Snowy's Joke

Townsville Daily Bulletin Friday 9 May 1924
(If these verses should strike the eye of any of the old "battlers" who worked on the railway construction from Calliope to Many Peaks—they were mostly old Towers identities—it will bring back memories of good times,—"Basalt Boulder.")

I met old Snowy on the line that goes to Many Peaks,
Along the Boyne Valley road that crosses many creeks.
He toiled hard in a cuttin' out in the summer sun,
His hide was crackin' for a booze—that's how the joke begun.

A pub had just been rattled tip to snare the navvies' dough,
A notice big was posted up that trust is dead, and so
It matter not the size of cracks the navvies tough old skin,
Old Bung-an' bust ne'er filled a pint without the blanky tin.

But Snowy was a Towers bloke, the sort that ne'er were beat,
Says he, "A scheme I've got in me nut, we'll have a blanky treat,"
As I was gouging' copper ore an' hadn't got a bob,
I quickly cottoned to the joke an' we got on the job,

Old Snowy said, "Iv'e marked in chalk just underneath the floor,
The spot the beer casks standing on, 'tis six feet from the door;
I'll get a blanky auger from big Ganger Smith to-night,  
Before old shines in the east I guess that we'll be tight."

We got two blanky washin' tubs the first old rooster crow,
Old Snowy gauged it to a hair, he tapped the amber brew
Which gurgled out a foamin' stream, me mouth it waters now,
We filled the washin' tubs right up and ne'er disturbed a cow.

We waddled to the navvies' camp two tubs of foamin' beer,  
An' roused up all of Smithies gang, they rose an' gave a cheer,
An' waded in with pannikins, oh what a glorious booze,
While Bung-an'-Bust snored lustily a good old dinkum snooze.  

Of course a tub or two of beer it don't last very long,  
At sunrise alt of Smithies's gang had crossed the billabong,
All making zig-zag tracks along the roadway to the pub,
An' most of them had been to Smith an' got a blanky sub.

We breasted to the fruit-case bar, says Snowy, "Mine's a beer."
Old Bung-an'-Bust pulled on the pump, gee didn't he look queer;
An' Snowy muttered, dry as , "She must er sprung a leak."
Says Bung "Last night the cask was full," the pump it gave a squeak.

Old Bung turned round an' smiled a bit, the took a tumble quick,
I've whips of rum an' cloves in stock"  he answered pretty slick.
An' so we filled the blanky cracks with rum made on the spot,
An' cloves that must have come from Hades, they were that blanky hot.

Sulphurlc acid, vitriol, an' sal-am-moniac.
With cocky's joy to sweeten it, gee, punch it didn't luck;
Old Bung-an'-Bust raked in the dough, the gang lost nine days' pay,    
Snowy's joke is a byword up at Many Peaks to-day.


This verse appeared in Bill Bowyang's column "One the Track" in the 
Townsville Daily Bulletin Wednesday 14 May 1924 p. 9. and The Northern Miner Saturday 17 May 1924 p. 2.

By Bill Bowyang.

It was signed off

Burra Siding.

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