Words by Mark Leonard, Seeing Things Productions
Artwork by Lee Van Dam
Ned Smelly – Australia’s most unhygienic bushranger
I tell a tale of days gone by,
A tale that’s mostly true.
And I won’t skip the stinky bits,
Like treading in horse poo.
Now Bushranging might sound like fun,
“Bail up – we’ll have your dosh”
But one thing they won’t tell you is,
The buggers never wash!
It’s living hard by wit and guile,
Or on the noose you’ll dance.
For you might ride for eighteen days,
And never change your pants.
You’re never told that Martin Cash,
He smelled like old manure.
And Bold Ben Hall had stinky feet,
For which there weren’t no cure.
Old Thunderbolt, his breath was crook,
A belch could cripple you.
One whiff of Daniel Morgan and
They’d call you Mad Dan too.
But of the wild colonial boys,
By judge and squatters cursed,
Of men who reeked of sweaty crimes,
Ned Smelly stank the worst.
Around his head buzzed six blow flies,
His nose a snotty smear.
Each summer pumpkins thick would sprout
From each disgusting ear.
Wild Mushrooms grew well on his neck,
His fingers caked with grime.
Ned’s armpits would have bought two years
If B.O. were a crime.
Alongside Ned rode “Woofy” Dan,
And soon bush poets sang
Of “Crusty” Joe and “Stinky” Steve,
The famous “Smelly Gang”.
When robbing squatters Ned was loathe
To even raise a gun.
One sniff of his fermented breath,
They’d drop their gold and run.
Once challenged to a fistfight,
Ned forsook the noble art
When he dispatched the local champ
With one almighty fart.
Now Ned, he had a sweetheart,
For Rose, his love was true.
She didn’t mind he ponged a bit,
For in truth she ponged too.
But bushranging was Ned’s first love,
And fortune favoured him.
Tho’ luck ran out the fateful night
He robbed Glenrowan Inn.
He thought he tricked the troopers when
Their guns let loose all hell
They’d tracked him down that very night,
By following the smell.
The troopers thought they’d done him in,
But quickly changed their tack
When “armour clad’ young Ned emerged
From the outhouse ‘round the back.
His helmet was a dunny can,
The rusty door his shield.
He gave off such a mighty pong
The troopers had to yield
So off into the bush Ned rode,
To meet his true love Rose.
And this tale ends as legends should,
They’re both still on the nose!