Honored Guest

About Frank Daniel
Some Poems
Contacting Frank Daniel

We were sad the learn that Frank Daniel died in late December, 2014. We learned the news through the Australian Bush Poets Association, where he was president for many years and also edited the magazine. A funeral is to be held in  Canowindra on Monday, December 29, 2014.

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About Frank Daniel

Frank Daniel is currently  President of The Australian Bush Poets Association Inc. Since incorporation in 1994 he served two years as Vice President, and two years as President and Editor of the monthly newsletter. After three years of non-executive representation, he was elected unopposed at the Annual General Meeting in January.

As Editor he now produces a 28 page bi-monthly newsletter full of news, views, bush poetry and other items of interest including the Poets Calendar of events.

One of Australia's foremost performance bush poets, Frank tours over a wide area of the three eastern states taking his home-spun bush humour and bush poetry to many schools and clubs. He is in demand as an after-dinner speaker and festival compere.

A true-blue Aussie with an Irish Heritage, this bloke believes in keeping his country's traditions alive. With a unique laid-back Aussie country-style inherited from his late father, coupled with more than a touch of the blarney after five generations in Australia, he can make an audience laugh their heads off reminiscing about days gone by or turn them to tears with nostalgia.

From his early days at school and the works of the great masters Paterson and Lawson, he has maintained a keen interest in bush poetry over a wide and varied career from his childhood on the family farm through a life of rough-riding, droving and truck driving.

Frank has appeared at all of the major festivals in Australia and annually from 1993 at the famous Longyard Hotel as part of Tamworth's Country Music Festival.

Since 1997 he has hosted the Traditional Longyard Hotel Bush Poets Breakfasts held daily during the ten days of the Tamworth Festival.

In 1997 he was inducted to the Bush Poets Wall of Renown at the Longyard's Fireside Festival.

To date he has self-published two books of yarns and verse. His first Bush Yarns and Poetry was runner-up in the 1996 Australian Bush Laureate Awards. In 1998 he took out the same awards for 'Performer of the Year' with his single recording of the Claude Morris poem A Grave Situation, from the 1998 "Album of the Year" - Dipso Dan and other Silly Buggers. His work has appeared in no less than five anthologies and on five compilation albums.

Frank's latest releases, a book and an album entitled Chuckin' Rocks each gained prominence as finalists in the Australian Bush Laureate Awards - 2000.

In 2002 he beat all comers in the Australian Yarn Spinning Championships at Mulwala, during the annual Australian Bush Poetry Championships.  An opportunity to spend an evening with one of Australia's greatest exponents of Bush Poetry and Yarn-spinning is not to be missed.

Most people believe whatever Frank tells them but, as he so often says, "Only half the lies I tell are the truth!"

A Few Poems

The First Buck
I'm the Man
Cobb and Co.

 

The First Buck

I felt a tremor in his body, sensed the beating of his heart,
The transcendental message he was trying to impart.
Tenseness in his toughened frame, the storm as yet to come,
The quivering sensation; like a timeless beating drum.

The legend that came with him, mooted history to boot;
The stamping of his forelegs marking time within the chute;
The twitching of his hairy ears; a knowing look in whitened eye,
A snort from flaring nostrils and the challenge, 'come and try!'

Girth strap fastened quickly, red-hide leather pulled up tight,
Chest filled with lungs expanded as a prelude to the fight.
Davidson's buck-jump poley set steep on wither high;       
Loose crupper strap adjusted in the twinkling of an eye.

The length of rein selected, a twist of mane entwined,
The future lay ahead of me, my fate was on my mind.
Leather chaps bound tightly, sticky resin rubbed well in;
The grip of Tarzan needed, and perhaps a 'chance' to win.

Slowly easing to the saddle, fitting boots to wood ox-bows,
Spurs turned in towards the neck, outward pointed toes.
Bucking rein gripped firmly with allowance for the slack,
Enough to drop his melon as he makes his first attack.

Advice from mates well meaning, who had seen him in the past
'Be careful on the first buck 'cause he comes out mighty fast
Throw the slack right at him, watch him when the shoulder drops,
Be ready for the twist and, don't lose him when he props.

Akubra yanked down squarely 'cross a conscious, focused brow
A half a seconds thought and let the bucker 'outside now!'
The gate swung wide to open ground, the adrenalin rush was steep.
A grunt and squeal from effort in a high and mighty leap.

The downward plunge was hard and fast, I held a death-like grip,
The shoulder drop predicted, brought just the slightest slip,
The twist of fate was furious; a side step left the saddle bare.
It wasn't such a distant walk, back to the chutes from there.

