Works in the Bulletin 1909

There are a vast number of things to be done in Australia...but Joseph Cook knows nought of these matters...Joseph Cook is partly a jest and partly a disaster. He had apparently no constructive policy himself, and he objects to any other person having one. Therefore, when Australia wants to construct anything it has always to wait until Cook and his party have talked themselves into a state of exhaustion before it can proceed. - BULLETIN (25/3/'09).

There's that garrulous old party comin' round this way again!
Now I wonder who and what the thunder is he?
Won't someone stop his noisy interfering with the men?
Go away, my little man, we're very busy.
         We're as busy as can be,
         As you ought to darn well see;
And you jaw is apt to turn the workmen dizzy.

There's a funny little josser hangs around the works all day, On the nation-buildin' job where we are toilin'; And he doesn't do a hand's-turn, though he has a lot to say, And he always seems to be intent on spoilin'. For, without a minute's pause, He jaws and jaws and jaws Until he has our fellows fairly boilin'.
He doesn't know the diff'rence between a plumb-bob and a pick; And he couldn't tell a door-frame from a rafter; But the sight of coves at work appears to hurt him to the quick; And he seems to hate to see an honest grafter. And he's yellin' all along That the building's goin' wrong; Yet he doesn't seem to know just what he's after.
He has a sort of mania for shoutin' "That's all rot!" And at times he'll stop to ask a silly question; And when he gets an answer he goes fanti on the spot, But you never hear him offer a suggestion. Just yells with all his might, "Pull it down! It isn't right!" It's enough to give a feller indigestion.
We can't put up a scaffold-pole or lay a blessed brick But first he wants a lengthy explanation. And, if he ain't consulted 'fore a fellow swings a pick, His eyeballs fairly bulge with indignation. And before we drive each nail He wants to pitch a tale, And stop between each stroke for conversation.
The sight of layin' brick on brick appears to drive him mad; And buildin' things he makes his pet aversion. A day's work done in any day he looks upon as bad And a case of most unnecess'ry exertion. And he reckons, in effect, Work's accompanied by neglect; And he holds that all construction is subversion.
We don't quite grasp his theory - he's misty at best; But his scheme for buildin' houses or a nation Appears to be to lean against the scaffold-poles and rest, And indulge in vitriolic conversation. And he reckons, by a long way, That ev'ry way's the wrong way, And there isn't any right way in creation.
A feller can't help laughin' at this funny little cuss. In a measure he is certainly amusin'; But tho' he's on the wages-sheet, he don't belong to us, An' the chaps are gettin' sick of his abusin'. For the job is kept behind While he gets things off his mind; And the contract can't afford the time we're losin'.
We've laughed at him and snubbed him; he's been kicked and he's been biffed; But he don't know how to take a decent lickin'. He's a sticky sort of incubus, extremely hard to shift, And tenacious in the manner of his stickin'. But should we get a slant For to kick him off the plant - Well, I know a lot prepared to do the kickin'.
Here's that garrulous old gramaphone around the works again!... Now, DO go 'way, old chap. We're VERY busy. You mustn't hang about here interruptin' all the men; They're complainin' that your chatter makes 'em dizzy.... He says he's goin' to - what? Pull down the blessed lot! Goin' to stop the bloomin' contract! ... Eh? What? ... Is he?

The Bulletin, 15 April 1909, p16

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002