Poem: Accent Conscious by C.J. Dennis

The Australian Broadcasting Commission is endeavoring to standardise Australian voices by engaging announcers who will lead us into right ways of speech. This country, declares the Commission, has become "accent conscious" since the advent of wireless.

Trouble brews along the border for the word has got around
   That blokes an' coves an' coots must mind their tongues;
Out about the long dry stages
Where the willie-willie rages
   Strange sounds are issuing from leathern lungs.
Vowels, consonants and diphthongs in the old bark hut take place
Of the talk of clips or cattle or "wot won the 'urdle race."

For the world grows regimented and the olden orders pass
   With those ancient heroes that we knew of old.
Out beyond the sandy ranges
Culture grows and fashion changes
   And a bloke has got to talk the way he's told.
For the craze of "standardising" has Australia in its grip,
And Lawson's friends, Joe Wilson, and his mates have got the pip.

These old battlers, so accustomed to the old Australian drawl,
   Find it hard to knuckle down to modern ways.
Tho' the purists may deride them,
'Twas their speech identified them,
   For they talked the Aussie lingo all their days.
But the Man from Snowy River strives to change his "Oi' to "I;"
And Clancy of the Overflow now wears an old school tie.

I have long since sought the reason why all men should be as peas
   In speech, in thought, in action, e'en in strife.
Uniformity around them
Serves but further to confound them,
   Since it washes all the color out of life.
But the bloke who beat the favorite now sports jodhpurs with an air,
And the Man from Ironbark marcels his hair.

First published in The Herald, 8 June 1938

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 22, 2007 6:54 AM.

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