How The Working Class Got Did

In sixty-five while breaking horses, from an outlaw I was thrown,
awoke in hospital at Kingaroy – where peanuts they are grown.
My visitors raised a topic of which my brain was unaware
the introduction of Decimal Currency-concern was in the air.

“There’s nothing wrong with our money,” said an old bloke next to me,
while a teller from the local bank said he had to disagree.
A storekeeper said “the doubters were all worrying for nought
the change-over will be easy and no battles should be fought.”

A weedy cove expressed his doubts about a dollar and a cent,
experience taught him well to have no faith in Government bent.
A radio was playing and a good old tune began,
us oldies, we were waiting for that shearing song again.

Nearly all of us were puzzled and we began to look about,
for to the tune of clicking shears, different words began to sprout.
“For in were coming dollars and in were coming cents,
out were going pounds, the shillings and the pence.

The problems of our currency, they were gunna fix,
on the fourteenth day of February – nineteen sixty-six.”
After discharge from the hospital, to my local member I did go,
a friendly bloke called “Holy Joh,” his wife’s name it was Flo!

I said, “Joh, can you ‘please explain’ as to how this need could be,
when most old folk, and I are happy with our present currency?”
Joh assured me it was simple–it’s just multiples of tens,
it will save us tons of pencil lead and ink in teller’s pens.

For each ten bob, you’ll get a dollar – and be like the mighty Yanks,
I replied, ‘If that’s the case then I’ll say no flaming thanks!’
By now feeling thirsty, and somewhat all askew,
I headed for my favourite pub, to see what the wise men knew.

All agreed with the old money, they’d be content to stick,
little trouble did us bushies have in balancing up our kick.
Strong conversation and opinion flowed around the public bar,
did the Federal Government really have to go this bloody far?

Went back to see old Joh, Flo served tea and pumpkin scones to boot,
I said, “Thank you, Flo, but I’m concerned about my loot.”
Joh explained, ‘There’s been a lot of changes happening ‘round the globe,
the old money’s been a heavy load and that’s why we had this probe.

Consider banks and shop keepers, as they struggle very much,
to balance up their ledgers, like our accounts and such.
Australians will get used to this new currency you see
they’ll say it is the best thing for folks like you and me.”

© 2019 Aussie Bush Writer


Author notes: Back in the 1960s when this happened, as it would today, there was a lot of confusion and worry about changing the currency from pounds and pence, which was the only money Australians new, to the dollar.



© 2019, Aussie Bush Writer. All rights reserved.

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Aussie Bush Writer
My biggest stroke of luck was that in Sixth Class, our Australian History teacher, Mr Beasley, had a liking for Bush (Rhyming Verse) Poetry written by the old masters; A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Henry Lawson. Mr Beasley was a very good reader of what he also called ‘Bush Verse’. As such he would have the entire class, including several incorrigible boys, ‘in the palm of his hand’ while reading the likes of; The Man from Snowy River, Mulga Bill’s Bicycle, or The Man from Ironbark, to mention just a few of ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s most popular poems.

Later in High School (now called Secondary College) we were ‘treated’ to some English poetry, such as, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, by William Wordsworth. Even most of the girls thought this was rather tame compared to Australian poetry. However, lengthy periods studying with various willing members of the class reciting The Highwayman, by Alfred Noyes, that poem was well received by all. Thus I had received a grounding in rhyming verse.
How The Working Class Got Did

7 thoughts on “How The Working Class Got Did

  • July 24, 2019 at 11:23 am

    Oh, I sympathize! The government’s been trying to sneak the metric system into the US for decades. So far, public opinion is staunchly against the change. Yes, it’s easier in the long run. But the change-over is a perfect opportunity to raise prices on the unsuspecting public. I’m certain you went through the same thing when your money changed. The average person never comes out even.

    While “How the Working Class Got Did” is predominantly written in iambic octometer, now and again there’s a hitch in the rhythm. Take a look at the second line in your first stanza for an example. “Kingaroy” is an accented syllable followed by 2 unaccented ones (unless I’m pronouncing it wrong). Since there are some things you simply can’t change (like Kingaroy), you might want to abandon such a formal form. It’s possible free verse will better suit your needs. Just a thought, and probably not much practical help.

    All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed your poem despite the occasional stumble (I do that on sidewalks, too). Looking forward to reading more of your work. 🙂 Nancy

  • June 10, 2019 at 2:46 am

    A timely verse
    so well rehearsed
    as Euro’s now the “thing”
    and countries curse
    it will be worse…
    it’s a familiar “ring”!

    Seems their hell bent,
    in government
    to change the currency…
    before it’s minted it’s all spent
    a muddle, fiscally!

    Your rhymes are true,
    hats off to you!
    Your meter’s smooth as well.
    The theme will come again, I trust…
    no one thinks “all is well!”


  • June 4, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Thank you very much, Rickey and Poetry Dude for both taking the time to review my poem and for your constructive comments. I really appreciate it.

  • June 1, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Very nicely penned. The rhyming is beautiful and the flow is very well done. As far as the story goes, I wasn’t around, but I can imagine how traumatic such a big change (pardon the pun) would have been for people. Great story poem.

  • June 1, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Quite good poem and based on facts. Where peanuts (they ) are grown. They is optional. Let me read on. I’m unaware of what decimal currency is. Poem broken down into quatrains of four lines makes it reader friendly. Has a nice rhythm and I’m enjoying your poem! Let’s see what happens next. Like you slang. Old bloke. Ha ha! HiS Is wife name it was Flo. That rhymed good. Lots of bits of humor here. Let me see if you change from the pound. I’m curious. The pound and pence was changed to the dollar? I guess multiples of ten is easy to calculate. This was based on a true story? It had a nice flow. Good job! Mate.

    • August 15, 2019 at 12:46 pm

      G’day BOOghost,
      thanks for your comments. I take it you are an Aussie and as such would be aware that (Sir Johannes) Joh Bjelke-Petersen, from Kingaroy, was Premier of Queensland for many years, very religious, he was nicknamed ‘Holy Joh’. His wife, Florence, was known as Flo. Flo was famous for her pumpkin scones. If you are not an Aussie, by Googling Joh Bjelke-Petersen, you may find some interesting and amusing info re him.
      Kind Regards Colin

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