Walkers ! [poem by Grant Hervey]

[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]

Walkers !

Walkers Limited, of Maryborough, completed one desirable century, the other day, when it turned out its hundredth locomotive made for the Bananaland Government.

This is a ballad of Walkers, fashioned with much applause —
While the land was burdened with Talkers, working their facile jaws ;
Weeping at loss of their nigger ; crying to south and north,
Walkers, with skill and vigour, were sending their engines forth !
While Kidston and Philp were sounding tocsins of wrath and war,
Walkers were busy pounding the steel by the furnace door.
Smiting with strong steam-hammers, toiling with lathe and drill —
Walkers, amidst the clamours, stuck to their business still

Boring the cylinders truly, forging the throws and shafts —
Hail, says the Creed raised newly — hail to the hand that grafts !
Shaping the drawbars squarely, turning the pistons true ;
Seating the slide-valves fairly — labour of brain and thew !
Engine and linked tender, taking the tracks with ease ;
Hail to the hands that render services such as these !
Hail to the smith and draftsman, raising the engines tall ;
Cheers for the faithful craftsman — cheers for the workers all !

Rivet and chuck and spanner — iron and brass and steel ;
These are the White Man’s banner, flag of the Commonweal !
Planer and vice and hammer, anvil and flaming forge —
These with their strength a-clamour have leveled the mountain-gorge !
Binding the lands together, fastening North to South ;
Dragging with steel-strong tether food for the workers’ mouth !
Helping Australia forward — yea, in the blood-red day,
Aiding the Nation war-ward, paving the Nation’s way !

This, then, a ballad of Walkers, I for Australia sing;
Not of the countless Talkers flapping a ceaseless wing !
A psalm for the craftsmen loyal, launching the engines true —
A chant for the breed right-royal, for the nameless foundry crew !
Simply an anthem votive, merely a Mateship’s call;
Hail to the Locomotive — Hail to the Builders All!
Riveters, hammerers, caulkers — workers of each degree —
I sing you this ballad of Walkers — a song in a major key.

Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 153-155

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