Works in the Herald 1934

My young friend Bobby J. (still aged 10), is toiling feverishly toward the end of his unique history of Victoria. Today the following letter and manuscript arrived, bearing many blots and revisions, and other evidence of extreme haste.

"Dear Uncle,-

"I am very pleased to say that I have got nearly to the end of the history bits which I promised to write for you. And I havent had one single ride yet on my new bicicle that you gave me to be my own.

"Father still has it locked away in the tool-shed till I finish this history, and I am not even let to tuch it or polish it up a bit or anything. I can only look at a piece of it through a crack in the wall, and I am verry neerly certain sure I can see some spots on it that might be rust verry likely through not being polished up.

"I wouldent be surprised if it fell all to pieces in my hand when I tuch it because of it being et all away with rust and that I wouldent wonder.

"Well, I suppose I better be getting on with my history or else my good bicicle will be only fit for nothing by the time I get it. Well, the title I give it is much the same -


"Well, when the people told the polyticians that they would have Federation so long as it came cheaper in the long run, that was settled, and the polyticians said, well, that will be all right, and now it would be a pretty good idea to get someone big to come out from England and open it, because we can not go thinking up wise laws and ecconomy and bonuses and things like that until Federation is opened in the right way.

"So, by a bit of luck, they managed to get none other than His Majesty our present King to come and open Federation. Although he had only got up as far as Duke at that time, that was pretty important considering.

"Well, the Duke opened Federation with great pomp and ceremony, and there were lots of flags and speeches and that, and all the people were very excited and happy, and there was lots of rejoicing because the people believed that this sort of government would come cheaper in the long run.

"Well, my father says they couldent be blamed for that because the polyticians hadent thought about incom taxes and such things at that time.

"Well, after Fedral Parlament stayed in Melbourne, where crowds of people could keep their eye on it or a long time, they thought they would have a change and go to Canberra, a very quiet place in the bush where there was very few eyes to be kept on them.

"But there was lots and lots of arguments about it before the polyticians could agree amongst themselves about Canberra, which I spelled wrong last week, but have since looked it up on a map.

"Well, they went on having arguments because that is what polyticians are for, I shouldent wonder, not being able to settle things like boys, who can always settle arguments just by saying eena deana dina doe, and so on, without cheating, and then, according to the way like it comes out, then that is the right way, and everybody is satisfied.

"Anyhow, one day when the most votes came out for Canberra that stopped the argument, so first thing the polyticians did was to go out and buy heaps and heaps of foundation stones from a stone mason. And every time someone pretty big came along they grabbed him and took him up to Canberra to lay a foundation stone.

"Well, pretty soon there was hundreds and thousands of foundation stones all laid with great pomp and ceremony, and the polyticians said, 'Well, what about putting some bits of bildings on some of the foundation stones that are not lost in the long grass?' So that is what they done. They bilt a place to meet in and a couple of pretty good hotels, and then they said, 'Well, what about getting a bit of a move on?'

"But it wasn't done quite so easily as all that, because there were lots and lots of civil servants to be shifted, too, that did the typewriting and kept books and wrote out speeches for the polyticians. And when the civil servants heard about that they had to go to Canberra some of them was not so civil as they were. But simply had to go because they were under government rule, and if they said no they would lose their jobs and be some of the unemployed.

"So, bit by bit, the civil servants did as they were told, except only the other day one very big one did something different. Because when the polyticians said to him, 'Go on, you, get up to Canberra, too,' he just poked out - I mean he stood on his dignity and said, 'No' out loud in front of everybody. And he wouldent buge either.

"So when the polyticians looked up the rules they found they had agreed to say barley to him long ago, and he was touching wood or something, so he dident come under government rule. That annoide them a good bit, but they could only say, 'Oh, well, you wait.' But he dident seem to mind that.

"Well, this last bit I have put in is not history yet, but it might be, so I shoved it in here just to show you.

"Well, I reckon that is about all I know about Federation, although my father says there are some other important bits which is better not woke up. My father said, better let sleeping dogs lie, and when I asked him what he meant, he said never mind, just put it in and people will understand.

"So this is the end of part five of my history, which I reckon is worth a pretty good piece of a bicicle."


Herald, 27 February 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003