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.

Poo_Colour_LRAnd 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.

Frames_Colour_crp_adjFor 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.


Ned Smelly headshot_adj_LRBut 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.


Lineup_Colour_adj_LRWild 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.


Rose_Colour_adj_LROnce 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.


Inn_Colour_adj_LRBut 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

Ned Smelly_Hero_crp_LRWhen “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!


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