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The Name

"Tumba Rumba"


When we bought a 58-foot narrow boat in 2004 we had to come up with a suitable name for it. It was then that I remembered a Christmas/New Year holiday we had spent in Rosebud, near Melbourne, Australia with our good friends Malcolm & Margaret Hackett. Malcolm gave a rendition of a poem by John O'Grady named "The Integrated Adjective" about a small town in New South Wales called "Tumbarumba", on the periphery of the Riverina irrigation area and the south west slopes of the Snowy Mountains. That was it! The name for our new boat was to be "Tumba Rumba"!

The home-page-image linked to "The Name" is a drawing of a kangaroo Japanese style done by Cristian Roux when he was a pupil at Nishimachi International School, Tokyo, in the 1980's.




Click on Sound Bar Below to Play Poem

I was down on Riverina, knockin’ round the towns a bit,
An’ occasionally restin’, with a schooner in me mitt;
An’ on one o’ these occasions, when the bar was pretty full
An’ the local blokes were arguin’ assorted kinds of bull,
I heard a conversation, most peculiar in its way,
Because only in Australia would you hear a joker say,
‘Where yer bloody been, yer drongo? ‘Aven’t seen yer fer a week;
An’ yer mate was lookin’ for yer when ‘e come in from the Creek;
‘E was lookin’ up at Ryan’s, an’ around at bloody Joe’s,
An’ even at the Royal where ‘e bloody never goes.’
An’ the other bloke said, ‘Seen ‘im; Owed ‘im ‘alf a bloody quid.
Forgot ter give it back to ‘im; but now I bloody did.
Coulda used the thing me-bloody-self; been orf the bloody booze,
Up at Tumba-bloody-rumba shootin’ kanga-bloody-roos.

Now their voices were a little loud, an’ everybody heard
The peculiar integration of this adjectival word.
But no one there was laughin’, an’ me I wasn’t game,
So I stood around an’ let ‘em think I spoke the bloody same.
An’ one of ‘em was interested to ask ‘im what he’d got –
How many kanga-bloody-roos he bloody went and shot
An’ the shootin’ bloke said, ‘Things are crook; the drought’s too bloody tough;
I got forty-bloody-seven, an’ that’s good e-bloody-nough.’
An’ this polite rejoinder seemed to satisfy the mob,
An’ everyone stopped listenin’ an’ got on with the job,
Which was drinkin’ beer and arguin’ an’ talkin’ of the heat,
An’ boggin’ in the bitumen in the middle of the street;
But as for me, I’m here to say the interestin’ news
Was ‘Tumba-bloody-rumba shootin’ kanga-bloody-roos’.