The Dingo Fence

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The Dingo Fence

Post by ALANM » Fri Apr 24, 2020 1:21 am

Authors note:
I found this verse on a website called “A Folk Song a Day”.
It describes life on the NSW Dingo border fence,
somewhere around the 1940’s / 50’s

The Border Fence (Author unknown)
I work on the border fence, a boundary rider’s mission
And you should see the old Dodge and me when her engine starts a-missin’
I wind and crank all day, to get her on her way
but the damned old thing, she needs new rings and valves ground all the way

And the station owners say, they can get no sleep
Instead they’re chasing dingoes that are killing lots of sheep
They brag about the holes they find, where the dogs just gallop through
Then go to report to the Sydney heads and half of it’s not true

You get no flaming meat, depend on myxo rabbits
A kangaroo, a galah or two, or a snake if you can grab it
But we are paid so well, or that’s what the big boys think
But the way they treat the border boys, I reckon that the whole show stinks

You’ll never keep the dingo out, it’s fifty that I’m betting
For every time he strikes a fence he’ll pull and chew the netting
Until he a makes hole to squeeze his carcass through
Then he howls all night in New South Wales, “I’ve got the best of you”

Mister Commissioner you’re the trump of the Western lands
Supply the boys a four wheel drive to pull through the drifting sands
An extra 44 each month, a quid or two more pay
We’d feel relief and banish grief and work like mad each day.

Taken from the October 1964 edition of ‘Singabout‘ collected by Glen Hamilton,
author unknown.

The 2,500km long QLD Dingo fence (A.K.A ‘Wild dog barrier fence’) joins the
NSW Dingo fence on the border near Hungerford,around 1,000km by road, west
from Brisbane.
In 2009 I took a job as a maintenance patrolman on the South West division
of the QLD Dingo fence.

The Dingo Fence
(By Alan McCosker July 2019 revised April 2020)

We work on the Dingo fence, by far the longest in the nation
two hundred miles a week we check and mend holes on ev’ry station.
Before the sun does rise each day we climb into the work truck
and head on out to patrol the fence, hopin’ we’ll have good luck.

Old timers say the dogs would chew, a hole to squeeze themselves through
now pigs and floods and kangaroos make holes for them to squeeze through.
And cattle grids on busy roads give dingoes free admittance
and sheep and cattle with emus too, on the fence create disturbance.

Times have changed since back then, the old Dodge has had her day
no more crankin’, grindin’ valves, Landcruiser now holds sway.
There’s lots of diesel in the tanks to keep us out all week
with air-conditionin’ in the cab and cool huts in which to sleep.

We still don’t get no meat but no longer live on rabbits
with our own cash we like to spend, on steak ’n’ beer ’n’ chocklits.
A car fridge keeps our beer cold, along with our steak ’n’ chocklits
old timers must turn in their graves and reckon the new show stinks.

The pay’s alright and there’s benefits, like super-annu-ation
and satellite trackin’ to keep us safe or to catch us if we’re bludgin’.
A VHF in ev’ry truck so we’ve got communication
no matter where we happen to be on the fence on any station.

The station owners still complain, ‘bout Dingoes killin’ livestock
they shoot and hang some by the road, for folks to take a snapshot.
They complain there is no value, in fundin’ miles of dog fence
but if it’s said ‘let’s pull it down’ they all cry ‘that makes no sense’.

For months and months it don’t rain much, along the Dingo fence
but when it does it buckets down, from storms that are intense.
The creeks run high and smash the fence and wash down lotsa big logs
makes it hard to patrol the fence when the day’s spent winchin’ from bogs.

The flies are so intense, it’s best you wear a head net
they’re in your eyes and in your ears and even up your nose get.
And after each and ev’ry flood, the sandflies are in millions
they dig right in when they bite your skin and give to you infections.

We work like mad each day but we’re bound by regulations
we have to obey the safety rules, which limits our intentions.
So ev’ry day at half past two, when our eight hour day is over
we have to be in a camp you see, secure in out enclosure.

The department huts are snug and cool, thanks to air-conditionin’
satellite tee vee, ‘lectrickery and gas cooker needs a mention.
To sleep on the ground in your old swag, is no longer necessary
the bunks are lined with mattresses so that ev’ryone is comfy.

Then ev’ry night before last light we call in a VHF sked
to relate to base, in detail, where each minute of our day fled.
Then we wash down tea with a cold VB, if we’re tired we can turn in
but if we’re not, we’re free to watch, tee vee until we’re yawnin’.

We work on the Dingo fence, by far the longest in the nation
two hundred miles a week we check and mend holes on ev’ry station.
But you’ll never keep the Dingo out, inside it’s so invitin’
so off we go on the next patrol, on a job that’s never endin’.

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