Australia Today 1916

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Australia Today 1916  (1916) 
by Banjo Paterson

They came from the lower levels
Deep down in the Brilliant mine;
From the wastes where the whirlwind revels,
Whirling the leaves of pine.

On the western plains, where the Darling flows,
And the dust storms wheel and shift,
The teamster loosened his yokes and bows,
And turned his team adrift.

On the western stations, far and wide,
There's many an empty pen,
For the "ringers" have cast the machines aside
And answered the call for men.

On the lucerne flats where the stream runs slow,
And the Hunter finds the sea,
The women are driving the mowers now,
With the children at their knee.

For the men have gone, as a man must go,
At the call of the rolling drums;
For the men have sworn that the Turks shall know
When the old battalion comes.

Column of companies by the right,
Steady in strong array,
With the sun on the bayonets gleaming bright,
The battalion marched away.

They battled, the old battalion,
Through the toil of the training camps,
Sweated and strove at lectures,
By the light of the stinking lamps.

Marching, shooting, and drilling;
Steady and slow and stern;
Awkward and strange, but willing
All of their job to learn.

Learning to use the rifle;
Learning to use the spade;
Deeming fatigue a trifle
During each long parade.

Till at last they welded
Into a concrete whole,
And there grew in the old battalion
A kind of battalion's soul.

Brotherhood never was like it;
Friendship is not the word;
But deep in that body of marching men
The soul of a nation stirred.

And like one man with a single thought
Cheery and confident;
Ready for all that the future brought,
The old battalion went.

Column of companies by the right,
Steady in strong array,
With the sun on the bayonets gleaming bright,
The battalion marched away.

How shall we tell of the landing
By the hills where the foe were spread,
And the track of the old battalion
Was marked by the Turkish dead?

With the dash that discipline teaches,
Though the hail of the shrapnel flew,
And the forts were raking the beaches,
And the toll of the dead men grew.

They fixed their grip on the gaunt hillside
With a pluck that has won them fame;
And the home-folks know that the dead men died
For the pride of Australia's name.

Column of companies by the right,
To the beat of the rolling drums;
With honours gained in a stirring fight
The old battalion comes!

This work is is in the public domain because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council (ACC), (Duration of Copyright) (February 2012).