MIDWEEK POETRY: It’s back to Gunnedah.

‘I really must apologise, it’s supposed to be about La Perouse
but here I am on ‘olidays and lost me bleedin Muse.
He’s a noisome little wombat and does this for a lark,
or maybe ‘e doesn’t like the thought, of writin’ bout a shark.
Whatever’s in his little ‘ed, I’m sure I’ll never know,
so I resurrected Gunnedah, let’s get on with the show.’

Gunnedah toilet block


Of all the toilets I have seen,
from London Town to Narrabeen
the most poetic yet by far,
you’ll find in downtown Gunnedah.
The Man from Snowy River, on his heroic ride
greats the weary traveller, when they pull up outside.
An epic piece by Patterson, he sowed my poetic seeds,
enough, I thought I must go in and tend to my pressing needs.

The culture doesn’t stop, on the sparkling outside walls
you step inside and wonder at the verses in the stalls.
There’s one by Henry Lawson, on ‘Middleton’s Roustabout’
open the door and read, ‘he had the face of a country lout.’
Then we hear from Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant, a poet of notoriety,
bushman , stockman, soldier who led a life of great variety.
Upon the door the title, ‘When the country carried sheep’
(Australia grew off the Merino’s back,)
And we read of the trip ‘from Cunnamulla and on to the Eulo track.’

Now all the while you’re standing and attending to your needs,
Poetry is being read to you from hidden speaker feeds.
It’s something of a bother on when you first walk in,
“Now who the heck is speaking and what the heck’s this din?
It’s no different in the ladies’ loo, of that I have no doubt,
I didn’t wander in meself, I’m not a bleedin lout,
Instead I sent the missus in to do me task instead,
Taking the camera in her hand, ‘Oh this is doing in my head.’

I stood outside and waited, and explained it to the few
who tarried by the toilet block and said, ‘What do you do?’
“I’m a writer and a poet and this is my way of working,
Do you think I do this for a lark? Your leashes I’m not jerking.”
My wife returned with evidence, of further prose and verse.
Shoved the camera in my hand and said in a note so terse,
“Here you go my Darling, I hope you’re satisfied,
A woman came in and caught me. Oh God, I nearly died.”

There was verse by Louis Esson, who wrote, ‘The Shearer’s Wife,’
A tale of drudgery ‘n loneliness, a hardworking type of life.
‘Up North’ by Mary Hannay Foott, a tale of a woman’s fear.
Read it I beg and it will tell, of the loss of those so dear.
There’s ‘The Play’ by C J Dennis, read it all, it’s quite a hoot.
His quintessential Ockers, give old Shakespeare the boot.
The poem, ‘The women of the West,‘ by George Evans Essex,
Tells of the harsh unremitting life, of the colonial, fairer sex.

So there it is dear reader, I think you’ve heard it all,
of what you’ll find on the inside, of the hallowed toilet stall.
When next you stand and wash your hands in some toilet near,
or far,
Remember the poets toilet, Down Under in Gunnedah.

Laurie Smith©2013


21 thoughts on “MIDWEEK POETRY: It’s back to Gunnedah.

    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Well I’ve seen the odd one or two hundred public loos over time and believe me this one is a refreshing experience. Not a piece of graffiti or ring #### on this number for a good time. 🙂


  1. Owls and Orchids

    To dither in a dunny in outback oz
    You’ve really let the mozzie into the fog
    It’s great to see you stretch yourself
    On this overland trek
    I’m sure some time later it’ll end up on your shelf.

    Sorry, Laurie, loved the poem, colourful description of of life’s necessities are unparalleled. Enjoy the trip home.
    Ciao, Susan x


  2. Pagadan

    I enjoyed the poetry–and learning more about the Down Under toilets. Such a fantastic idea! I wonder who was responsible for the idea and who approved it.


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thanks Joy. Yes the dunnies are varied in their appearance and style but that one is a beauty. I think the local council and historical society got together on it. A famous Australian poet, Dorothea Mackellar lived near the town. She was famous for her poem A Sunburnt Country.


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thanks Susan, I had posted it in my photo section earlier in the year. Since then I have garnered a few followers of a poetic bent, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to air it again. With the added little ditty. 🙂



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