[Editor: A poem by “Kookaburra”. Published in The Evelyn Observer, and Bourke East Record, 1 December 1916.]
The Weather the Evergreen Topic.
Mag: What do you think of the weather Kook? Will it be fine for Xmas?
Why, Mag, what’s up with you now? A little while ago you said things were better since the rain. Hope you’ve enough. I see in the daily paper the other day that we only require four inches more to beat the 1911 record. The Cockies would not care a continental if that record was never broken. Rain is a very good thing, but you can have too much of a good thing if the supply aint regulated properly. A glass of good beer is all right, but look at the mess people make of themselves by taking over doses, or using it between meals. We are certainly having a lot of rain this year, but next year may be dry, both in regard to water and beer, for there is a lot of talk about local option. I wonder if the Yan Yean is full yet; they used to publish the measurements some time ago. Perhaps the gauge is submerged or they can’t find a sapling long enough to test the depth. There is a great demand for wood since the coal strike. What the Cockies really want is a week’s north wind with a change to an easterly breeze for a few days, then some more north gales to dry up the wet. Tra, la, la.
Raining, Hailing, Hailing, Raining,
’Tis no use of us complaining,
For this everlasting raining looks as if its come to stay.
This lot started in September,
Has been going till December.
Will it ever cease its raining? you will hear the farmers say.
In the time of Noah’s flood,
When there must have been some mud,
We are told for forty days and nights they’d rain,
And the Cockies now do wonder,
As they hear the distant thunder,
Will we have just another blooming flood like that again?
For the hay crop now is rotten,
Some that’s dead can be forgotten,
For ’twould never pay to cut it with the scythe,
And a binder’s out of reason
On the ground this boggy season,
So the cow must pay the taxes and also the income tithe.
For the one redeeming clause
In this burst of nature’s laws,
Is the months and months the cows will milk on grasses.
So the farmer, bluff and hearty,
Cursed by the Labor Party,
Can find funds to join a union he won’t have to buy molasses.
Yet it gives the snaggers fits
When they have to wash the tits
Of the highbacks, whose appearance makes them look as though they’re tarred,
For the mud is o’er their udder,
And they’d almost need a rudder
For to regulate their passage on the journey to the yard.
— The Kookaburra.
The Evelyn Observer, and Bourke East Record (Kangaroo Ground, Vic.), 1 December 1916, p. 3
cockie = a cocky, or “cockie”, is a 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)
continental = the phrase “could not give a continental”, or similar, means that the person speaking does not care at all about the matter at hand (said to have arisen from the collapse, in 1779-1781, of the currency of the US Continental Congress, when their paper dollars became almost worthless); there is also the phrase “couldn’t give a continental cuss”; similar expressions used different end words “couldn’t give a damn”, “couldn’t give a fig”, “couldn’t give a hoot”, etc.
local option = temperance movements in Australia gained the right for local electors to vote against the issuing of liquor licences; the control of alcohol at the local level was known as the “local option”, as distinct from state and national controls
See: 1) Jack S. Blocker, David M. Fahey, and Ian R. Tyrrel, Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History: An International Encyclopedia, Volume 1, Santa Barbara (California): ABC-CLIO, 2003
2) “Temperance movement in Australia”, Wikipedia (accessed 3 October 2014)
3) “Local option”, Wikipedia (accessed 3 October 2014)
o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)
Yan Yean = Yan Yean Reservoir
[Editor: Corrected “the the wet” to “the wet”.]