“An Ode” by Steamtrunk Kelly

Jubilee Coin blog


It turns out there’s a history of poetry in my family as I have unearthed a poem written by my second great grandfather in 1887. It was the year of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and the Empire was in the mood for a party. None were more enthusiastic than the City of Adelaide who planned a new exhibition hall to mark the event. Inspired by London’s highly successful Great Exhibition of 1851 funds were raised and doubters were dispatched. The event was a great success, as was the Jubilee Exhibition Hall which has long since been demolished; a vestige of which remains is a fountain which now resides outside of Adelaide Arcade in Rundle Mall.


To add some context, this was prior to WWI and indeed the Boer war.



I looked up ‘Cojamana’ and couldn’t find anything but assume that it’s some kind of plant. A  ‘roundelay’ is a short, simple song with a refrain.



Born of the foam like the Goddess of Love,

With a coral rock for a throne,

Where the Austral waves kiss the glittering sand

Of Australia’s bright happy glorious land,

A maiden she slept all alone,

And the stealthy blacks, with their panther-like tread,

Ever let her sleep on e’en as though she were dead.

Yet the waves with their musical air,

The winds in her soft golden hair,

The seagulls, and sunshine,

Cojamana, and woodbine,

Sang sweetly this gentle refrain-


“Awake from thy slumbers, sweet maiden,

Shake the fetters of sleep from thine eyes;

With silver and gold you are laden,

O, awaken and learn to be wise.

The nations have heard of your beauty,

Of your river, your mountain, and dell,

Creation’s great God seeks your duty,

O, awake from your slumberous spell.”



Britannia looked forth from her sea-girt isle,

And she loved this maiden so lone;

She stretched out her arms with a mother’s sweet care,

And commanded her stalwart sons to prepare

O’er the seas to this shore to be borne.

They have stepped on the strand where the lov’d maiden lay;

With a true British cheer they have chased sleep away.

The flower-spangled hills re-echo

The shouts of the brave and the free.

Rosella and skylark,

Silver-wattle and string-bark,

Thus hopefully sang then to thee.


“Awake from thy slumbers, sweet maiden,

Ope thine eyes to the good and the great,

See thy sisters around thee all laden,

Winged steeds speed thy glorious fate,

For the Saxon, the Celt, and the Teuton,

Will guide thee glory and fame,

And give thee amidst all the nations,

A great and a glorious name.”



Erect ‘neath the shade of an aged gumtree

She stood mid that little brave hand,

Homage then swore to their God and the Crown,

And then bowed that nor care nor dark gloomy frown

Should light on her fair, beauteous land.

Forth they sped to the forests, the gullies and dells,

Hopeful hearts full of joy as the old marriage bells,

Mid perfume of newly-trod flowers,

The chatter of laughing Ha-ha,

Rosella and love-bird,

Gum-blossom and Lyre-bird,

Thus proudly of her sand then.


“On her throne sits the Austral maiden;

Sits the still never slumbering queen;

They come to her palace all laden,

Neér a care has she ever T ween-

Virgin earth has entwined the ploughshare,

Shining metals have gazed on the sun,

And the nations have learned to love her,

For the honor by industry won.”



Clothed in bright verdure the mountain slopes shine

And the kine in contentment lie,

The white lambkin sports with the limpid dew,

And the proud Austral steed so fleet and so true

Lifts his beautiful head on high,

The strong patient oxen o’er mountain and plain

Drag the fleecy wool in the loaded wain,


The sinewy stockman gallops apace,

Must’ring young steers for the market-place,

And he sings as he flies

Tween the earth and bright skies

This joyous roundelay –


“Thanks, oh thanks, sweet Austral maiden;

A thousand thanks sweet Princess mine,

For your sunny hills with verdure laden,

For your juice of the luscious vine;

And bless thee for blue skies and sunshine,

And your showers of generous rain,

And the rigour of freedom that fills me
With love for my own fellow men”



Arranged in fine raiment the fair maiden dwelt

In her city just over the sea;

The busy throng eager for wealth and for rest,

Pace northward and southward and east and west,

Yet then toil right merrily.

In loving wefts bound to her own mother land,

Australia and Britain forward go on hand in hand,

Her sons and her daughters ever revere

Our Queen and old England of memory dear.

