Breaker Morant

Harry "Breaker" Morant was born on this day in England in 1864, possibly under the name Edwin Henry Murrant. He arrived in Townsville, Queensland in 1883 where he later married Daisy May O'Dwyer (later known more famously as Daisy Bates) - and quickly divorced - and took to droving and horse-breaking; hence the nickname. In the late 1890s he enlisted with the South Australian Mounted Rifles to fight in the Boer War in South Africa. Along with P.J. Handcock, Morant was court-martialled for executing several Boer prisoners and a German missionary. He was found guilty and executed by firing squad on February 27th 1902. The story of his trial and execution was told in the 1979 film "Breaker Morant" with Edward Woodward as Morant, Bryan Brown as Handcock, along with Jack Thompson as the defending council - the film was directed by Bruce Beresford. Morant was one of the 'back-block' bards of the 1890s and published the bulk of his work in The Bulletin magazine.

They are mustering cattle on Brigalow Vale
   Where the stock-horses whinny and stamp,
And where long Andy Ferguson, you may go bail,
   Is yet boss on a cutting-out camp.
Half the duffers I met would not know a fat steer
   From a blessed old Alderney cow.
Whilst they're mustering there I am wondering here --
   Who is riding brown Harlequin now?

From starlight to starlight - all day in between
   The foam-flakes might fly from his bit,
But whatever the pace of the day's work had been,
   The brown gelding was eager and fit.
On the packhorse's back they are fixing a load
   Where the path climbs the hill's gloomy brow;
They are mustering bullocks to send on the road,
   But -- who's riding old Harlequin now?

From Who's
Riding Old Harlequin Now?
by Breaker Morant

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 9, 2005 9:57 AM.

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