Let me share a little Banjo Patterson with you:
It’s grand to be a squatter
And sit upon a post,
And watch your little ewes and lambs
A-giving up the ghost.
It’s grand to be a “cockie”
With a wife and kids to keep,
And find an all-wise Providence
Has mustered all your sheep.
It’s grand to be a Western man,
With a shovel in your hand,
To dig your little homestead out
From underneath the sand.
It’s grand to be a shearer
Along the Darling-side
And pluck the wool from stinking sheep
That some days since have died.
It’s grand to be a rabbit
And breed until all is blue,
And then to die in heaps because
There’s nothing left to chew.
It’s grand to be a Minister
And travel like a swell,
And tell the Central District folk
To go to – Inverell.
It’s grand to be a socialist
And lead the bold array
That marches to prosperity
At seven bob a day.
It’s grand to be an unemployed
And lie in the Domain,
And wake up every second day –
And go to sleep again.
It’s grand to borrow English tin
To pay for wharves and docks
And then to find it isn’t in
The little money box.
It’s grand to be a democrat
And toady to the mob,
For fear that if you told the truth
They’d hunt you from your job.
It’s grand to be a lot of things
In this fair Southern land,
But of the Lord would send us rain,
That would, indeed, be grand.
Banjo Patterson wrote this at the beginning of last century; and guess what?
Politicians were telling lies then to keep their jobs!
Farmers and those who worked the land were struggling to keep stock alive and feed their families.
As a nation we borrowed money (back then it was from Mother England) only to find that it ran out too soon.
Unemployed people slept the days away.
Rain was a rare commodity.
So…just in case we’re tempted to think that the challenges we face in Australia today are unique to our time, this poem reminds us that our challenges are only variations on a theme.