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​The Queen of the Murray

There was a roar
The crowd parted
Two men face to face
Anger in their eyes
I'll knock ya block off
Ya bloody mug
Curly was steaming
Defending the Mississippi Belle

There's not a boat on the river
That can out run her
I got a hundred quid says there is
She's docked at the port
What's her name
The Murray Maiden
That heap of rotten wood
Lucky it still floats

She just came down
From Mildura in four days
Could easily beat you back
Crikey the crowd murmured
It was a fast time
Cobber you have a bet
Get her loaded
Then we'll see

She can't beat us
Can she captain
Not a boat on the river
Can beat Belle
We'll show that drongo
Who rules this river
I know that bloody water
Every twist and turn

The Belle was loaded
Hay and wool bales piled high
The Murray Maiden lay empty
No sign of a load
The Belle's captain
Impatient as ever
Roared Where's ya bloody load
It's coming hold ya bloody horses

The next day the stage
From Bendigo arrived
Four men and two women
Now the Maiden was loaded
You aren't fair dinkum
That's not a load
Curly shouted to the mate
We have twenty ton

At dawn they were ready
The Belle laden down
The Maiden's crew all smiling
Ready to race
Belle was much bigger
Smoke billowing skywards
Are you both ready
The Mayor shouted

Jumping the start
The Murray Maiden was off
Hissing and splashing
By crikey said Curly
Look at the bastard
The crowd roared
More hissing and splashing
Belle took up the chase

For two long days
They played cat and mouse
The heavy Belle lumbering on
Always in sight
Curly was worried
They used too much wood
They have to stop
Cut some more

That night the captain decided
They would go ashore
Cut some wood
Enough for two days or more
They anchored before dark
Watched the Maiden disappear
For hours they cut enough
To last a blooming week

The next day
They never saw the Maiden
Full steam ahead
Through the night
Determined to catch them
Show them who's boss
Curly's boiler never coughed
Always giving it's best

Next morning about 10am
They turned a bend
There was the Murray Maiden
Chugging along
Looking like a skeleton
The decks were burnt last night
Mildura was around the next bend
They were catching her fast

They drew level
A quarter of a mile out
Captain blew his whistle
Laughing and waving
Victory was his
Could feel it in his bones
We beat you you scurvy dog
The whistle hadn't stopped

Three hundred yards to go
The Belle began slowing
Bluey we've run out of wood
We're losing pressure
Break up the table
Throw in the chair
Bluey worked his magic
Curly burnt the furniture

The whole town turned out
Cheering and clapping
Belle was limping
The Maiden blowing her whistle
Two hundred yards to go
She caught Belle's stern
Be buggered roared the captain
She won't beat us

Fifty yards to go
Belle was hanging on
Curly covered in sweat
Bluey up on deck
The old girl took off
It was the captain's chest
Curly had thrown in
That won the bloody race

They won by half a length
The captain all smiles
Chest puffed up
Waving to the crowd
The beers on me
No said Curly
I've got a hundred quid
To toast the Queen of the Murray