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  • Ken Hay

A Poem - Prospecting

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

About 1986 I did some locum work in Newman. In some idle time I

tried prospecting up near Nullagine. I found this poem in an old folder

in my study. It is the only poetry I have written. The photo was taken

more recently, in Karrijini - not far from Nullagine

I would appreciate feedback.

© 2020 PROSPECTING Ken Hay

I thought to try at prospecting,

Up near Nullagine.

So I hired a gold detector,

From a mate of a mate of mine.

He asked where I’d be searching,

I didn’t have a clue.

“Go to the pub at Nullagine,

And ask for me mate named Blue.”

Blue was said to be famous,

As a fossicker dinky-di.

He lived off his frequent findings,

Mind you - mainly beer and pie.

But he knew where the gold was scattered,

And would put me straight, no lie.

Provided he wasn’t shattered,

When I happened to pass him by.

“Now, if he’s not at the pub at Nullagine,

Go down to the caravan park.

He’s always there in the evenings,

Doesn’t go out after dark.

His van is down by the creek bank,

Tomatoes growing outside,

A faded red-striped annex,

And perhaps a kangaroo hide.”

Now, all this caused me to wonder,

Where Blue found the time to prospect.

All-day at the pub and home by dark,

Sounded just a little bit suspect.

We don’t look in the mouth of gift horses,

And a good tip could well be repaid.

I might find gold in old water-courses,

Where Blue hadn’t sunk his spade.

So off I set for Nullagine,

My fortune determined to make.

But along the way a creek bed I spied,

And my journey decided to break.

I had to try this detector,

And felt sure there’d be gold in that bed.

It might have been gold fever,

That put such a thought in my head.

To test it I buried a dollar,

And found it as quick as could be.

The machine screeched a high pitched noise,

Akin to the buzz of a bee.

Up and down I plodded ‘til midday,

The sound from the machine never stopped.

As metal it detected every-where,

But gold – it never did cop.

At first sight this virgin bush-land,

Had never experienced man.

But the detector revealed a history,

Of his part in the eternal plan.

Bullet shells and wire abounded,

As did nails, and bottle tops and cans.

Swept up in floods long past,

And dropped in the creek-bed’s sands.


With half the day gone and wasted,

My throat was severely parched,

So I took myself off to Nullagine,

And into the pub I marched.

I dodged two brawling scroungers,

And ducked a flying chair.

Then sat on a lonely bar stool,

As a jug whistled past my hair.

Pandemonium reigned – or so it seemed,

But the barman wasn’t too fussed.

“All in a day’s work,” he said with a grin,

As through the door a drunk he thrust.

I asked to talk to prospector Blue,

He said, “You could have a bit of strife.

We buried the poor bugger last Friday,

Lost an argument with a bloody big knife.”

That put an end to any good tips,

And left me to fend for myself.

The barman knew nought of where to find gold,

Said his goldmine was the till on the shelf.

And the price he charged for a lager,

Left no doubt of his greater wit.

So I left as another fight started,

Reluctant to risk a king hit.

North and East in the spinifex,

Until a ridge, I ventured to try.

Scoured and torn on its faces,

By creek beds withered and dry.

Patches of sand in the corners,

Caused the detector to emit its beep,

But dig as I would with the shovel,

Of gold, there appeared no heap

I packed away the detector,

The Cruiser I pointed South.

Returned to my digs in Newman,

Ventured no more from the house.

Learned there’s no easy riches,

Hard yacka’s what it takes.

Even with blood, sweat and tears,

Be assured – there’s no easy breaks.


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