A Mountain Station [poem by Banjo Paterson]

[Editor: This poem by “Banjo” Paterson was published in The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses, 1895; previously published in The Bulletin, 19 December 1891.]

A Mountain Station

I bought a run a while ago
On country rough and ridgy,
Where wallaroos and wombats grow —
The Upper Murrumbidgee.
The grass is rather scant, it’s true,
But this a fair exchange is,
The sheep can see a lovely view
By climbing up the ranges.

And ‘She-oak Flat’ ’s the station’s name,
I’m not surprised at that, sirs:
The oaks were there before I came,
And I supplied the flat, sirs.
A man would wonder how it’s done,
The stock so soon decreases —
They sometimes tumble off the run
And break themselves to pieces.

I’ve tried to make expenses meet,
But wasted all my labours;
The sheep the dingoes didn’t eat
Were stolen by the neighbours.
They stole my pears — my native pears —
Those thrice-convicted felons,
And ravished from me unawares
My crop of paddy-melons.

And sometimes under sunny skies,
Without an explanation,
The Murrumbidgee used to rise
And overflow the station.
But this was caused (as now I know)
When summer sunshine glowing
Had melted all Kiandra’s snow
And set the river going.

Then in the news, perhaps, you read:
‘Stock passings. Puckawidgee,
‘Fat cattle: Seven hundred head
‘Swept down the Murrumbidgee;
‘Their destination’s quite obscure,
‘But, somehow, there’s a notion,
‘Unless the river falls, they’re sure
‘To reach the Southern Ocean.’

So after that I’ll give it best;
No more with Fate I’ll battle.
I’ll let the river take the rest,
For those were all my cattle.
And with one comprehensive curse
I close my brief narration,
And advertise it in my verse —
‘For Sale! A Mountain Station.’

Andrew Barton Paterson. The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1896 [January 1896 reprinting of the October 1895 edition], pages 56-58

Previously published in: The Bulletin, 19 December 1891

Editor’s notes:
Kiandra = a gold mining town (incidentally, said to be the birthplace of Australian skiing), situated in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales; mining in the area ended around 1905 and Kiandra was abandoned (what remains of it is situated within the Kosciuszko National Park)

Murrumbidgee = a major river in New South Wales, a tributary of the Murray River

Puckawidgee = a town situated within the Conargo Shire, New South Wales; Puckawidgee parish is a division of Townsend county (Townsend is one of the Lands administrative divisions of NSW); Puckawidgee State Forest is located there, to the north-west of Jerilderie

wallaroos = a type of macropods which are bigger than wallabies, yet smaller than kangaroos; there are three species: the Common Wallaroo, Black Wallaroo, and the Antilopine Wallaroo

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