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.

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