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Poetry, by and about the Diggers in all their wars.

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Pack up all your bags and kit,
Puckapunyal's' up to shit,
Bye-bye Pucka,
Stew for breakfast,
Stew for tea,
No more bloody stew for me,
Bye-bye Pucka.

No more hiking over bloody mountains,
We'll be drinking nice cold beer from fountains.
No more blanco, no more brass,
You can stick them up your arse,
Pucka bye-bye

to the tune of Bye Bye Blackbird..c.1942


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  • We are the ANZAC Army

    • The A. eN. Zed. A. Cee.

    • We cannot shoot, 

    • We don't salute

    • What bloody good are we ?

  • And when we get to Berlin

    • The Kaiser, he will say

    • Hoch, Hoch, Mien Gott !

    • What a bloody odd lot

    • to get six bob a day.

A popular WW1 ditty

  • A Tribute to the Digger. Copyright Sid Brown

    • Many times on a foreign shore
      • There came an Aussie and then came more
      • They came in groups and then in waves
      • And there they died, I’ve seen their graves.
      • They saw their duty, they heard the call
      • Many would go and many would fall.
    • Renowned for being a carefree band
      • They left their footprints in a far-off land.
      • Far from their families and gold of the wattle,
      • No song of the bellbirds, just noise of a battle.
      • And those that came home carry ghosts in their eyes,
      • The world’s saddest music, "The Last Post" brings sighs.
    • But with the beat of a drum, old diggers stand tall
      • And talk to the children, too young for the call.
      • "Take care of our country - don’t leave it to the few,
      • Be vigilant always, we did it for you".
      • A new generation has now gone to war,
      • And our thoughts are with them on that dusty shore.
    • When bullets are flying and bombs bursting loud,
      • We know you’ll have courage and you’ll do us proud.
      • When the conflict is over and you’re home with your friends
      • You’ll live in our hearts long after it ends.
      • Stand tall like the diggers who’ve all gone before
      • Who’ve all had the courage to face up to war.

On a wall outside the Sari Club Bali, after the terrorist bombing

Spirit of Oz 

  • You hurt us bombing Bali, we we can take the pain
    • But if you think you'll beat us you can think a-bloody-gain
    • We battled at Gallipoli and we fought the bloody Hun,
    • of all the arse-holes we've had to face you're just another one
  • You won't get your hands dirty, you won't fire a gun,
    • Whenever danger threatens you just pack your bags and run
    • You brainwash innocent children to do your evil deeds
    • careful not to let them know just where it really leads
  • You get them to believe all your bigotry and lying
    • Until they cannot see there's no glory in their dying.
    • Now, we'd like to pose a question, answer if you can, 
    • Where does your holy book tell you to kill your fellow man?
  • Now listen hard and listen well, we're giving you the word
    1. You're never going to beat us, you spineless bloody turd
    2. You'd never face us personally, you haven't got the guts
    3. You know that if you ever did, we'd have your bloody nuts.
  • Our spirit is unbroken, and our heads are still unbowed
    1. We sure as hell aren't scared of you and your gutless crowd
    2. So...get you act'll never win because
    3. What you're really up against is The Spirit That Is Oz!
Eulogy for a Veteran

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the Gentle autumn rain

When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush

of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.

Author Unknown

The soldier 

Antoine de Saint Expury

The soldier is not a man of violence.
He carries arms and risks his life
for mistakes not of his making.
He has the merit of being unflinchingly
true to his word, to the end,
while knowing that he will be forgotten.

Green And Gold Malaria By Rupert McCall

The day would soon arrive when I could not ignore the rash
I was obviously ill so I called on Doctor Nash
This standard consultation would adjudicate my fate
I walked into his surgery and gave it to him straight

'Doc, I wonder if you might explain this allergy of mine
I get these pins and needles running up and down my spine
From there across my body it will suddenly extend -
My neck will feel a shiver and my hairs will stand on end

And then there is a symptom that a man can only fear
A choking in the throat and a crying of a tear
Well, the doctor scratched his melon with a rather worried look
His furrowed brow suggested that the news to come was crook

'What is it Doc", I motioned "have I got a rare disease?"
"I'm man enough to cop it so give it to me please"
I'm not to sure, he answered in a puzzled kind of way
You've got some kind of fever, but it's hard for me to say

When is it that you feel this most peculiar condition?
I thought for a moment, then I gave him my position
I get it when I'm standing at an ANZAC Day parade
I get it when the anthem of our native land is played

And I get it when Meninga makes a Kiwi crunching run
And when Border grits his teeth to score a really gutsy ton
I got it back in '91 when Farr-Jones held the cup
And I got it when Japan was stormed by Better Loosen Up

I get it when the banjo takes me down the Snowy River
And Matilda sends me waltzing with a billy boiling shiver
It hit me hard when Sydney was awarded with the games
And I get it when I see our farmers fighting for their names

It flattened me when Bertrand raised the boxing kangaroo
And when Perkins smashed the record, well, the rashes were true blue
So, tell me Doc, I questioned Am I really gonna die?
He broke into a smile before he looked me in the eye

As he fumbled with his stethoscope and pushed it out of reach
he wiped away a tear and gave this stirring speech
From the beaches here in Queensland, to the sweeping shores of Broome
On the harbour banks of Sydney with the Waratahs in bloom

From Uluru at sunset to the mighty Tasman Sea
In the Adelaide cathedrals, at the roaring MCG

From the Great Australian Bight up to the Gulf of Carpentaria
The Medical Profession call it "Green and Gold Malaria

But forget about the textbooks, son, the truth I shouldn't hide
The rash you've contracted here is 'good old Aussie pride'
I'm afraid that you were born with it and one thing is for sure -
You'll die with it, young man, for there isn't any cure.


