1932 "The Big McArthur Side"

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McArthur River, northern Northern Territory

McArthur River Station mentioned in this article



Out on the big McArthur run

   Out where there’s action, thrill and fun

Out where the monthly mail comes thru’

   From Camooweal to the distant ‘Loo,

By the big McArthur side.


Out where there is no strife of fuss,

   Where the outside world don’t trouble us,

We ride to muster, draft and brand,

   And stick to jobs we understand

By the quiet McArthur side.


Out where you still might cut the tracks

   Of a wandering tribe of myall blacks

They hunt and live the tribal lore,

   Quite happy as in days of yore.

By the free McArthur side.


Where fish are speared in clear bright stream

   I sometimes sit and watch and dream,

While the paper barks and she-oaks tall

   Throw their lofty shadows over al

Buy the green McArthur side


There’s a sharp stern call ‘ere break o’day

   Of “Horses, boys; look out, none away

Seventy horses and never a bell,

   For sure the boys must go by smell

On the dark McArthur side


They are here on camp, and breakfast through,

   So mount and ride in the morning dew,

The rails are down, the coaches pass,

   Driven away thru’ the tall cane-grass

On the rough McArthur side.


The Mundujee rides high up a limestone hill

   And searches the country ahead ahead until

He spots a mob in the cane grass-tall

   Then waves his hat to save a call

On the bright McArthur side


Then work the wind and circle wide,

   A shout, “They’re gone!” so down and ride,

Then thirteen switches slash the breeze,

   They ride with hands, and heels, and knees,

On the dense McArthur side.


A desperate race but, wheeled at last,                                                                                    

   “To the coaches, boys, now, not too fast”,

They are blocked and stopped but not for long,

   And the tying straps needs must be strong

On the wild McArthur side.


Then a cleanskin bull comes charging out,

   The coons ride with a warning shout,

But a sudden roar from the forty-four

   And his blood will stain the heard no more

 On the bold McArthur side.


Now let those who wish enjoy the fun,

   When lights are dimmed and the show’s


Or when sirens hoot and tram cars screech

   As the weekend crowds rush for the beach,

Or when whips are out as they face the


   And the favourite wins with his crushing



Or when football scores stand thirteen all,

   With a minute to go and a penalty ball,

Where every wireless set you hear

   Is blaring, “Crisis! War is near!”

Among poverty, sickness and unemployed.


Well - I forfeit my share, not the least


   For the spaces wide on McArthur run,

Where there’s action and life, and thrills, and



McArthur River (N.T.)