Works in the Herald 1933

Now that the warm days approach, a familiar sight along country roadsides will be those youthful manual workers who take obvious pride in displaying strong brown arms and torso clad only in light singlets -- a growing custom among these healthy and vigorous young Australians.

They have made them songs of the brown-shirts,
   Of the blue, and the black, and the red, 
Where, passions rife, men play at life
   As a grim, fierce game of dread.
But I make a song for the No-shirts,
   For a carefree, clean-limbed push
Whose youth, whose health is a country's wealth
   In the broad Australian bush.
Lithe arms swinging the axes,
   Broad chests bare to the sun,
By the country track, by the mills out-back
   Where a stong man's work is done,
With their brown young bodies gleaming,
   These serve in industry
As the elder sons once served the guns
   On far Gallipoli.
There's a pride and a joy in the toiling,
   There's a laugh in the clear young eye,
Small hint of the slave in the cheery wave
   To the proud cars rolling by.
And I make this song to the No-shirts
   As a psalm to their singing health
Who toil is done in a quickening sun
   To garner a country's wealth.

Herald, 7 October 1933, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002