Sampson for Sunday Times, 1908, pages 183-184

Editor’s notes:
Cross, the = “the Cross”, in the context of Western Australia, refers to Southern Cross, a town about 370 kilometres east of Perth (in the context of New South Wales, “the Cross” refers to Kings Cross, a locality about 2 kilometres east of Sydney’s central business district)

Darlot = a mining area in Western Australia, about 120 kilometres north of Leonora

Dunne’s = Dunn’s Eight Mile, a mining area in Western Australia, in the region between Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie, named after the successful gold discoverer John George Dunn (after whom the township of Dunnsville was also named)

Kurnalpi = a mining area in Western Australia, about 80 kilometres east-north-east of Kalgoorlie

shammie = (also spelt “shammy”) a shammy bag, made from chamois leather; from the slang spelling of chamois (a soft leather made from the skin of the chamois, a goat-like animal from Europe and western Asia, or made from goat skin or sheepskin; may also refer to a cotton fabric made in imitation of chamois leather)
See: 1) David G. Falk, “Big Higgs’s reformation”, The Australasian, (Melbourne, Vic.), 10 July 1886, p. 91
2) Ethelstane Stanley, “A reminiscence of the Palmer”, Queensland Figaro and Punch, (Brisbane, Qld.), 9 March 1889, p. 393
3) “Treasures of tooloom”, The Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal, (Bathurst, NSW), 1 July 1891, p. 2

to’ve = a contraction of “to have”

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