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The Travelling Post Office

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

The roving breezes come and go, the reed-beds sweep and sway,
The sleepy river murmers low,and loiters on its way,
It is the land of lots o'time along the Castlereagh.
. . .. . . . .

The old man's son had left the farm, he found it full and slow,
He drifted to the great North-west, where all the rovers go.
"He's gone so long," the old man said, "he's dropped right out of mind,
But if you'd write a line to him I'd take it very kind;
He's shearing here and fencing there, a kind of waif and stray--
He's droving now with Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh.

"The sheep are travelling for the grass, and travelling very slow;
Tey may be at Mundooran now, or past the Overflow,
Or tramping down the black-soil flats across by Waddiwong;
But all those little country towns would send the letter wrong.
The mailman, if he's extra tired, would pass them in his sleep;
It's safest to address the note to 'Care of Conroy's sheep,'
For five and twenty thousand head can scarcely go astray,
You write to 'Care of Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh.'"

. . .. . . ... .. . ...

By rock and ridge and riverside the western mail has gone
Across the great Blue Mountain Range to take the letter on.
A moment on the topmost grade, while open fire-doors glare,
She pauses like a living thing to breathe the mountain air,
Then launches down the other side across the plains away
To bear that note to "Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh,"

And now by coach and mailman's bag it goes from town to town,
And Conroy's Gap and Conroy's Creek have marked it "Further down."
Beneath a sky of deepest blue, where never cloud abides,
A speck upon the waste of plain the lonely mail-man rides.
Where fierce hot winds have set the pine and myall boughs asweep
He hails the shearers passing by for news of Conroy's sheep.
By big lagoons where wildfowl play and crested pigeons flock,
By camp-fires where the drovers ride around their restless stock,
And pass the teamster toiling down to fetch the wool away
My letter chases Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh.
 

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:53 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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