July 10, 1999, Frank Daniel, Canowindra
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Glossary:

1. Davidson's buck-jump poly. The standard Australian saddle used by buckjump riders before the introduction of the American style International rodeo saddle. The Australian Rodeo Poly was a very small saddle, with pad no more than an inch and a half in height, the seat or cantle was no more than 2 inches high. You were either in it or out of it as the saying goes. An American cowboy was once quoted as saying it was like trying to ride a tornado sitting in a frying pan.

2.  Crupper-strap. A strap attached to the rear of the saddle with a loop that went under the horses tale to stop the saddle moving forward. It is still used by ringers (stockmen) today on hard working horses. 

3. A twist of mane. We used to set our length of bucking rein before settling down to ride, and twist a short piece of mane into the rope to remember the spot.

4. Ox-bows. Australians formerly used steel stirrup irons but later changed to wooden or cane ox-bows for safety.


I'm the Man  

I'm the one they talk about, the 'Man from Snowy River'.
The one who did those daring deeds that made old Clancy shiver.
It's true, I had a skinny horse - he wasn't all that hot,
but in days gone by one had to do his best with what he's got.

I came from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side.
As a lad I had no saddle and bareback I learnt to ride.
I heard about the escapee, the 'colt from old Regret',
and always one for a bit of fun, I joined up for a bet.

I turned up at the Homestead with that wild and woolly lot,
And the old man said I'd never do, 'wouldn't keep up at a trot'.
But then my good friend Clancy stood up for me with a grin,
And the old man never argued 'cause he knew he couldn't win.

We galloped off into the hills, my horse was pulling badly,
Whenever we had company, that horse would go so madly.
We found a mob of brumbies and the colt was with them too,
As the old man gave his orders as off into the scrub they flew.

The stockmen rode to wheel them, Clancy raced along their wing,
And my young heart beat so rapidly as I heard his stockwhip ring.
When we reached the mountains summit, even Clancy pulled his steed,
But the yang that I was riding had no mouth and would not heed.

They say I swung my stockwhip round, they say I gave a cheer,
But I was struggling with my nag, those cheers were yells of fear.
It was only fear that saved me, fear had glued me to my seat,
And I never ever dared deny my confidence in that feat.

When I finally reached the bottom of that terrible descent,
I saw a wisp of dust to tell which way the brumbies went.
I found them in a dead-ender, in a gully walled with stone,
and that's how I came to turn 'em back, and how I did it on my own.

I know I haven't got the right to stake my claim to fame,
but having set the story straight I'll just leave out my name.

April 1979, Frank Daniel, Canowindra
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Cobb and Co. 

"A hundred miles shall see tonight the lights of Cobb and Co."
So wrote Henry Lawson, of coaching days of long ago.

A hundred miles on rough hewn tracks, they thundered on their lines,
with mail to far out stations, and gold from the diggers mines.

Through rain and hail, or highland sleet, the teams surged through the
night,
through dust and drought and fires, the drivers gave their very might.

'Jack' Coaches, slung on thoroughbraces, made Cobb and Cos' great name,
and the drivers of those six-in-hands were deserved of such fame.

Swinging on the ribbons, as they traversed rough broken ground, 
the likes of 'Cabbage Tree' Ned Devine were drivers of renown.

Across the dusty black soil of the far out western plains,
the coaches sped from stage to stage to beat the coming rains.

Bauhinnia trees were milestones, creek crossings pleasant spells,
'til summer rains brought slush and mud and made the rivers swell.

'The Ships of Charleville' - on great wide plains of Mitchell grass,
the crack of the whip, a hearty cry, as a drovers camp was passed.

'Hullo there,' to the teamsters, as they hauled their loads of wool,
or 'git out and push,' to the passengers, when a hill was hard to pull.

Change stations were just wayside inns, or slab-walled timber shacks,
that cropped up ten to twenty miles along the wild bush tracks.

The grooms would have fresh horses, waiting impatiently,
their wives would have fresh damper, and pots of boiling tea.

The moonlit mystery of the night, showed clear the 'cut track' west,
whilst drivers snatched a cat-nap, leave the  horses to the test.

The hours were long, the days were hard, the nights were sleepless too,
hot dusty days, suns scorching rays, and still the mail got through.

And as some rattled bagman boiled his billy, by a lonely billabong,
he'd hear the panting horses, as the coach went trundling on.

Stage by stage the coaches lurched, until now in history past,
the run from Surat to Yeulba, would be the very last. 

Yes, the run from Surat to Yeulba would be the last for evermore,
when 'Tommy' Thompson took the reins  in August, 1924.

24.7.94, Frank Daniel, Canowindra
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


This poem was in celebration of the last Cobb and Co coach to run in Australia.

Ribbons: Reins.
Yeulba: In southern Queensland.


Contacting Frank Daniel

 

Frank Daniel was the President of the Australian Bush Poets Association Inc.

   

 

 

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