Windellama

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ALANM
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:57 pm
Location: Tasmania

Windellama

Post by ALANM » Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:12 am

Authors note:
The first year and a half of my education were spent at a
little bush school near Windellama in NSW.
My old man was employed on a sheep station in the area and we
station kids bused quite a long way each day to school and back.
Having no kinder available, I started in grade one with kids who
were a year or more older than me, hard yards at times.

WINDELLAMA
(By Alan McCosker February 2020)
At four tender years, one less than my peers
at a little bush school back o’ yonder
my education began, despite all my fears
as I stepped down off the bus at Windellama

It was such a long trip, seemed to go on forever
down a long, rough and dusty bush roadway
the trip was made tolerable by our venerable bus driver
who sang every song that he knew, out loudly

By the side of the road and nowhere near a town
‘round the school, wildlife did richly abound
bush birds sang all day, the most beautiful sound
but for the magpies, always there swooping down

Such a long time ago, my memory’s now past
recalling names, let alone any faces
but I do remember, bein’ the youngest and slowest
I came last in all the sporting day races

We played ‘neath the trees, out of the sun
with a wooden ruler tied on a long string
swung ‘round your head it made a loud hum
the best players made that old ruler sing

I wish I could recall the names of my mentors
I just remember their kindly forbearance
as they taught a wee tyke to face up to tormentors
with no mum there to run interference

I remember one time, when we had show and tell
all the kids from the district did bring
their favourite pets, horses, goats, dogs as well
my bottle-fed lamb, had no chance in the ring

A few miles up the road, at a community shed
they held dances and big xmas parties
much beer and wine, caused the adults sore heads
while us kids wolfed down cakes and meat pasties

A challenge for anyone, who was tanked-up and keen
was to stay on a buckjumping oil drum
four tall posts in loose holes, drum slung in between
on which a saddle was fastened to sit on

A long rope on each post was avidly manned
and when the ropes were pulled out of sequence
the rider would be unceremoniously dumped
to come down hard on the sand there beneath it

I remember one time, it rained the whole day
and the road home was cut by flood water
food and blankets were found and we had to stay
we slept, spread ‘round the floors in class order

At recess some times, we’d play games of marbles
everyone had their favourite taw
some of those kids, shot their taw straight like rifles
when I tried to copy, it just made my thumb sore

Big grey kangaroos would camp on the grass
when it was watered, through the dry summer
it was best to avoid getting up too close
and wake an old buck from his noon-day slumber

In the heat of the summer, the cicadas would come
happily beating their little drums loudly
if you could find a drummer, he was a trophy for some
but the others just pissed on you madly

The odd snake or two, would slide by the rooms
the teachers, mostly let them go by
but if they tried to slide under the classrooms
they’d be despatched, to snake heaven in the sky

I can’t remember, if I was top or bottom of class
most likely, it was somewhere between
but I remember I had to learn really fast
to catch up with the rest of the team

Half the way through, my second year at Windellama
my family moved away from the station
I had to start a new school and also get over
a longer bus ride, to a school near Marulan

The year I turned sixty I found my way back
to that little school where I started my learning
it was on a weekend, so no kids were about
and the day was cool, but sunny and charming
as I leaned on the gate, I had an irrelevant thought
the school was the same, old faded cream colour
just like it was when that four year old tyke
first stepped down off a bus at Windellama

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Shelley
Posts: 1944
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 pm
Location: Maryborough, Queensland
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Re: Windellama

Post by Shelley » Thu Mar 05, 2020 5:01 pm

Old bush schools hold so many memories, Alan!

I've just been fortunate enough to win first prize in the Boyup Brook written poetry competition with my poem "In Praise of the One Teacher School" which is a true story about my husband's childhood school at Kia-Ora in Queensland, near Gympie.

I'm about to send my poem to Greg for the ABPA poetry page (as we are invited to do with prize-winners), so I will let you know when it appears and you can read it. See if it brings back memories!

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

ALANM
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:57 pm
Location: Tasmania

Re: Windellama

Post by ALANM » Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:32 pm

Hi Shelley,
I'm sure it will, look forward to the read
Cheers
Alan

User avatar
Shelley
Posts: 1944
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 pm
Location: Maryborough, Queensland
Contact:

Re: Windellama

Post by Shelley » Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:22 pm

Hi again Alan

My poem "In Praise of the One Teacher School" is now loaded on the ABPA Poetry page.

You can read it here: https://www.abpa.org.au/Files/award-poe ... ansen.html

Hope you enjoy and can relate to it.

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

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