The Bushman’s Farewell to Queensland

Queensland, thou art a land of pests;
Fo flies and fleas one never rests.
E’en now mosquitos round me revel —
In fact they are the very devil.
Sandflies and hornets just as bad —
They nearly drive a fellow mad;
With scorpion and centipede
And stinging ants of every breed;
Fever and ague, with the shakes,
Tarantulas and poisonous snakes;
Iguanas, lizards, cockatoos,
Bushrangers and jackeroos;
Bandicoots and swarms of rats,
Bulldog ants and native cats;
Stunted timber, thirsty plains,
Parched-up deserts, scanty rains;
There’s rivers here you can’t sail ships on
There’s native women without shifts on;
There’s humpies, huts, and wooden houses,
And native men who don’t wear trousers;
There’s Barcoo rot and sandy-blight,
There’s dingoes howling all the night;
There’s curlew’s wail, and croaking frogs,
There’s savage blacks and native dogs;
There’s scentless flowers and stinging trees,
There’s poisonous grass and darling peas
Which drive the cattle raving mad,
Make sheep and horses just as bad;
And then it never rains in reason —
There’s drought one year and flood next season,
Which sweep the squatters’ sheep away
And then there is the devil to pay.
To stay in thee, O land of mutton,
I would not give a single button,
But bid thee now a long farewell,
Thou scorching, sunburnt land of hell!

— Anon. taken from Bill Wannan’s Come in Spinner

Categories: Poems

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