bill wannan

Arrack and Sympathy

During the second world war two Aussie soldiers were in Damascus on leave from a camp nearby. During their perambulations around the city they sampled quite a number of noggins of the local brew, arrack, and eventually they became hopelessly… Read More ›

Unusual Commands

There was a certain Australian sar’major during World War I who gave his commands in a most unorthodox manner. “Slope arms — you, too!” “Present arms — you, too!” “Forward march — you, too!” After the parade one day, a… Read More ›

Hell vs gaol

[Jack]* was arrested and charged with cattle stealing. At the trial the judge asked him what would happen if he told a lie. “Well, boss,” said [Jack]*, “I think I go to hell.” “And,” continued the judge, “what happens if… Read More ›


Old Gentleman: “Look ‘ere, me young bantam, I saw football played 30 years ago, afore you was born.” “That wasn’t football,” says the bantam, “that was civil war in them days, and they threw in a football to make it… Read More ›

Heading Them

On one occasion The Drongo applied for the job of cook’s offsider on a cattle station in the north. As nobody else was offering, he was taken on. The cook said, “We’re having good old stew for dinner, Drongo, and… Read More ›


Bill would say: ‘He gave me some blankets, thin enough to keep a bloke warm by making him shiver into a sweat.’ —Colin Hollis quoted in Bill Wannan’s ‘Come in Spinner’