Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems



Black Harry's Team


No soft-skinned Durham steers are they,

No Devons plump and red,

But brindled, black and iron-grey

That mark the mountain-bred;

For mountain-bred and mountain-broke,

With sullen eyes agleam,

No stranger's hand could put a yoke

On old Black Harry's team.


Pull out, pull out, at break of morn

The creeks are running white,

And Tiger, Spot and Snailey-horn

Must bend their bows by night;

And axles, wheels, and flooring boards

Are swept with flying spray

As shoulder-deep, through mountain fords

The leaders feel their way.


He needs no sign of cross or kirn

To guide him as he goes,

For every twist and every turn

That old black leader knows.

Up mountains  steep they heave and strain

Where never wheel has rolled,

And what the toiling leaders gain

The body-bullocks hold.


Where eagle-hawks their eyries make,

On sidlings steep and blind,

He rigs the good old-fashioned brake---

A tree tied on behind.

Up mountains, straining to the full,

Each poler plays his part---

The sullen, stubborn, bullock-pull

That breaks a horse's heart.


Beyond the farthest bridle track

His wheels have blazed the way;

The forest giants, burnt and black,

Are ear-marked by his dray.

Through belts of scrub, where messmates grow

His juggernaut has rolled,

For stumps and saplings have to go

When Harry's team takes hold.

        .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

On easy grade and rubber tyre

The tourist car goes through,

They halt a moment to admire

The far-flung mountain view.

The tourist folk would be amazed

If they could get to know

They take the track Black Harry blazed

A Hundred Years Ago.


  A. B. Paterson

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