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Knights Of The Never Never

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis 1876 (Auburn) – 1938 (Melbourne)

When I rode with young Sid Kidman out across the Yarrowie Plain
In that year the Long Drought ended, and the northlands smiled again
As we took the old Tarcowie track and on to Booleroo,
His keen eye scanned the country, and we yarned of men we knew:
Mal Murray and Jim Spicer, of Jasser and Judell,
Bill Mitchell and old stagers whom I still remember well;
And he told of chance-missed fortunes when the game was in his grasp,
Of life along The Barrier with German Charlie Rasp.

Now, back in Kidman country where the grizzled bushmen are,
In many a stark out-station, o'er many a shanty bar,
The drovers' drawling voices talk about 'Old Sid' today:
'Bushmen like him ain't raised no more,' the grizzled veterans say,
For o'er the furthest saltbush lands his questing mind went out
To glimpse high opportunity where others saw black drought.
Shrewd-eyed, yet greatly daring, laughing he ventured forth
To stake his luck, his judgment 'gainst swift treacheries 'up north.'

'I mind the time I rode with him,' a wizened stockman says.
'He knowed that country like a map, an' all the tricks an' ways.
'Aye, and he knowed the cattle game.' The voices drone and drawl,
Till, 'The time I rode for Kidman,' is the burden of them all.
'Deserved his luck? Too right he did, seein' how he began;
But times like them don't come again for us or any man.
Them meddlin' airyplans an' sich brings old days to an end.'
And so they mourn, no magnate, but a bushman and a friend.

So the best-known bushman passes in the fullness of his years;
And, with his passing, so an olden order disappears
Sid Kidman, Jimmy Tyson - rugged princes of Outback,
Who sought their fortunes far afield along the arid track;
Strong men who, taking heart of grace, unflinchingly rode forth
To play a rough, grim game, and win, against the stubborn North;
To become a land's tradition, future figures of romance,
Busmen who fought and loved their bush; the men who took a chance.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis, better known as C. J. Dennis, was an Australian poet known for his humorous poems, especially "The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke", published in the early 20th century. Though Dennis's work is less well known today, his 1915 publication of The Sentimental Bloke sold 65,000 copies in its first year, and by 1917 he was the most prosperous poet in Australian history. Together with Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, both of whom he had collaborated with, he is often considered among Australia's three most famous poets. While attributed to Lawson by 1911, Dennis later claimed he himself was the 'laureate of the larrikin'. When he died at the age of 61, the Prime Minister of Australia Joseph Lyons suggested he was destined to be remembered as the 'Australian Robert Burns'. more…

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