Poetry - Tiger Battalion

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

I was born a "Banana Bender", to a “Taswegian” Mum and Dad,
And I left our home in "Bundy” when I was just a lad;
I needed to "have a gander" along the "wallaby track,”
In search of work and freedom in the "Aussie great outback.”

I started on my “Pat Malone” until I met up with a “mate,”
He was “built like an old brick shithouse” and his “cobbership” was great;
His “fungus face” was ginger. His hair was auburn red,
His hat was old and tattered perched high upon his head.

His name was “Bluey” Grimaldi, an older man than me,
And he became a “Swaggie” in nineteen seventy three;
We put the “Billy” on to boil, unrolled our trusty “swag,”
Bluey stoked the fire while I sucked on a "fag."

Our camp was near a “Billabong”, where the “mozzies” were out in force,
We dined on “damper” and “bum nuts” splashed with a bit of “dead horse;”
Bluey then told me his story, about the life he was living before,
When things turned “crook in Muswellbrook” after the Vietnam war.

I had me a “missus” and two “billy lids” when I came home from Vietnam,
And a “few snags short of a barbie” … Well that was according to Pam;
I got “full as a boot” too often and “flaked” from drinking too much,
“Blew our dough” on “grog” and “nags” gambling, “footy” and such.

I was a “dingbat, a “drongo”. The “bush telegraph” passed the word round,
But “fairdinkum mate”, I could see nothing wrong,’ til a “blow in” arrived at our town;
A “sand groper” “fella” from Bunbury whose “clobber” was casual and smart,
Soon caught the eyes of my “missus” and she quickly gave him her heart.
“Flat out like a lizard drinking” he left with my “sheila” and kids,
And with them they took all my future, punished for things that I did.

So here I am young “fella” I think I have “earbashed” enough,
My life has been “a dog's breakfast” and at times a little too tough;
“I’m as dry as a dead dingos donger”, “ amber fluid” is all that I need,
“Hoo roo cobber” I’m leaving and its been a pleasure indeed.

He packed his swag and departed, I watched as he faded from site,
I soon bedded down in the “humpy” and I prayed that he’d be alright;
I dozed off to sleep by the firelight, to the drones of a “didgeridoo,”
The "white cockatoos" in the treetops and the bounds of a "red kangaroo."

The next morning I pondered Blue's story with a quiver from my bottom lip,
A "digger" who fought for Australia , without a “fair crack of the whip;"
The thought made me “mad as a cut snake,” I realized just what war could do,
And to think there are many more veterans, exactly the same as old Blue.

So now back on my “Pat Malone,” beyond the “back of Bourke,”
I hope and pray “just down the road” that I will find some work;
Stock up the empty “tucker bag” have me a “schooner” or two,
And drink a toast to Vietnam vets, especially my old mate “Blue.”


© Mal Lyons
D Company Vietnam 1st Tour

"Banana Bender "... Someone from Queensland.

"Taswegian" ... Someone from Tasmania.

"Bundy" ... Common name for Bundaberg Queensland and also Bundaberg Rum.

"Have a Gander "... Have a look.

"On The Wallaby Track" ... Travel, looking for work.

"Aussie" ... Australian.

"Outback" ... Remote Inland Australia.

"Pat Malone" ... On your own.

"Mate" ... Friend, Pal, Buddy, Cobber. Also used in General greeting -- "how ya going mate."

"Built like a Brick Shithouse" ... Strong (outdoor toilets in old days were usually built of wood not as strong as the more modern brick dunnies).

"Cobber" ... Mate, friend -- cobbership = friendship.

"Fungus Face" ... One with a beard.

"Bluey" ... Nickname for a male with red hair.

"Swaggie/Swagman" ... Someone who travels the countryside looking for casual work and handouts, usually with only a billy, clothes and a swag; as in the traditional song "Waltzing Matilda."

"Billy" ... A container for boiling water on a campfire.

"Swag" ... Bedroll, usually made of canvas with a thin mattress.

"Fag" ... Cigarette, common slang word used in other parts of the world.

"Billabong" ... Waterhole, contributory of a river.

"Mozzies" ... Mosquitoes.

"Damper" ... Bush bread made from flour and water usually baked in a camp oven.

"Bum Nuts" ... Eggs.

"Dead Horse" ... Sauce, can be tomato or hot sauce ( Worcestershire, PMU etc.)

"Things turned Crook In Muswellbrook" ... Turned wrong, sometimes used as "Things are crook in Tallarook."

"Missus" ... Wife.

"Billy Lids" ... Kids.

"A Few Snags Short of a Barbie" ... Short of common sense.

"Snags" ... Sausages.

"Barbie" ... Barbeque.

"Full as a Boot" ... Drunk.

"Flaked" ...Collapse, asleep.

"Blew Our Dough" ... Spent and wasted money.

"Grog" ... Alcohol -- beer, wine, spirits.

"Nags" ... Horses.

"Footy" ... Football, whatever code you allegiances are to.

"Dingbat" ... Fool.

"Drongo" ... Idiot.

"Bush Telegraph" ... Town gossips.

"Fairdinkum" ... Really, honestly.

"Blow In" ... A stranger, newcomer.

"Sandgroper" ... A person from Western Australia.

"Fella" ... Man, person.

"Clobber" ... Clothes.

"Flat Out Like A Lizard Drinking" ... To do something fast.

"Sheila" ... A woman.

"Earbashed" ... Talk for so long.

"Dog's Breakfast" ... Messy, mess.

"Dry As A Dead Dingo's Donger" ... Very dry, 'Dingo' being a wild Dog, 'Donger' being penis.

"Amber Fluid" ... Beer.

"Hoo Roo Cobber" ... Goodbye mate.

"Humpy" ... Rough bush shelter.

"Didgeridoo" ... Australian Aboriginal musical instrument made of wood.

"White Cockatoos" ... Large white parrot type bird.

"Red Kangaroo" ... Australian Marsupial coloured reddish brown -- majority of kangaroos are coloured grey.

"Digger" ... Australian Soldier.

"Fair Crack Of The Whip" ... A fair chance.

"Mad as a Cut Snake" ... Upset, Angry, Go Crazy.

"Schooner" ... A glass that holds 15 ounces of fluid, Preferably filled with "Amber Fluid" and favoured by many Aussie beer drinkers.

"Back of Bourke" ... The far Outback, Bourke being a town in outback New South Wales.

"Just Down The Road" ... Could be a very long way in the Australian outback.

Tuckerbag ... Bag for carrying food usually made of Hessian or canvas. Tucker box = Esky.

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