Works in the Herald 1937

An Austrian author, one Antoine Zischka, in a recent book has a chapter on Australia which, summarised, states: That Australia is hermetically sealed against "all" immigration, although Chinese have been smuggled in by Darwin customs officers, 34 of whom were dismissed in 1933. We let our grain rot, throw our oranges in the sea and waste 31 per cent of our meat. Every laundress owns her own car, millionaires hang out their own washing, Ministers of the Crown clean their own shoes, and sons of prominent civil servants punch tram-tickets.

Shy stranger in our native land,
   Come take a walk with me,
And we shall venture hand in hand
   To see what sights there be
In this exclusive continent girt by the southern sea.

See, as we reach the garden gate,
   Our lady char, arrive.
Her car's a super-sports straight eight.
   All washer-women drive
A car like that in this strange land, it makes them feel alive.

Now, as we venture down the street
   And dodge the traffic jams,
These corpulant old coves you meet
   Are old-age pension shams;
While younger sons of bureaucrats punch tickets on our trams.

The smell? That's meat and stacks of wheat --
   Mere rubbish, you'll agree.
We leave to rot what we can't eat,
   And, utterly carefree,
We fling our golden oranges, for fun, into the sea.

See, in that garden over there,
   By gum and wattle girt,
Sir Mulgrabred, the millionaire,
   Is hanging out his shirt.
He can't afford a lady-char; they treat his sort as dirt.

And there, upon his doorstep squat --
   A sight you must not lose --
Crown Minister Lord Dunnowot
   Is cleaning his own shoes
Because our lordly laborers such menial tasks refuse.

It is to you a strange, strange land
   That holds such sights as these,
Where every alien race is banned,
   Even the bland Chinese;
Except when venal Customs clerks accept ten thousand "squeeze".

Yet we have untilled land to spare,
   It is awaiting you --
Vast, empty gibber plainlands where
   No green thing ever grew.
Take half a million acres there and see what you can do.

Herald, 6 March 1937, p4

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2007