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Examples of Canberra in prose, verse or song?

By astrojax - 18 October 2012 20

With the centenary fast approaching, the hive mind might care to ruminate on the finest examples of this ruined sheep station as depicted in prose, verse or song.  What should be on the centenary committee’s bookshelves or playlists next year?

i’m not after works by canberrans, but about canberra.  anyone?

a contemporary song that pops into my head is ‘meet me at the merry-go-round’ by the lavers but i’m sure there are many finer examples..?

What’s Your opinion?


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20 Responses to
Examples of Canberra in prose, verse or song?
2604 9:53 pm 18 Oct 12

Ex-local lads Koolism have heaps of songs with Canberra references.

Check out The Countdown and All City.

breda 5:47 pm 18 Oct 12

Don’t forget Michael Salmon’s children’s book,’The Monster that Ate Canberra’. It was first published in 1972, and has been reissued a couple of times. The Monster’s name was Alexander Bunyip – it’s a light hearted and delightful book with great illustrations of various national monuments getting munched.

Aaroncbr 4:10 pm 18 Oct 12

Bruce hit the nail on the head with this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQVZRgN2Les

Overheard 3:25 pm 18 Oct 12

This book was hugely popular in Canberra in the 1970s as it was set in Watson.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Dog-Called-George-Vintage-rare-1976-edition-/290678200650

FootyHead 3:06 pm 18 Oct 12

John Russel Rowland wrote a number of poems about Canberra and surrounds, the best-known of which is “Canberra in April”.

Hercsie 2:59 pm 18 Oct 12

Circa 1983 – Austen Tayshus had a hit with “Australiana”

Radio station 2CC did a canberra version – I think voiced by Bill Slocum.

(When 2CC had 50% audience share)

TheCreek 2:32 pm 18 Oct 12

“The Godson” one of Les Norton’s adventures. Written by Robert. G. Barrett (who died recently).
“…But Les quickly finds himself thrust into an adventure that moves at breakneck speed from the corridors of power in Canberra to the grimy tenements of Belfast, to climax in a nerve-shattering, blood-spattered shootout on a survivalist fortress in the Tweed Valley.”

jimbocool 2:19 pm 18 Oct 12

fnaah said :

(Redgum B-side lyrics that mention CES)
(note for youngsters: CES was the Commonwealth Employment Service – the yesteryear equivalent of Centrelink.)

Not so, the CES was the government entity that was outsourced to the private sector to become Job Network and thence Job Services Australia. The equivalent of Centrelink in those days was the DSS – Department of Social Security. Canberra office of the CES was where PJ O’Relly’s is now, the DSS was in Braddon just down the road from where the Braddon Centrelink is now.

I was also going to explain for the youngstes what a ‘B-side” is, but started feeling too old…

fnaah 1:33 pm 18 Oct 12

The b-side to Redgum’s ‘I Was Only 19’ was a song called “Yarralumla Wine”. It’s more about Canberra being a synonym for ‘federal government’ though.

Lyrics:

See those Guccis and silver Commodores
See those Guccis and silver Commodores
Sold my soul to the CES
They sent my cheque to the wrong address
Running blind, drunk on Yarralumla wine

A fruit bouquet like month-old socks
Gerrymander winner at the ballot box
Toast to democracy, raise your glass
They’re all too pissed to notice us
Table a flagon – senate debate
Canberra breeds only sour grapes
Running blind, drunk on Yarralumla wine

A tax dodge accountant is a businessman’s best friend
A tax dodge accountant is a businessman’s best friend
Gas bill came – I can’t pay
Utah made a million bucks today
Running blind, drunk on Yarralumla wine

King William Street’s looking Wall Street could
Business not booming but it’s pretty good
Employment forecast – deja vu
Twenty percent for 1982

Chaos in the kitchen, it’s a crying shame
The waiter’s in a stupor and the cook’s insane
Running blind, drunk on Yarralumla wine

All the boys and girls are taking out Bankcards
They’re contemplating Space Invaders in pizza bars
My television screen’s an alcoholic haze
The Sullivans and reruns of Happy Days
Scan the morning over stale Weetbix
“Sex Change Vicar Vice Horror – Shock Pix”
Murdoch and Packer, thanks for the news
Read three pages and you feel half-boozed

Force-fed years with a loving cup
One more swig and we all throw up
Running blind, drunk on Yarralumla wine

Puff a Galois, entree Pate de fois
Streamline the company with a Schaeffer pen
Fifty jobs lost – pissed again
They’re drinking on the bridge and in the swimming pools
We’re stoking the boiler on the ship of fools
Running blind, drunk on Yarralumla wine

(note for youngsters: CES was the Commonwealth Employment Service – the yesteryear equivalent of Centrelink.)

Hacketthead 1:12 pm 18 Oct 12

David Foster set the first third of his novel Plumbum in Canberra. It’s about a rock band from Canberra which takes over the world. At one point they are the house band for Happy’s Chinese Restaurant in Civic.

Deref 12:56 pm 18 Oct 12

With apologies to The Allman Brothers:

Lord, I was born a Canberra man
Tryin’ t’ make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can
When it’s time for leavin’
I hope you’ll understand
I was born a Canberra man

My Daddy was an EL1 in Canberra
Wound up on the wrong end of a pen
And I was born in the back seat
Of an ACTION bus
Rollin’ down the back of Yarra Glen

etc.

poetix 12:53 pm 18 Oct 12

There is a book of writing by Canberrans being produced for the centenary:
http://www.canberra100.com.au/programs/the-invisible-thread-one-hundred-years-of-words/

Not that it contains every lovely Canberra writer, of course…(-:

thelozenger 12:39 pm 18 Oct 12

Los Capitanes had a song called ‘Surfin ACT’

Some of the lyrics:

“Byron doesn’t matter to me
Surf’s up in the ACT
Bondi don’t matter to me
Surf’s up in the ACT”

astrojax 12:39 pm 18 Oct 12

CrocodileGandhi said :

I think Tuggeranong is mentioned some renditions of the Australian version of ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’.

ie, the original version then? i think that is tuggerawong, near wyong. captains flat gets a gig; close to canberra!

CrocodileGandhi 12:18 pm 18 Oct 12

I think Tuggeranong is mentioned some renditions of the Australian version of ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’.

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