Thursday, April 29, 2010

THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER - Sunday 25th April 2010

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from Old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses, he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up,
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle-girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony, three parts thoroughbred at least,
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry, just the sort that won't say die,
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

Christine and I spent the night in Jindabyne and today went down to Dalgety to see the Snowy River. We'd never been there before. I was looking forward to it, but once there discovered that it's not the place you'd spend your holidays in. A pub and a few houses, that's about all.

And the river, this once proud and mighty river, choked off by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme is a shadow if its former self. They let a bit of water out of Lake Jundabyne to keep the locals happy but it doesn't go much further than the weir are Dalgety.

But I love the poem.

I'm never sure whether it's the horse or the rider.

'He was hard and tough and wiry ...'

When Andrew Patterson wrote it most Australians were hard and tough and wiry. Now half the population is fat weak and depressed. That it should come to this. King, Cawdor, Glamis all ...

A national tragedy played out over 120 years.

On the track
Came home Sunday night and went on the stepper. A good steady 40 minute workout, 508 steps for 388 calories - not enough to burn off the duck liver pate and the rest of the meal I had in Jindabyne on Saturday night.

In the meantime stay tuned, hard, tough and wiry.

John Miller

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