Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems




From the George Bateman Collection, copiled by Howard Rose.


 This is Palestine

By E.R. Saunders.   2/1st Pioneers 6th Division A.I.F.   July 1941


This is the land of vice and sin,

Where nights are blacker than “Gunga Din”,

And flies of a heavy bomber type,

Swarm when the summer winds are ripe,

Till darkness falls upon this cursed place,

Then lighter fly-craft take the chase,

A land of donkeys, wogs and “druse”,

Bugs and filth and crafty Jews,

Who eat green spinach, and drink red wine,

And leave their neighbours to live like swine

A land of legends, old, devine,

This is the land of Palestine.


This is the land of Palestine,

West of the Eastern Border line,

Where urchins know the foul disease,

Whose daily prayer is “Gibbit, Gibbit, Buckshee”,

Where flies form up in battle ranks,

And scorpions fight like armoured tanks,

Where soldiers camp and jackals croon,

On mountain range and sandy doon,

Where free men, conscripts and legionaires,

And black, brown and brindle refugees,

And all the breeds of earth combine,

Such is the land of Palestine .


Here’s to the land of Palestine,

When the boys come down from "up the line"

To camp on the level valley loam,

That seems to them a home from home.

Till they wake up in the morning, moist and hot,

With sandfly fever and “Barcoo Rot”,

With tinea feet and diarrhoea,

A craving for greens, across the fence,

Where they see them growing, thick and dense,

But the Jews say first , come profits mine,

Oh, for this land of Palestine.


This is the land of Palestine,

When I sail back across the brine,

Far from the land of wogs and “druse”,

Maybe I’ll read in the weekly news,

That a thousand “Bedouins” broke the rules,

And came down south with a thousand mules,

Camped in the valley and let them loose,

To ravish the crops of the "stingy" Jews,

And when I finish my “High Class Tea”

I’ll listen into the BBC,

And hear Churchill say "there’ll be no more war,

Cause Hitler’s dying of sandfly sore".


It is estimated that dysentery and scurvy was the cause of many of the deaths of our men in the African Campaign. 

Fresh fruit and vegetables were denied our men who were forced to “improvise” with “hard tack” and tinned meat, “Bully Beef”.

These poems, written by our soldiers, who were only very young men, have traced the War from “Battleground to Battleground”. 

I feel it would be a tribute to them if we were to remember their sacrifice, be it be on the waste lands of Africa, or at home, should they be spared to return home.  (H. Rose)


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