ACT News


146 years ago a little went a long way

There are not nearly enough poems about Bungendore (even though the word is effortlessly easy to rhyme things with) so it is with joy that we reproduce this Christmas-y one, published in the Queanbeyan Age in early January 1867. As well as being a poem it is a sweet piece of reporting of the way we were 146 years ago and of how we made a lot of fun out of the very little we had. Second prize in the horse race was a cabbage!

Boxing-Day In Bungendore (1866)

Clear and bright, in tropic splendour,

Gilding bush and mountain o'er,

Rose the sun in all his glory

O'er the roofs of Bungendore.


In the year of six and sixty

Youths and maidens fair and gay

Crowd about the happy township,

To see the sports on Boxing-day.

All its beauty and its fashion

(All that Bungendore can show)

Pouring in from every quarter

Prove that pleasure's 'all the go.' Nags of every shape and nature--

Brown and bay and great and small;

Some with long tails, some with bob-tails,

Some with not a tail at all:--

Galloping, buck-jumping, rearing

(Where a buck or rear is in 'em),

On they come to see the prizes,

And, whoever can, to win 'em.

Right before the new 'Commercial,' [hotel]

See a goodly crew they come;

Part intent alone on racing,

Many others bound for rum.

Then the prizes are brought forward:

First, a whip worth half-a-crown;

Second, splendid head of cabbage;

Third, a match-box worth a brown [a penny].

Off they go--the pace is killing--

(There's a fakle start)

Off they go; and now they're at it;

From the target how they tear!

Some were nutty on the chesnut;

Others boldly backed the grey;

While one in confidence informed us

He'd a tanner on the bay.

Past the winning-post they thundered--Winning-post a big gum tree;

One was first, but all had prizes,

For the racers numbered three.