Bush Poetry & Bush Ballads

All good poetry really comes to life when read aloud, with passion. In recent years bush poetry competitions have sparked a revival of writing and performing skills, probably helped along by the affordability and availability of poetry tapes and CDs so people can hear it instead of just reading it.

Banjo (A.B.) Paterson is Australia’s best known bush poet. There are a raft of others, such as Will Ogilvie, a favourite of R.M. Williams.

C.J. Dennis has been largely forgotten however he was justifiably famous during depression years (1930s), with an unparalleled wit and understanding of suburban Australia. Not a bush poet, but his blunt approach is the sort of style that appeals to rural residents.

Please note:

 

Sales of my own books, cards and photographs are what enable the continuation of recording of life on Australian cattle stations, and are what make this website possible.

I only sell my own books 'A Million Acre Masterpiece' and 'Life as an Australian Horseman', not books by other authors.  The books below are listed simply to assist my customers find additional bush books which they may be interested in, and to assist other authors by publicising what they have written.  Unfortunately I do not have the administrative resources to provide advice on where copies may be available at present (some of the bush books below are long out of print, but may be available in secondhand bookshops).

 

Books of Bush Poetry & Bush Ballads

Ballads of the Kimberley and other Wild Places

Geoff Allen, 1991
Self published, Balgowlah, (New South Wales)
Great poetry by a bloke who spent years working as a stockman in remote areas.

The Best of Banjo Paterson

Edited by Walter Stone, 1977
Lansdowne Press, Chatswood (New South Wales)
Hefty book with a really interesting introduction about Andrew Barton (A.B.) Paterson’s life, 1864-1941, by editor Walter Stone.

‘And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.’
A.B. Paterson.

When I read this I can here my father’s deep voice, reciting the lines he learnt in a one-teacher bush school in the 1930s.

The Pacific Book of Bush Ballads

Various authors, Selected by Douglas Stewart & Nancy Keesing, 1967
Angus & Robertson, Sydney (NSW)
Collection of classic poems/ballads dating around the 1890s, including many of my all-time favourites such as: The Wild Colonial boy, The old keg of rum, The Dying Stockman, The Murrumbidgee Shearer, Click go the Shears, Flash Jack from Gundagai, Goorianawa, The Drovers Dream, Scotty’s Wild Stuff Stew, Ballad of the Drover, Andy’s gone with cattle, The Shearer’s Dream, Hay, Hell & Booligal. And of course the poem my father most often recited in gruff tones of doom & gloom — Said Hanrahan.

There are many bush poets/balladeers with websites, and organisations such as The Australian Bush Balladeers Association Incorporated and the Australian Bush Poets Association.

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