Missing Mates

Many have gone on their long last trip,
No Staff or Ticket taking,
The mates who pushed the Locos out
When the West was in the making.

Over the Downs where the brolgas dance
And the heat waves wreathe and quiver,
To load the mobs from the great Gulf routes
On the banks of the Leichhardt River.

Through blazing days with never a cloud
When the sky seemed always higher,
Straight to the sun were the loads we ran
On rails of flaming fire.

We pushed the tracks of Cuthbert Range
We climbed the steep Ballara,
We crossed the river Wills had found
Then on to far Dajarra.

We nosed along with dim headlamps
While the countryside was sleeping
Or strained our eyes through drenching wet
When wide brown floods came sweeping.

The sun went down, we saw it rise
Though no relief from working,
With half dead minds with fancies filled
As though demons there were lurking.

Till we'll sell our soul for an hour of sleep
Or pledge it in some passing,
When the tide of Life seems ebbing out
Just before a dawning.

No right of way, or foul nights now,
No need for brake line testing,
You are home at last, old mates of mine,
And all of you are resting.

(Tim Sullivan)
Score to be added

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