Maloney's Motor Car by W. T. Goodge

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"The Bushman's Arms," whose liquid charms all western stock men know,
Was kept by Pat Maloney at a time when things were slow;
Dead slow, begad! For though it had seen flush times, I believe,
Yet things were mortal dull on this partic'lar Christmas Eve.
Maloney'd gone to Cobar on the usual Christmas quest
For liquors of a quality politely termed "the best;"
And there he sat, imbibing that which bushmen call "three star,"
Until two Sydney Johnnies walked inside to breast the bar.
'Twas then the hist'ry started of Maloney's Motor Car!

They had a car, a splendid car, the finest on the road!
'Twould beat a team of bullocks in the hauling of a load;
And as for speed, there was no need to talk of other power --
That car could bound, on level ground, its forty miles an hour!
And there he sat, did muddled Pat, and listened, till at last
His trap was sold, the car was bought, and thus the die was cast;
And forth he went, in great content, from out the hotel bar,
And mounted on his new machine, so proud as any Czar!
All Cobar gave a send-off to Maloney's Motor Car?

And there in fair Killara was a waiting thirsty throng,
Till Pat Maloney brought his stock of Christmas grog along;
But Mount McPherson, they'd aver, was scarce a hundred miles
From Cobar. "Now we shan't be long!" they said, exchanging smiles.
They still had some back-country rum; there still remained some beer,
Which they absorbed while waiting for the special Christmas cheer.
A sound, like demons flying past! it startled all the bar!
Then out they rushed with open mouths, and eyes that stared afar ---
The last of mortal eyes that saw Maloney's Motor Car!

Yet, day by day, the press would say, "There was important news,"
And forty fresh detectives had discovered forty clues!
In Adelaide fresh plans were made, and Normanton and Cue
Looked for the 'coming vehicle, and wondered what to do.
The police, of course, displayed resource, and ran in everyone
Who looked as if he'd done the deed, or could or would have done.
But ne'er a word there e'er was heard in special wire or par.
To clear this murky mystery, which was as black as tar.
A Budget Speech was simple to Maloney's Motor Car!

Shall I deceive? Each Christmas Eve, they say, the Bushman's Arms
Is now the meeting-place of persons filled with vague alarms.
If Pat was drowned, no corpse was found; all search was made in vain,
And ne'er was driver or machine by mortal seen again!
But folks believe on Christmas Eve, when wails the weird curlew
And moans the mopoke in the trees, MALONEY'S PASSING THROUGH!
They swear they hear, in quaking fear, a voice that cries - "Ha! Ha!"
A phantom voice and ghostly sound that all their pleasures mar ----
The Flying Dutchman of the Bush --- Maloney's Motor Car!

First published in The Bulletin, 20 April 1905

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Poetry Library

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 20, 2012 7:45 AM.

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