I had written him a letter

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  • Published 20090303
  • ISBN: 9780733323942
  • Extent: 256 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

IF YOU’RE LOOKING for an example of how a classic literary text can speak to the present, you could hardly do better than Clancy of the Overflow. Banjo Paterson’s poem of a century ago caught some Australian attitudes that are with us still. A sweet moment of the later Howard years, during the Australian Wheat Board scandal, came with the email circulation of an apt parody, Howard of the Overflow, penned I believe by a Canberra insider. It begins:

I had written him a letter, which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him at the Wheat Board, years ago.
He was chairman when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him
Just on spec, to make the point that ‘Howard doesn’t want to know’.

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