[Editor: This poem was published in The Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of New South Wales (Taree, NSW), 22 April 1913.]
Old Bar Telephone.
“A splendid thing,” the captain cries,
“Now I can ring up for supplies —
And if there’s half a chance of wreck
The Taree Corps shall be on deck!
“We’ll be in touch with all the world,
No Crusoe in a snail-shell curl’d
Shall dream on beaches all alone —
They’ll ring him up by telephone.
“When Melba sings in Belmore Hall
I’ll take the ‘ting! ting!’ off the wall;
Once in a way for Ma and me
We’ll have a front seat safe and free!
“The proudest sports of all the batch
Will boast by ’phone the biggest catch;
The paper offices shall know
Our latest doings down below.
“When greyhounds of the coast go past
We’ll send the city folks a blast —
With gaslight and the telephone
Old Bar at last will get her own!”
* * * * * *
“Beggar the telephone, I say,”
Quoth Towney in the shadows grey;
“I came from Taree for a blow,
A good time on the beach below!
“But Jinks and Smith and Jones and Brown
Must keep on calling from the town —
The traveller for X Y Z
Is waiting my return, they said!
“They hope I won’t let ‘us’ get beat
About the bridge —— Victoria-street ——
Because they know, or right or wrong,
The ‘other side’ is going strong!
“Then there is our electric light,
The water-works, on Bay’s Hill site —
And someone wants to reach my nerve
About the hundred feet reserve!
“They ring me up and make me stop
About the worries from the shop —
And all the talk about the turf;
O! Bosh! we’re down here in the surf —
“For fifty weeks I’m tied in town,
Two weeks I’m King without a crown;
Then let me wander on the shore
Without a ’phone for evermore.”
The Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of New South Wales (Taree, NSW), 22 April 1913, p. 6
beggar = substitute for a swear word, e.g. as a replacement for “bugger” or “damn” (may also refer to someone who asks others for money or sustenance, such person usually being poor or homeless; may also refer to someone who is annoying, pitied, or envied, e.g. “get out of there, you little beggar”, “those poor little beggars”, “you lucky beggar”)
greyhound = a fast ship, especially an ocean liner (derived from greyhounds, being a breed of dog used in dog racing)
Melba = Nellie Melba (1861-1931) an Australian opera singer
’phone = an abbreviation of “telephone”
quoth = (archaic) said
turf = a racetrack (for horse racing); the sport (or industry) of horse racing