Brian Dunnett & Mark Gregory . . . research archive
The Northern Mail is moving fast
With seven hundred souls;
Though many vow this ride’s their last,
The fireman shovels coal.
Who knows the drama buried here
Within this lurching throng?
Who knows what tales of love and fear—
Who knows who’s right—or wrong?
There’s cutters, shearers, spielers, thugs,
Commercials with cigars
With town-men, bushmen, bad men, mugs,
They jostle through the cars.
The Northern Mail goes roaring on,
A comet through the night;
The sun goes down, the bush has gone,
The farm-lamps fly from sight.
And some arrange, with weary hand,
A bundle in the rack;
Only the bush can understand
Their fate—along the track….
And some for health and pleasure go,
And some go riding free,
And some sleep now who do not know
Where their next bed will be.
God knows what’s in those trunks and ports,
Or where they’ve been—and why;
The whistle screams, the head-lamp glows,
The Northern Mail flies by.
There are sleepers restless of the roar,
But few of them recall,
For some can sleep upon the floor;
And some don’t sleep at all.
Some day, perhaps, I’ll put down roots,
Hear no more ‘Tickets please’
And bid farewell to smoke and soot,
Farewell to cramp and fleas.
The Northern Mail comes panting by,
We rattle round the bend;
For some, new roads of life begin,
For others, old ones end.