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The Lung Fish

Andrew Barton Paterson 1864 (Orange, New South Wales) – 1941 (Sydney, New South Wales)



The Honorable Ardleigh Wyse
Was every fisherman's despair;
He caught his fish on floating flies,
In fact he caught them in the air,
And wet-fly men -- good sports, perhaps --
He called "those chuck-and-chance-it chaps".
And then the Fates that sometimes play
A joke on such as me and you
Deported him up Queensland way
To act as a station jackaroo.
The boundary rider said, said he,
"You fish dry fly? Well, so do we.

"These barramundi are the blokes
To give you all the sport you need:
For when the big lagoons and soaks
Are dried right down to mud and weed
They don't sit there and raise a roar,
They pack their traps and come ashore.

"And all these rods and reels you lump
Along the creek from day to day
Would only give a man the hump
Who does his fishing Queensland way.
For when the barramundi's thick
We knock 'em over with a stick.

"The black boys on the Darwin side
Will fill a creek with bitter leaves
And when the fish are stupefied
The gins will gather 'em in sheaves.
Now tell me, could a feller wish
A finer way of catchin' fish?"

The stokehold of the steamship Foam
Contains our hero, very sick,
A-working of his passage home
And brandishing a blue gum stick.
"Behold," says he, "the latest fly;
It's called the Great Australian Dry."

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:11 min read
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Andrew Barton Paterson

Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson, was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales, where he spent much of his childhood. Paterson's more notable poems include "Clancy of the Overflow" (1889), "The Man from Snowy River" (1890) and "Waltzing Matilda" (1895), regarded widely as Australia's unofficial national anthem. more…

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