When the Niggers Own the Land [poem, 16 June 1931]

[Editor: An example of anti-Aboriginal sentiment, this poem criticizes what the author views as the overly-soft treatment of Aborigines in the Northern Territory. In earlier days, the word “nigger” did not have the same stigma as is attached to it in modern times, as it was often used in a context that was not derogatory towards black people (see various early publications that use the word in a non-derogatory context), although it is being used in a negative context in this instance.]

When the Niggers Own the Land

Rejoice, rejoice, my coloured brothers
For the time is coming fast
When you’ll hunt no more for tucker
As you’ve hunted in the past.
No need for you to chase goannas
Kangaroos or bandicoots;
No need to dive in chilly waters,
After water lily roots.
No more need to freeze in winter
On the deserts and the plains;
You won’t have to sleep in summer
In the driving tropic rains.
For you there will be full and plenty —
No more you’ll feel the hunger pangs;
So throw away your nulla nullas,
Woomeras, spears, and boomerangs.
No doubt you have some grand supporters:
The best I think is Doctor Cook —
Reverend Jarvis without doubt will
On your future write a book.
And the white men’s high officials
Build sea-worthy ships for you,
While they give their white-skinned brothers
Just a worn out, frail canoe.
When misfortunes seas are smashing
All the weaker vessels down,
You will safely ride at anchor
While the white men sink and drown.
And you ask me how I know that
You are on the road to wealth?
If you read the Darwin “Standard”
You will see it for yourself.
Just cast your optics down the columns
Of the “Government Gazettes,”
And you’ll see in half a minute
What every abo. drover gets.
Three quid a week for droving cattle
It’s the wonder of the age
And they will not give the white man
A chance to earn the basic wage.
True this is but a step to fortune,
But the rest is sure to come:
When you’ll swig free beer and whisky
And your nightly tot of rum.
And the day is not far distant
When an ordinance will pass
And you’ll own the cattle stations
And everything that nibbles grass.
Yes! Your lamp of hope is burning —
They keep the wicks both neat and trim —
Daily it is growing brighter,
While the white man’s light grows dim.
Even though white folks are starving
Here’s the news that some one brings
Niggers get free belly lining
At a place called Alice Springs.
If a white man asks for tucker
He gets a hard and bitter look
While they kindly feed the nigger,
In time they’ll even have a cook.
I hear the Pine Creek institution
Known as the old man’s rest,
Is given to our half-bred brothers
Half castes of the very best.
I see that in the rosy future
There’ll be no cause for you to grieve
But we’ll see white children fighting
Over scraps that abos. leave.
And now before I have concluded
Here’s advice I freely give
Starve the white men’s little children
Let the black child thrive and live.
And when at last you own Canberra,
And in your stately mansions dwell,
Give your brainy white skinned leaders
Power to send real whites to hell.
Use mission folks and high officials
Make Doctor Cook Almighty King
And you’ll own earth, hell and heaven
And the pleasures that they bring.

Maranboy. “Binghi.”

The Northern Standard (Darwin, NT), Tuesday 16 June 1931, page 310 (6th page of that issue)

Editor’s notes:
Doctor Cook = Dr. Cecil Cook, the Chief Protector of Aborigines

Reverend Jarvis = the Rev. Stanley Jarvis

State Children’s Council and half-castes’ home”, The Northern Standard (Darwin, NT), Thursday 17 April 1930, page 195 (2nd page of that issue)
Half-castes’ home”, The Northern Standard (Darwin, NT), Friday 25 April 1930, page 205 (4th page of that issue)
Rev. Stanley and Mrs. Jarvis farewelled”, The Northern Standard (Darwin, NT), Tuesday 10 February 1931, page 78 (5th page of that issue)
Care of Aborigines”, The Northern Standard (Darwin, NT), Tuesday 28 April 1931, page 215 (3rd page of that issue)

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