I'm here today because I'm a good boy now.
I love to look at myself
as a good boy now.
Well everybody's telling me
what a good bloke I am?
Like I had last week, hey,
everybody, "He's a good bloke this fella".
I was looking behind me for a start.
I thought they were talking to
somebody else, you know?
I learned the hard way.
I learned the hard way.
No matter what..
no matter what's said and what's done?
I've done lots of things in my life.
Things that I've been proud of.
I haven't been very proud of, you know.
Then I was locked up
for nine months from being on the street
after five o'clock.
And then the young copper
come and let me go.
After nine months.
I took off
along the road, and it rained for a week.
And there's something
that you won't believe.
I'm booting it along the road
there, you know,
and a bloke came out of the bush.
"Been waiting for you".
Never queried him. Went in.
Eight or nine gunyahs [huts] there.
I had a good feed there.
Had a night's sleep.
the bloke says to me, "Come on".
Took me out on the road.
Give me a few bob.
Let me go. ...
I get to Jerilderie.
I run into a couple Kooris there
and I said, "We haven't said anything..."
And I said, "No,
I don't think I would have made it.
I got stopped.
No, no-one lives there".
I said "They're there
alright". He said, "There used to be.
Used to be a big camp there.
There's no-one there now".
And I said, "Well,
I've had a gutful of fresh air
because they fed me".
I remember when I was with Jimmy Sharman,
the boxing tent, and
that's why I got no teeth.
Man by the name of Jack Hassen,
one of the greatest fighters in the world.
He knocked all those teeth out.
What he didn't knock out, he kicked out.
Up at Toowoomba.
And he was with the tents too.
But, that's part of living.
That was the sort of work
that we had to take on.
You know, there was no Centrelink,
or anything like that.
And we had to be fed
and I was working
with one boxing promoter
by the name of Harry Johns
He said one day, "You fellas
want meat to eat?".
"There's a rifle out there, there's
kangaroos running through the bush".
He said, "Go out,
get yourselves a kangaroo".
Yeah, hard days.
But good days. Good days.
And what I'd done
lots of things like...
I was with a young man one time.
He come out from England and he was that
- I can't tell you his name -
I know his name was Bobby and
he belonged to one of those
orphanages, the English orphanage.
And he could hardly see.
He had glasses that thick.
And he and I went within Victoria,
and we decided we were going to take off.
So we got to Brisbane.
We'd done our money in Brisbane.
Then we walked to Rockhampton.
Walked to Rockhampton.
Almost, almost to Rockhampton
to a place called Marmor,
just out of Rockhampton.
And we walked every step of the way.
Bobby Farmer, that was his name.
And we got a job on the railway.
I went there and something said...
I got up there, I said,
said to Bob,
"I don't know what you're going to do,
going to go down to the police station.
I'm going to hand myself in.
I'm going to vag myself".
Do you know what 'vagrancy' is?
We had no food, no nothing.
And he said...
So I went down...
He said, "Come on then".
So we go down
to the police station.
And there was a Sergeant Taylor.
I told him.
He said, "You want me to vag you?
I said, Yeah".
He said, "What about if I get you a job?"
I said, "Yeah, that'd do me".
He said, "Alright".
He took us down,
got us a job on the railway.
But he took us home.
And his wife fed us.
We slept on the veranda,
his veranda, that night.
Next morning we're going out on the job.
We had to catch a train to go out
to a little place
Anyway, going out toward Quilpie.
Then he took us down to the shop,
the store, gave us an order.
Paid for it.
We went out...
Bob only stayed a couple of weeks
but I stayed there for about
three months I suppose,
and I came back and I never moved.
I never came to town.
So then I thought
well I'll go, I'll go to see him and
when I go to see him I'll collect my pay.
I had my money, I'm
going to go and pay this policeman back.
So I went down, I went back to
and I got there,
went down to his house.
I went to the police station first
and they didn't say anything.
So I went to his house
and his wife was there and I
said, "I'd come to pay him back".
She said, "No".
She said, "He's not around anymore".
She said, "He was on his way to Cunnamulla
and he picked up
two Aboriginal boys on the way
and they cut his throat".
"They cut his throat", she said.
And I thought, well
a man like that, you know, that's...
And, they killed him.
They done him in.
And I never, ever forgot that.
Never ever. He was...
Well I suppose he dealt with other people
the same way
and I'd been in towns where they said
like, "Move on.
Police have walked you
to the edge of town,
"Right there's work up the road,
go and find it, for you fellas".
And, well, you gotta get out,
you know they didn't want you there.
I was working down the Myall River,
just out of Tenterfield.
I was working on tobacco,
and tobacco is a 24/7 job,
and the only time you give up
is when it rains.
rained, and I came home from work
and I'm looking for my wife.
She under the bed?
I thought she was mucking around,
So I said, "Come on, get out of there".
And she said, "No!"
She said, "Can't you hear him over there?"