And then sing as they go

On their cheerful may

Unto thee this roundelay-

“Years fifty have gone since this maiden
Shook the fetters of sleep from her eyes,

Ships go forth from her granaries laden,
She has waken’d and learned to be wise.

The iron steed pants through her cities,

The great river brings down her store,

And our kind Austral maid ever pities
God’s own children- the needy and poor.”



Crowned and bedecked at her wide palace gate
In her city just over the sea,

With ourstretched arms to the nations that come

She bids them good welcome to this her fair home,

And the bells then ring out merrily.

Around her all glit’ring with gems and with gold,

Stand her fine lovely sisters of whom it is told,

That they love this sweet maiden

With fruit and corn laden,

And she sings as they come

To her warm sunny home

This noble roundelay-


“Lo, waving grain gilds all the meadows,

Hark! the bleating of flocks in the hills,

See the tall chimneys cast their shadows

Where my artisans toil in their mills,

My cellars with mine are o’erflowing,

Of learning my schools have full store,

And the spires of my temples are glowing,

Where my people Jehovah adore.



“My armour is shining and ready

Hearths and homes, and my honour, to shield,

Brave gunners and riflemen steady,

Ane prepared to die brave on the field.

Rifts the ambient air the light football,

Shouts the throng with heartiest praise,

Flies the batsman with nimblest footfall

In the Englishman’s game of old days.


“At my portals, a proud Austral maiden,

I hold forth my welcome to all.

Come nations with untold wealth laden,

Come feast in my Jubilee Hall.

Tell the tale to our dear ones in Britain,

How, with fifty years heavenly aid,

From an idle sleep softly awakened,

I’ve become a rich South Austral maid.”

Do You Want To Know A Secret?




Come let me show you the secret of life

I’ve known it awhile same goes for the wife

We keep it out there, way out the back

Watch out for snakes and keep to the track

Fresh air and sunshine how blessed are we

When you open your eyes there is plenty to see.

Don’t mind old ‘Bluey’ he usually don’t bite

But if he starts growlin’ just RUN for your life.

He guards the secret to keep it from thieves

Brothers and sisters you had better believe

Open the gate even though it ain’t locked

It’s always been there so prepare to be shocked

We’ve finally arrived and admission is free

Ancient knowledge is yours and here is the key.

The cycle of life resides here in the garden

There can’t you see, Joni’s billion year old carbon.

Providing for family their personal food bowl

Pulling up weeds is good for our souls

It grounds you and your fingernails to good mother earth

At least that is my thinking For What It’s Worth

I feel part of the cosmos at least for a while

Down by the fish pond and the concrete sundial

Surrounded by hollyhock, lupines and limes

You hear primal echoes reverberate through time

Everywhere is art it’s a privilege to see

The flowers in bloom and the birds and the bees.

This day I’ll be Adam and you can be Eve,

I’ll tell the boss lies and take my ‘sick leave’.

Darwin Harbor by Carpetbag Kelly

Darwin Poem final sm

Here is another poem from my Dad which I’ve been saving for Anzac Day.


There is no further problem

That life holds out for me

Living in our little home

Beside the northern sea.


But fifty years or so ago

It wasn’t all that way

As the sounds of battle fierce rang out

Across Arafura Bay.


Sometimes on a peaceful night

I hear the fighters roar

As they came to fight the fight

That was the last Great War.


Wave after wave of zeros

Up the harbor flew

Killing all before them

On the water calm and blue


And as I think of aircraft

Swooping from the North,

I call to mind the heroes

That this war then brought forth.


There was the US Perry

Guns blazing as she sank;

It was not the Royal Navy

That Australians had to thank.


For in our days of peril

(Now let this truth abound),

It was not our British cousins

Who put leather to the ground.


Yet now the Darwin Harbor,

Free from fight and fear,

Is a wonder unaffected

By that war of yesteryear.




Throughout this land so fair and wide

Wherever I may roam,

The Darwin Harbor will abide

As my most precious home.


