The Poetry Corner

Hay And Hell And Booligal

By Banjo Paterson (Andrew Barton)

"You come and see me, boys," he said; "You'll find a welcome and a bed And whiskey any time you call; Although our township hasn't got The name of quite a lively spot, You see, I live in Booligal. "And people have an awful down Upon the district and the town, Which worse than hell itself the call; In fact, the saying far and wide Along the Riverina side Is 'Hay and Hell and Booligal'. "No doubt it suits 'em very well To say its worse than Hay or Hell, But don't you heed their talk at all; Of course, there's heat, no one denies, And sand and dust and stacks of flies, And rabbits, too, at Booligal. "But such a pleasant, quiet place, You never see a stranger's face; They hardly ever care to call; The drovers mostly pass it by, They reckon that they'd rather die Than spend the night in Booligal. "The big mosquitoes frighten some, You'll lie awake to hear 'em hum, And snakes about the township crawl; But shearers, when they get their cheque, They never come along and wreck The blessed town of Booligal. "But down to Hay the shearers come And fill themselves with fighting-rum, And chase blue devils up the wall, And fight the snaggers every day, Until there is the deuce to pay, There's none of that in Booligal. "Of course, there isn't much to see, The billiard-table used to be The great attraction for us all, Until some careless, drunken curs Got sleeping on it in their spurs, And ruined it, in Booligal. "Just now there is a howling drought That pretty near has starved us out, It never seems to rain at all; But, if there should come any rain, You couldn't cross the black-soil plain, You'd have to stop in Booligal." * * * * * * "We'd have to stop!" With bated breath We prayed that both in life and death Our fate in other lines might fall; "Oh, send us to our just reward In Hay or Hell, but, gracious Lord, Deliver us from Booligal!"