[Editor: This untitled letter to the editor was published in The Bulletin (Sydney, NSW), 19 October 1889. It was written in reply to a letter written by “Warrigal Jack” (Joseph Furphy) which appeared in The Bulletin on 5 October 1889.]
[In reply to remarks of “Warrigal Jack” on “The Mythical Sundowner”]
Dear Bulletin, — In reply to remarks of “Warrigal Jack” on “The Mythical Sundowner,” kindly allow me to offer a short comment.
He talks of 12 men who refused 15s. a week, &c., for bushcutting, but he does not state what were the current rate of wages. Many men have refused work at 15s. per week for the simple reason that they would rather starve than lower the standard rate of wages, and their refusal is to be commended.
The London dock labourers have commanded the sympathy of the civilised world because they struck for an increase of wages, which is a different thing from resisting a reduction of wages already prevalent.
Were swagmen eager to accept any rate offered, station hands would soon be willing to take “5 bob a week and tucker.” Such a state of affairs would no doubt be pleasant for the squatters and their champion, “Warrigal Jack.”
— Yours, &c., The Big Irishman.
The Bulletin (Sydney, NSW), 19 October 1889, p. 14 (column 1)
bob = a shilling (equivalent to twelve pence); after the decimalisation of the Australian currency in 1966, the monetary equivalent of a shilling was ten cents; the phrase “a couple of bob” could specifically refer to two shillings (and, later on, to twenty cents), but it was generally a common reference to a small amount of money, as in “can you lend me a couple of bob?”
s. = a reference to a shilling, or shillings; the “s” was an abbreviation of “solidi”, e.g. as used in “L.S.D.” or “£sd” (pounds, shillings, and pence), which refers to coins used by the Romans, as per the Latin words “librae” (or “libra”), “solidi” (singular “solidus”), and “denarii” (singular “denarius”)
tucker = food
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]