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The Australian Bushman’s Mate – “Children of the Bush” – Henry Lawson

January 3rd, 2011 · No Comments · Sociology

The Australian bushman is born with a mate who sticks to him through life—like a mole. They may be hundreds of miles apart sometimes, and separated for years, yet they are mates for life. A bushman may have many mates in his roving, but there is always one his mate, “my mate;” and it is common to hear a bushman, who is, in every way, a true mate to the man he happens to be travelling with, speak of his mate’s mate—“Jack’s mate”—who might be in Klondyke or South Africa. A bushman has always a mate to comfort him and argue with him, and work and tramp and drink with him, and lend him quids when he’s hard up, and call him a b—- fool, and fight him sometimes; to abuse him to his face and defend his name behind his back; to bear false witness and perjure his soul for his sake; to lie to the girl for him if he’s single, and to his wife if he’s married; to secure a “pen” for him at a shed where he isn’t on the spot, or, if the mate is away in New Zealand or South Africa, to write and tell him if it’s any good coming over this way. And each would take the word of the other against all the world, and each believes that the other is the straightest chap that ever lived-“a white man!” And next best to your old mate is the man you’re tramping, riding, working, or drinking with.

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