  • I've traveled down some lonely roads

    • Some crooked tracks and straight

    • And I've learned life’s noblest creed

    • Summed up in one word    MATE!

  • And thinking back across the years

    • A thing I do a lot of, of late

    • This word sticks between me ears

    • You've got to have a MATE!

  • Me mind goes back to 42

    • to slavery and hate

    • One man’s chance to stay alive

    • Depended on his MATE

  • You would slip and slither through the mud

    • and curse Your rotten fate

    • Then you'd hear a quiet word

    • Don't drop your bundle MATE

  • Although it’s all so long ago

    • This truth I have to state

    • A man don't know what lonely means

    • Until he‘s lost his MATE

  • If there’s a life that follows this

    • If there’s a golden gate

    • The welcome I just want to hear

    • Is just 'Good on yer MATE'

  • And so to all that ask us why

    • We keep these special days

    • Like ANZAC DAY, I answer

    • Why we're thinking of our MATES!

The Driver

What kind of man was this driver?
Of brawn and baulk as solid as the earth
With his grip of steel and hoop iron girth
He and his team they proved their worth
      Over and Over

Where did he come from, this driver?
Turned from the plough,
and summer days of gathering hay
Or was it a city brewer's dray?
To this his nation's debt to pay
      Over and Over

What did he do this driver?
He came to fight the war
for king and country, so he said
And having said with nought to dread
      Over and Over

Where is he now, this driver?
for both his team and he are long since gone
It's true, but now, since armies still march on
      He passed the load to me, his son.

Grandpa, What Did You Do In The War?

I’d been mowing the lawn and pulling some weeds, and slipped inside for a breather
I picked up the paper and turned on the news, not paying attention to either
When my grandson came in with a look on his face and a question that hit me full bore
An innocent question, no intention to hurt, “Grandpa, what did you do in the war”?

My skin went all creepy, I had sweat on my brow, my mind shot back fifty years
To bullets that thudded and whined all around, to terror, to nightmares, to tears
I was crawling through mud, I was shooting at men, tried to kill them before they killed me
Men who had wives and children at home, just like mine, just like my family.

“What did you do in the war?” he had asked, a question not meant to cause pain
But it brought back the horrors I’d left far behind in a deep dark recess of my brain
I remembered the bombs being dropped from the planes, the explosions, the screams, and the loss
Of a friend - or an enemy - but a life just the same, replaced by a small wooden cross.

The visions attacked me of tramping through jungles, hot and stinking, with leeches and flies
Of orders that seemed to make no sense at all - of distrust, of suspicions, of lies
I lived once again all those terrible storms, the dysentery, fever, the snakes,
The blisters that lived with me month after month, all those blunders, and costly mistakes.

But how could I tell the boy all about that, ’Twould be better if he didn’t know
It’s a part of my life that I don’t talk about from a good half a century ago
So I gulped, took a breath and tried to sound calm, and bid him to sit at my side
Then opened my mouth to say a few words, but the tears welled up and I cried.

He cuddled to me with a look of concern, and I mumbled of feeling unwell
Then took hold of myself, blew hard on my nose, while I thought of some tales I could tell
“What did I do in the war,” I began, then the stories began tumbling out
And they flowed with such ease I felt better again, and got over my pain and my doubt.

I told him of how I had made many friends, how I’d trained and had gone overseas
Made a joke of how seasick I’d been on the way, almost dirtied myself when I’d sneezed
I told of the joy of the letters from home, of the hand-knitted socks and the cake
That I got for my birthday but three weeks too late ’cause it went somewhere else by mistake.

We talked about mateship and what it had meant to trust someone else with your life
And of when I came home to my family again, to my kids, Mum and Dad, and my wife
Of the crowd on the wharf, the bands, and the pomp, and the pride I felt in the parade
But I’m not ashamed that I hood-winked the boy, a decision I’m glad that I made.

He can grow up without seeing fear in my eyes, or know of the terror I knew
For he’d not understand - and neither he should - all those memories that hit me anew
But maybe some day when he’s older than now, I will tell him what war did to me
But with luck he won’t ask me ever again, about wars that never should be.

Jeff Cook

The Final Inspection Dedicated to all that served........

The soldier stood and faced God
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as brightly as his brass.

Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?

The soldier squared his shoulders and
said, No, Lord, I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry guns
can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough;
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills just got to steep.

And I never passed a cry for help;
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fear.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had to much;
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly
For the judgment of his God.

Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets;
You've done your time in Hell.

A Soldier Died Today

by Larry Vaincourt

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
and he sat around the RSL telling stories of the past,
of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done
in his exploits with his cobbers; they were heroes everyone.

And tho' sometimes to his neighbours, his tales became a joke,
all his Digger mates, they listened, for they knew where of he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer, for old Bill has passed away...
and the world's a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
for he lived an ordinary and quietly uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
and the world won't note his passing, 'though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
while thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories from the time that they were young.
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land,
a guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who in times of war and strife,
goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician's stipend and the style in which he lives,
are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offers up his all,
is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

It is so easy to forget them, for it was so long ago.
That the old " Bills " of our Country went to battle but we know,
it wasn't the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger with your enemies at hand,
would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier who has sworn to defend...
His home, His Kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin
but his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier's part,
is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot grant him honour while he's here to hear the praise,
then at least let's give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper it could say,
Our country is in mourning, for a soldier died today. 

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