Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems




From the George Bateman Collection, copiled by Howard Rose.



By Rebecca Morton.


I am standing at my window ,

I can hear the tramp of feet,

I can hear the soldiers marching,

Down the bush track and down the street,

They are coming into vision,

Now they can be plainly seen,

That swinging line of figures,

In their faded suits of green.


Suits that went into dye pots,

In a hurry, that you know,

For the Jap' was at our doorstep,

A crafty cruel foe,

No time for fuss or finish,

Very little lay between,

Those swarming hoards of Nippon,

And those faded suits of green.


The dye came out in patches,

Of pale yellow green and brown

They were fashioned for the jungle,

Not for touring round the town,

They not meant for Dandies,

Just to strut in or preen,

They were made for men of action,

Streaky, faded suits of green.


They were men that went to outposts,

To the flies and dust and heat,

To monotony and boredom,

No offensive, no retreat,

And they missed the path to glory,

With their mates of El Alamein

They were sent to guard Australia,

In their faded suits of green.


On the battle fields of Papua,

On the shores of Milne Bay,

On the track to far Kakoda,

And down Gona Buna way,

Through the fever stricken jungle,

Where the Nippon lurked unseen,

Into slime and slush and slaughter.

Went their faded suits of green.


Pressing onward, ever onward,

Rivers crossed and pathways strained,

Defying death, defying danger,

On the Owen Stanley Range,

Up the cliffs and down the valleys,

Through the deep and dark ravine,

Torn and tattered , plashed with crimson,

Glorious faded suits of green.


Standing watching at my window,

My thoughts wing as before,

To the rice fields of Malaya,

To the docks of Singapore,

To the Prison Camps of Nippon,

Where our loved ones, gaunt and lean,

Wearily wait there to be rescued,

By those faded suits of green,


They are coming , captive soldiers,

Tho’ the way may be grim and hard,

They will fight until the finish,

Inch by inch, yard by yard,

For no suits of shining armour,

Worn by Knights before the Queen,

Ever held such pride and honour,

As those faded suits of green.


When the bells of peace are ringing,

As they did in days of ‘yore,

When the bated sound of War drums,

Shall cease for ever more,

When we live in love and laughter,

And happiness serene,

Oh, Australia please remember,

Those faded suits of green.


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