Beyond the land where Leichhardt went,
Beyond Sturt's Western track,
The rolling tide of change has sent
Some strange J.P.'s out back.
And Saltbush Bill, grown old and grey,
And worn for want of sleep,
Received the news in camp one day
Behind the travelling sheep
That Edward Rex, confiding in
His known integrity,
By hand and seal on parchment skin
Had made hiim a J.P.
He read the news with eager face
But found no word of pay.
"I'd like to see my sister's place
And kids on Christmas Day.
"I'd like to see green grass again,
And watch clear water run,
Away from this unholy plain,
And flies, and dust, and sun."
At last one little clause he found
That might some hope inspire,
"A magistrate may charge a pound
For inquest on a fire."
A big blacks' camp was built close by,
And Saltbush Bill, says he,
"I think that camp might well supply
A job for a J.P."
That night, by strange coincidence,
A most disastrous fire
Destroyed the country residence
Of Jacky Jack, Esquire.
'Twas mostly leaves, and bark, and dirt;
The party most concerned
Appeared to think it wouldn't hurt
If forty such were burned.
Quite otherwise thought Saltbush Bill,
Who watched the leaping flame.
"The home is small," said he, "but still
The principle's the same.
"Midst palaces though you should roam,
Or follow pleasure's tracks,
You'll find," he said, "no place like home