​Jeffcott's Burning

They just finished dinner
Mutton and pumpkin
These were lean times
No rain for two years
Each Sunday they prayed
Each week they waited

Horse and rider outside
In a cloud of dust
Fred Tonkin had arrived
With news of a fire
Over near the mount
Raging out of control

We need every man
This bugger's a bad'n
Running to the barn
William called be back
When I can
Mary prayed for her neighbours

Two hours riding hard
Tired his stallion
Now he could rest
Tied to a tree
Sharing the shade
With other horses

On Tonkin's wagon
William rode to the front
Greeting the others
No time to chat
Only had 50 blokes
To tame the monster

For hours they toiled
Sweaty hot and dirty
Boys growing into men
Slowly they gained ground
A loud bang A gum exploded
The tree fell burning

A scream filled the air
It had fallen on Smith
Grabbing the branches
Men dragged them off
Burning hands scratched arms
They didn't notice

Smith lost his beard
His shirt burnt off
Arms and back burnt
Could'a been a lot worse
He'll be right in a week
He returned to the fight

They looked a sight
When the ladies arrived
Armed with sandwiches and tea
Smith bare chested and scarred
Tonkin one trouser leg burnt
Bolden and Harper were black

They all sat and ate
Tonkin's lily white leg
Smith's beardless face
Were among the things
Bringing many laughs
It had been a hard day

Took another four hours
To clean up the fire
Well into the night
Before they headed home
Bayles and Harper stayed
Watching over the ashes

Sunday they gave thanks
For the safe return
Of their men
The strength they had
To stop the fire
Their community is safe