High Plains Drifter

High Plains Drifter

Vengeance had God on his side and a badge which shimmered in the sunlight as it flickered through the tree line. Just below the ridge doggedly following the trail of the murderous scum that had butchered his sweet family. Justice was coming just as sure as night followed day. It was the time of blood and dying. Once over the peak the squinted eyes surveyed the hombre’s in the distance. Giddy up boy! The clip clop was replaced with horseshoe thunder heralding the coming apocalypse. With a pounding heart good faced off evil. Blue, steel clasped with white alabaster and sheathed in angry tooled leather confronted the trilogy from the badlands. There was no need for words in this final battle, Complete silence….until the black hat desecrated the honor with a concealed Winchester. To no avail, crack, crack, crack the good the bad and the ugly fell heavily into the dust. The universe was re-calibrated and Ennio Morricone reigned supreme.

WHISPERING WALLS by Carpetbag Kelly

St Patricks

Here is a wonderful poem by my father;

I look down from the balcony
And my vision falls
On that part of the building
Made up of bluestone walls.

Sometimes I hear the clacking
As the trowels lay down the base;
Sometimes the hammers tapping
As the stones are laid in place.

And I see the ancient foreman
With a plumb bob in his hand
Saying “Thin the mix there Norman
Add just a little sand”.

Now the stones remain quite perfect
And the joints are neat and grey;
Are the ghostly hands that laid them
Still maintaining them today?

Forty years or so before
The First World War began
The masons worked hard to ensure
The joints all level ran.

Now their children’s, children’s children
Have multiplied a score
From their father’s, father’s father
Who built the walls next door.


Is the skill of the old masons,
Who lie beneath the clay,
By technology diluted
In the masons of today?

I Like Cheese by Dufflehead Kelly

Emmental Swiss cheese isolated on a white studio background.

Here is a poem by my 14 year old son;

I Like cheese oh beautiful cheese

lovely texture big amounts lots of cheese

cheese all day cheese on crackers cheese on burgers

cheese on toast Cheese on toasties cheese sandwich

Cheese on Cheese oh beautiful cheese makes me warm inside boy oh boy I like cheese.

Happy Birthday Baghead


Today is my birthday, hip, hip, hooray,
I’m stuck with the kids while my wife’s run away.
I thought I was good but it can’t be so,
cause the wife’s runnin wild with her pack of lesbos.
Next week I suppose, we’ll all re-attend,
Our life as it appears, so not to offend.

The Garbage Man

Baghead Glenrowan

Collector of plastic collector of cans
who might it be but the old garbage man.
At sunrise he toiled and worked hard for his quid
he drove the truck and behind tagged the kid.

The kid was a star down the old footy club
the old man his trainer, mentor and bud.
Together they worked and together they earned
though not related it was together they learned.

There ages were different and so were their fates
it made not a difference cause they were best mates.
But one day through the valley in rode the court jester,
a boil in the district full of puss, yet to fester.

He spoke the vernacular of silver forked tongue,
he stood on his soap box each day in the sun.
Where was he from……well it wasn’t from here,
but he had a vision, although it wasn’t quite clear.

“Revitalized, modernized, everything new,
strategically, developed – for just me and you.
Sustainable living amongst urban sprawl,
economic growth well it benefits you all”
The people they listened and bugger me dead,
the people were mesmerised with each word that he said.
But I thought to myself, this is garbage, Man!,
I heard all the words but I didn’t understand.

Well one day in the yard the boys they were told
that their services weren’t needed, that their methods were old.
A contract was written, without their consent,
drafted by lawyers and set in cement.

Everyone was sad – to see the boys leave the show,
fellas could you clean out your lockers fore you go.

The new bloke’s alright – he does the work of two,
with shiny hydraulics in his truck spankin’new.
His shirt is fluorescent and he’s usually not late,
don’t know his name yet he’s from interstate.

Sometimes at Christmas when I’d put out a beer,
I think of those garbo’s who were mates yesteryear.
The young kid he shot through, looking for work,
forgot about footy and now he’s a clerk.

As for the old boy from what I understand,
he travels the roadways looking for cans.
As time it rolls on its abundantly clear,
we all have a due date and yours…..is it near?

The Look

The Look

With insincere sincerity
The best that could be mustered
I heard the words and caught the look
that caused me to be flustered

“would you like a canapé Sir?

Well upon a time I could see
that she was once a flower
head held high in dignity
for a mere ten bucks an hour.

but caste my way and said that day
A servant to their master
Know not they to whom they serve
In this class system disaster

For who be I that lives this lie
and garners such respect
A fraud I’m sure, unpleasantly
reminded to reflect