Ode to Burke and Mills


Cunnamulla the town of living history and untold stories

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford

Ode to Burke and Mills

They ventured to the Cooper
You couldn’t call them dills
a hardy group of travellers
They called them Burke and Mills.
Now Burke was no relation
To the one in history told
But they could vouch that Mills, like Wills
In truth was just as bold.
Family and friends made up
This most intrepid breed
In all they numbered twenty-three
with driver, Roadie Reid.
Unlike the poor originals
They travelled there in style
In air-conditioned comfort
All eighteen hundred miles.
Now the object of their mission
Was to see where Bub had bin
With yella belly fishing
At the Cooper, thrown in.
Bub’s spirit was there with them
as they travelled oer the miles
At times they thought they saw his face
Weathered in his sunny smile.
Mike Smith provided lots of jokes
And funny little ditties
The repartee throughout the bus
Must be classed as witty.
To celebrate Gran’s 89th
They stopped at Thargomindah
Michael Smith was 59
Many candles on the cake.
Travelling on they came upon
The pub at old Noccundra
And with XXXX close at hand
They gazed at it in wonder.
Now the Cooper is a legend
For it’s multitudes of fish
But they must have heard them coming
For they hardly filled a dish.
Luke landed a three pounder
You should have seen his grin
Twould have measured twice the size
Of the fish from fin to fin.
Waljo Miller took the cake
For bloody sheer persistence
When late one night he hooked a bite
He’d worn down their resistance.
Mr Porkey was their cook
He looked like a galah
No reference to his expertise
Just the feathered cap he wore.
Behind the barbeque he slaved
They said “let’s call him Sir
The tucker that this bloke serves up
Would rival Cordon Bleau”.
Roumers spread throughout the camp
Most will go unlisted
But “They said this “and” They said that”
Was often heard being whispered.
Maria Cridland topped the lot
Said their June was adopted
“Black Sheep” one brave soul chimed in
“That’s rubbish! “Gran retorted.
To verify that it’s a lie
Just ask old Earnie Braden
He drove the ambulance to the door
Be quick, he’s ninety-four.
The thunder box the boys set up
Was something to be told
And volunteers who pulled it down
Lacked sense of smell we’re told
Breaking camp they travelled on
To Hungerford, next morn
Stopped off at Thargo
Where Peg and Elsie were born.
Bub drove along these dusty roads
Round Hungerford and Eulo
Carting wool, delivering mail
Bet his old trucks could tell a tale.
Now Emery Swamp’s named after Bub
Some old time told them
No signpost there to show the way
Perhaps they’ll pass another day.
Bub had mused about the beauty
Of the Currawinya Lakes
They determined that they’d see them
First hand, make no mistakes.
At Hungerford Pub the rafters rang
With the group’s melodious voice
And Neale performed in humorous vein
Presenting fishing prizes.
Elsie tickled those old ivories
She knows that it’s the rule
Maureen appeared with bolt and chain
To tie her to the patio stool
And Gran recalled fond memories
In most nostalgic mode
Of her parents and her early days
In the pub across the road
Now back in Cunnamulla
Still all rubbing shoulders
Cynthia did a spirit dance
With a scull found at the Boulders
They owe a lot to Ed and Chris
Who did the organising
This pair were offered multi thanks
For effort most outstanding
Well – memories are made of this
So their trip down memory lane
With dear friends and family
Becomes a memory yet again
Written by: Peg Campbell Daughter of Margaret Emery (Gran)
April 1997
cunnamulla history
Dry feed being transported for dying stock in Cunnamulla area 1900 to 1902

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Albion's Warrego sawmill Cunnamulla
Albion's Warrego sawmill Cunnamulla photo taken 1888.

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