The tale of a shirt: A tramp’s farewell [24 December 1902]

[Editor: A poem published in The Kalgoorlie Miner, 24 December 1902.]

The tale of a shirt.

A tramp’s farewell.

(From our own correspondent.)

Melbourne, Dec. 23.

A shirt has been found near one of the large pools at Long Bridge Gully, Victoria Plains, with messages written on the front and back. One message reads: “I, Bendigo Paul, of Victoria, aged 28, am tired of life, and have decided to take my own life. I am going to hang a stone around my neck and jump into this hole of water. These clothes I wish to be sent to the mission and given to the gin, Boolka Nan by name.”

The other side contained some verses headed, “The Tramp’s Farewell,” which read as follows:—

Good bye, land of flies and frogs,
Rotten scabs and native dogs;
Land of crows and kangaroos,
Bally snakes and jackaroos,
Lizards, ticks, and bully ants —
I am leaving you my pants,
Also shirt and few more rags,
Billy can and ration bags.
Once more, farewell, you hungry tramps,
No more will I e’er see your camps
On lonely roads or winding lanes,
Or on the hills, or on the plains.
Farewell, once more, to you all —
And this is the end of Bendigo Paul.

The pool has been dragged but without success, and in some quarters the affair is regarded as a hoax. It is thought that the author has adopted this unconventional method of getting his verses published in the Press.

The Kalgoorlie Miner (Kalgoorlie, WA), 24 December 1902, p. 7

Also published in:
The Kalgoorlie Western Argus (Kalgoorlie, WA), 30 December 1902, p. 40
The Newsletter: An Australian Paper for Australian People (Sydney, NSW), 24 January 1903, p. 5
The Evelyn Observer and Bourke East Record (Kangaroo Ground, Vic.), 13 March 1903, p. 4
The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal (Braidwood, NSW), 26 September 1903, p. 1 of the supplement

Editor’s notes:
The town of Gingin is 92 kilometres north of Perth (WA); the Shire of Victoria Plains is about 160 kilometres north of Perth.

[Editor: Corrected “Farewell once” to “Farewell, once more,” in line with the poem’s publication in The Newsletter: An Australian Paper for Australian People (24 January 1903, p. 5), The Evelyn Observer and Bourke East Record (13 March 1903, p. 4), and The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal (26 September 1903, p. 1).]

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