And I said, "Hear what?"
She said, "The Ullalla".
I said, "What?" She said...
At that time I was very dubious
about some of these things,
you know, about animals being messengers
and all that, you know.
She said, "He's here, I can hear him, he's
singing, he's calling me".
She said, "He's here for me.
And I said, "What am I looking for?"
She said, "He's a little brown tit bird
and you'll find him over there
in one of them hollow
She said, "Go over and rouse on him".
She said "If he goes away I'm all right".
But she said, "I'm not... But I can hear him".
So I get a stick banging on the fence...
Anyway I got home,
had supper or dinner that night.
Went to bed
and a knock come at the window.
So I went over.
"Yeah?" It was the lady from the property
and she said "Can
I talk to you outside, Mr.
Marne?" I said, "Yes".
Emma started screaming.
I said, "Yes".
Anyway, I go outside
and she said "The police just rang to say
that your little boy
got drowned in the pool
at Walgett today."
And she knew - believe it or not.
And I was always a little bit dubious,
I've never been dubious
since, you know.
Aboriginal stuff sometimes don't believe in it,
you know, but it's there like the stone
I told you about...
Some people use the Willie Wagtail.
If he points his tail at you,
if he dances around,
if he points his tail at you, look out.
He's pointing trouble
because they say he's a 'trouble bird'.
He go to you and say,
"That woman over there talking about you"
and then he go over to you and he's say,
"That bloke over there talking about you"
and when you start arguing
that's when he starts dancing.
Point his tail...
And then possums, possums.
You see them running in the day.
The owl, bok bok,
he come, if you see him
in the day
- there's trouble.
People don't believe these things.
I believe in these things
because I've seen it, you know.
I don't know much either.
I thought I did.
In the Northern Territory I was.
Me and Uncle Allan
and I'm talking to the elders...
and I got my mouth shut
because I made a fool...
I felt stupid.
I didn't know...
Anyway this young kid, about ten
when we finished, you know.
"You like bananas?"
I said "Yeah".
He said "I know where they are,
a lot of bananas.
"Alright." "You want to come with me
and we'll go and get some?"
"A little way", he said.
"A little way"
must have been 20 bloody miles, you know!
Anyway, we go out and we have a big pile.
and we're coming back
and it's stinking hot
and I'm thinking,
I'm not going to make it
if they don't give us a drink, you know.
And only stop, he was about 10 year old.
He said "You want a drink of water?"
I said "Yeah!" He just went over this...
broke this root off a tree,
come back give it to me.
Ice cold water.
trial and error
and I could have kissed him...
but I wasn't going to let on that
I didn't know, you know.
I used to work out in the bush,
I was fencing.
I had my little hut out in the bush.
It was about...
15, 20 mile from the homestead.
And the boss used to bring me out
books of a night.
Books for me to read.
I read his whole library...
and then I think the good book,
The Bible, was one of them.
When you've got nothing else to read,
I'll get into that, you know,
because there's a lot of stories in there.
There's a lot of stories.
I told you today, didn't I?
God made man in the image of Himself.
He must have been an ugly bastard!
I blame him for everything
that's going wrong in the world today
because if they'd let us into the garden,
we would have ate the snake
before it tempted Eve.
It was a snake
wasn't it, that tempted her?
We would've eat
that, wouldn't have got to her.
I'll tell you something now.
Come down from Victoria River Downs.
You heard of Victoria River Downs?
Lord Vestey's place.
Come down with a mob of cattle.
You know where Quilpie is?
That's west of Charleville.
And that's the cattle place.
That's where they bring the cattle
and they shove them on a train
and send them away to the knackery.
Come down, man,
I've been out for a month on the road.
Righto, what'll I do?
to go the pub and I'm going to get drunk.
This is true.
But first of all I'm going to buy myself..
All my clothes were falling to pieces,
falling off me.
No boots. Boots is all done.
I go and buy myself a new wardrobe.
So I go down
and I buy all these new clothes.
Right, get dressed,
go back to the pub.
"Righto, I'm shouting for the pub!"
Next morning I wake up in the cattle pen,
in a pair of underpants.
no boots, no nothing!...
That's the worst...
That's the thing.
All that work, time,
and it went in one night.
I don't know what it was,
but Quilpie was always said
to be the roughest town in Australia.
Leave me here by the river.
Let me stay and dream a while.
Let me sit here by the river
and watch my dreams go floating by.
Tonight I am so lonely,
tonight I'm feeling blue,
it's the first time
that I met you
that I come here without you.
It was here that we first wandered
when we vowed we'd never part.
Hand in hand together,
it was here I won your heart
and we vowed to be together,
forever and a day,
but time waits for no-one
and God took you away.
The times we spent together
they are times of happiness, times
when we were happy,
now they're just regrets.
But now when I am lonely
and I'm all alone it seems,
I can always have company
here at my river of dreams
That's my missus, my wife...
but that's just a song.
Just a song.