© Don Adams
Winner, 2014 Gilgandra Coo-ee Festival, Outback Section, Gilgandra NSW.
While driving down the many roads that cross the western plains
I'll often see a 'monster' in a paddock or the drains.
('A monster,' asks my reader. 'I'm not sure I understand.')
Well, years ago we would have done this sort of work by hand.
But now a giant ‘emu’, with a bucket for its bill,
can dig more soil than any gang and do it standing still!
An 'elephant', forged out of steel, on caterpillar tracks,
will shape a dam in no time with the power that it packs.
On cattle stations you may hear the chopper's busy sound.
It's like a giant mossie, buzzing close above the ground
to head the strays before they reach the scrub and give the slip.
So where's the good old stockman with his heeler, horse and whip?
At harvest time no rows of sheaves stand waiting in the heat.
Instead you'll see a metal 'mammoth' gobbling up the wheat.
These diggers, dozers, harvesters, machines of every kind,
now do the work of many, so the battler's left behind.
Like me. I drove great sprawling mobs, like inland seas of wool,
for many years of dust and slush and days both long and full.
But now I’m past my ‘used by’ date. Since road trains came along
you only find a drover in a poem or a song.
Computers, faxes, modems, mobile phones and Lord knows what
control things now. For mugs like me it doesn't leave a lot.
So youngsters anywhere, if you would like to grab some pelf,
try hard at school and learn some skills – or join me on the shelf.
Within my span, how times have changed! For better? I'm not sure.
The TV's here so we don't have to think much anymore.
There’s foreign tucker, faster travel, clothes from China way.
New cars are flasher, faster. Makes them better, so they say.
But all around us we can see machines at work, not men.
So if they’re used instead of blokes in nine jobs out of ten,
and if no other work’s around, we’ll surely reach a stage
when no-one's got the ready! Who buys what without a wage?