[Editor: A poem by “Kookaburra”. Published in The Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser and Diamond Creek Valley Advocate, 8 March 1918.]
Oh, what will they do with the Shire just now,
When they’re got no money on hand,
And it’s no use milking Victoria’s cow,
For she’s dry, as you’ll understand.
Will they put up a sign that the place is “to let?”
And padlocks on the gates,
Or express their regret, but they really must get
At least half-a-dollar as rates.
They will soon get a log that is going to clog
The wheels of the Council car;
For the men on the road want a lighter load,
And more money for collars that jar.
We did roads create, on a shillinn’y rate,
With the valuation low;
But Little Bo Peep says labour was cheap
In the days of long ago.
You may ask for bread, and you will be fed
But you must not ask for stone;
So by devious ways is a parable led
On this old encrusted zone.
The lanes are bare in disrepair,
Whenever you go on a journey;
For a heap of metal is something rare,
From Preston to Glenburnie.
Morang has a very hard row to hoe,
With its bridge and the boulevard;
And the metal is loose wherever you go,
For the road has never been tarred.
Now up at Yan Yean it often is seen,
That new bridge appears on a plan;
When a bridge over a river commences to shiver,
It’s work for the engineer man.
And Whittlesea, too, has some drainage put through,
Though they wonder what’s going to pay it;
But a bob in the pound from the cockies all round,
Is the simplest way they can say it.
But Epping’s all right, tho’ money is tight,
And they didn’t go in for a loan;
But all of them say if they had their own way,
That they’d rather be back on their own.
But it’s quite safe to bet they’ll be always in debt,
No matter how high that the rate is;
For roads will be wanted for settlers undaunted,
To bring in the apples and ’taties.
The Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser and Diamond Creek Valley Advocate (Hurstbridge, Vic.), 8 March 1918, p. 1
cockie = farmer (the term was used to refer to poor bush farmers, from having land so poor that they were jokingly said to only be able to farm cockies, i.e. cockatoos, a type of bird; however, it was later used to refer to farmers in general)
’taties = potatoes