Works in the Herald 1935

William Esnor, a miner of 64, on his first visit to Sydney, says that, during the two weeks he has been there he has only seen four men working. The remaining thousands seemed to be all great people, dressed up, and walking about doing nothing. It worries him.

Whenever you come on a man Outback,
   (Said he with a puzzled frown),
Whether you're paddin' on an old busk track
   Or passin' a quiet town --
You will find him there, wherever you go,
   With a bit of a tool in his hand
On a bit of a job.  Or it's mostly so.
But this here city -- Ar, I dunno --
            Gimme the land.  

I have walked her streets in the hustlin' day,
   An' I've walked 'em under th elights;
An' it looks real busy an' awful gay,
   An' I've seen all manner of sights.
But, spare me!  Where are the blokes wot toil
   In this dressed-for-Sunday push?
Why, there's nary a one his hands would soil;
For their backs would break an' their duds would spoil.
            Gimme the bush.  

What are they livin' on day by day --
   These thousands hurryin' by,
Snubbin' a man if he says "Good day"
   In the street.  They don't reply;
But stares reel hard at him, like he's dirt
   Account o' the way he's dressed
In a shop-sold soot an' a blue bush shirt.
Tho' Sydney town for a month don't hurt,
            Gimme the West.  

Oh the scenes are great and the lights are gay,
   But I feels there's somethin' wrong
Mid these great buildin's, cold and grey,
   An' the vast, soft-handed throng,
Hurryin', hurryin' up an' down.
   But at last the wonder ends
An' a man gits lonely-like in town
Where the well-dressed strangers stare an' frown.
            Gimme bush friends.

Herald, 12 July 1935, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003-07