The Heroes of Tobruk

Who comprise those gallant heroes, and where did they come from
Renowned in song and story, Aussies some thousands strong?

They are composed of Macs and O’s, with Smiths and Jones combined
With Camerons and Campbells to fortify the line.
Now famed the wide world over for the blows they gave and took
On the sandy plains of Africa, in and round Tobruk.

Now, what inspired such valour, many thousand miles from home?
It was not lust of conquest – they had plenty of their own.
It was for faith and freedom, and Australia’s honour, too,
And to stem the tide of evil and tyranny subdue.

Urged on by noble sentiments, the Aussies cannot fail.
For God and King and Country, their arms will prevail.
You may scan all history’s pages, but wherever you may look,
You’ll never meet with braver than the heroes of Tobruk.

                                                    James Sweeney (1943)

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The Malvern Star

                             by James Sweeney (1935)

I set out from Proston for old Kingaroy,The Queenslander, 13 February,1936
The going was easy, the ride was a joy;
I covered the miles without hitch or a jar
On that wonderful product – a “Malvern Star”


Hurrah for the Star,
The “Malvern Star.”
Up hill and down dale
It has carried me far.
So I sing this song
As I peddle along-
Hurrah! Hurrah!
For the “Malvern Star.”

As swift as a swallow’s flight over the plains,
I jumped little gullies and climbed up on the range;
And I once looped the loop, for there’s nothing can mar
A rider when driving a “Malvern Star”.


Hurrah for the Star,
The “Malvern Star.”
Up hill and down dale
It has carried me far.
So I sing this song
As I peddle along-
Hurrah! Hurrah!
For the “Malvern Star.”

The weight that it carries is heavy indeed,
Yet nothing appears to retard its great speed.
A boon to all travellers who can’t get a car,
The cream of the market is the “Malvern Star”.

                                     James Sweeney (1935)

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The Barron Falls

                                         by James Sweeney (1935)

Barron Falls, 1933, SLQ NEG 28063 

I have gazed on sweet Killarney, that Eden of the West,
And beauty spots in other lands, where the weary love to rest,
And all this scenic beauty fond memories recalls,
But my thoughts will always linger on the lovely Barron Falls.

Winding down the valleys the River Barron flows
To join the placid ocean, where coral beauty grows;
Enhancing more than beauty, the cedars slim and tall
Mingle with the mangoes around the Barron Falls.

Nature is most lavish in her picturesque display
Of flowers and ferns in forest glens, all in grand array;
When mind and limbs are weary I seem to hear the call:
Come back again to Cairns and the lovely Barron Falls.

                                                 J. Sweeney, (1935)

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Compare this poem to Farthest North by Victor Kennedy

The Sydney Slums

They tell us Sydney's great and grand.
I wonder why our statesmen stand
For slums that long since be banned –
Disgraceful to the nation.

Wandering through a festering slum,
I watch the faces as they come,
Undernourished, pale and glum,
I marvel at their patience.

In Campbell Street, the home of thugs,
"Metho Fiends", fleas and bugs,
A man must really be a mug,
To camp at such a station.

In a little den they called a room,
They gave to me fork, knife and spoon,
For a cup there was no room,
On the box they called a table.

And when I scrambled to my bunk,
Whether sober or half drunk,
The pests they came on me to lunch,
I kicked while I was able.

The bugs they were so big and fierce,
They blistered feet and hands and face,
And when in anger I gave chase,
We raced around the stable.

Countless fleas, both big and small,
Crawled up my legs and up the wall,
And when their raids I tried to stall,
They jumped a five foot paling.

The mosquitoes buzzing round my ears
Would make a crocodile shed tears,
And if I lived a hundred years
At them I would be swearing.

Now to Sydney I bid adieu;
I may come back, and if I do
I hope no slums will meet my view,
Where young and old are ailing.

                    James Sweeney (1943)

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