Home >  Blog >  Contact with an author & a satirical poem some might find useful

Contact with an author & a satirical poem some might find useful

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 20 June 2014

I recently enjoyed Peter FitzSimons' book Eureka: The unfinished revolution (listening to the audiobook version in the car) and sent a message via the publisher suggesting that, if he had not encountered it during his research, the author might enjoy the satirical poem of the time shown below.

I received a response advising that the message had been passed on and then a few weeks later received an email from FitzSimons himself with the following in the message line:

  • Garry, I never saw that poem, but I LIKE it! Thanks for sharing, Peter

The poem is as follows. I think I originally encountered it in a collection of documents for teaching Australian history. Perhaps some teachers might like it too and find it useful for teaching about satire.

Captain Bumble’s letter by Charles Thatcher

Don’t talk about Sebastopol,
The Russian War is flat now.
Just listen to despatches
Just come from Ballarat now.
Our noble Governor, Sir Charles,
And where is there a better,
Has permitted us to publish
Captain Bumble’s private letter.

He writes thus to His Excellency,
‘Myself and Major Stiggins
Got our brave fellows all equipped
And started for the diggins.
Our band struck up God Save the Queen,
Into cheers our men were bursting,
And every gallant soldier was
For glorious action thirsting.

‘Our first attack was on two drays
Which we saw in the distance,
But the enemy surrendered
After just a slight resistance.
We were disappointed in our search
Of these two wretched traitors,
For instead of seizing powder
They were loaded with potatoes.

‘We marched but were obliged to halt
On behalf of Sergeant Trunnions,
Who was unable to proceed
On account of having bunions.
We stationed pickets all around
To give us timely warning
And there we bivouacked and slept
Till nine the following morning.

‘At length into the diggins,
Footsore our men did tramp there,
And we took up our position
Within the Gov’ment camp there;
Provisions were served out to all
And my very soul it tickles
To contemplate their ravages
On the cold boiled beef and pickles.

‘We watched at night, but all was still:
For glory we were yearning,
And we fired upon a tent in which
A candle was seen burning.
We killed a woman and a child
Though ‘twas not our intention;
But that slight mistakes occur
Of course I needn’t mention.

‘At length in earnest was the strife:
While buried in their slumbers,
We made a bold and desperate charge
And cut them down in numbers.
Our gallant fellows fought like bricks,
The rebels were defeated,
And then by hundreds off they ran
And to the bush retreated.

‘Thus all is quiet and I now
Subscribe myself your humble
Devoted servant of the Crown,
Frederick Augustus Bumble.

Postscript –
Pray send us up some good cheroots
And anything that’s handy
And by all means, pray don’t forget
We’re nearly out of brandy.’
 

Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past PresidentAuthor: Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President
About: Garry Collins was ETAQ President from mid July 2005 to 15 March 2014. He taught English in state high schools for around 35 years and now tutors in English curriculum courses in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.
Tags: General news

Post comment

Upcoming Events

Early Career Conference

The Early Career Conference will be held at the University of Southern Queensland, Springfield Campus.  The program is now available here and will be mailed to members later this week. Registrations are now open and will close on Sunday 20th October, 2019. You may register online or by completing the registration form and mailing it ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 26th October 2019
Venue:   Springfield Campus of USQ
Venue Address:   USQ Springfield Campus, 37 Sinnathamby Blvd, Springfield Central 4300
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


An Afternoon of Moderation

The Darling Downs Branch will present an afternoon of moderation on Wednesday 30 October from 3:30 - 5:30. This will allow members and teachers to participate in an afternoon of moderation.  These professional conversations will be conducted in a collegial manner, and allow teachers to read responses to FIA4 written by a range of stu...

Category:   Workshop
Start Time:   3:30 PM
Date:   Wednesday 30th October 2019
Venue:   Fairholme College
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Grammar Day 2019

ETAQ will be condudcting another of the very successful grammar days on Saturday 9th November  at Iona College, Wynnum. Download the flyer for further information. Registrations will open on Monday 30 September and close on Monday 28 October 2019.   ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 9th November 2019
Venue:   Iona College


National Conference, Melbourne

The AATE National Conference will be held in Melbourne from 30 November to 3rd December. The theme is My story flows in more than one direction: power of story, politics of voice. The program is available here; visit the conference website Early bird registration closes on 20 September. A range of prices includes $550 for personal mem...

Category:   National Conference
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 30th November 2019
Venue:   Melbourne, various locations


View all

Latest News

 

Meet Boori at UQ on Monday 23rd September from 8:30 am

Details available here

View all

Blog Feed

Grammar myths

Sep 12 2017
An edited version of the letter below was pu...

Impact on learning

Sep 12 2017
The following letter was submitted to The Au...
Read all

Testimonials

Read All

This is the first time I have been to an ETAQ conference and it was really sensational to get so much at all of the sessions.

ETAQ conferences always have sessions that make me excited to be a teacher.

I know that ETAQ conferences in the past have never disappointed - valuable, relevant, practical, inspiring so I came again.

Read All

Newsletter

Receive updates
from ETAQ

PO Box 3375, STAFFORD,
Queensland, Australia, 4053
(07) 3284 3718
ABN: 17 689 278 512

Connect to a great range of people who are passionate about English and have their finger on the pulse.

Be Connected