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The Poem The Geebung Polo Club

Here's a great old poem It shows how we are all just as enthusiastic about our sport regardless of whether we live in the Antipodes, The Argentine, China or right in the thick of it at Smiths Lawn, Cowdray, Florida,  Palermo or Last Century Like Banjo Did! 

Keep Swinging those Sticks!

Seeya round!

Great site by the way keep up the good work kids.

The Geebung Polo Club
A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson


Illustration by Ninon Phillips click to through to Illustrated Book Site

THE GEEBUNG POLO CLUB by A.B. "Banjo" Paterson

It was somewhere up the country in a land of rock and scrub,
That they formed an institution called the Geebung Polo Club.
They were long and wiry natives of the rugged mountainside,
And the horse was never saddled that the Geebungs couldn't ride;
But their style of playing polo was irregular and rash -
They had mighty little science, but a mighty lot of dash:
And they played on mountain ponies that were muscular and strong,
Though their coats were quite unpolished, and their manes and tails were long.
And they used to train those ponies wheeling cattle in the scrub:
They were demons, were the members of the Geebung Polo Club.

It was somewhere down the country, in a city's smoke and steam, That a polo club existed, called the Cuff and Collar Team. As a social institution 'twas a marvellous success, For the members were distinguished by exclusiveness and dress. They had natty little ponies that were nice, and smooth, and sleek, For their cultivated owners only rode 'em once a week. So they started up the country in pursuit of sport and fame, For they meant to show the Geebungs how they ought to play the game; And they took their valets with them - just to give their boots a rub Ere they started operations on the Geebung Polo Club.
Now my readers can imagine how the contest ebbed and flowed, When the Geebung boys got going it was time to clear the road; And the game was so terrific that ere half the time was gone A spectator's leg was broken - just from merely looking on. For they waddied one another till the plain was strewn with dead, While the score was kept so even that they neither got ahead. And the Cuff and Collar captain, when he tumbled off to die, Was the last surviving player - so the game was called a tie.
Then the captain of the Geebungs raised him slowly from the ground, Though his wounds were mostly mortal, yet he fiercely gazed around; There was no one to oppose him - all the rest were in a trance, So he scrambled on his pony for his last expiring chance, For he meant to make an effort to get victory to his side; So he struck at goal - and missed it - then he tumbled off and died.
By the old Campaspe River, where the breezes shake the grass, There's a row of little gravestones that the stockmen never pass, For they bear a crude inscription saying, "Stranger, drop a tear, For the Cuff and Collar players and the Geebung boys lie here." And on misty moonlit evenings, while the dingoes howl around, You can see their shadows flitting down that phantom polo ground; You can hear the loud collisions as the flying players meet, And the rattle of the mallets, and the rush of ponies' feet, Till the terrified spectator rides like blazes to the pub - He's been haunted by the spectres of the Geebung Polo Club.

The Antipodean, 1893

What Banjo Paterson wrote about the high country was among his best work...

The Geebung Polo Club, for example, was based on the Cooma Polo Club for which he appears to have played. Its players were "demons with mighty little science and a mighty lot of dash", who are still remembered with awe for leaving the ground looking more like a battle-field than a sports arena after their matches.

In May 1893, a Polo team from Sydney issued a challenge to the local Cooma team (which Sydney won, 2:1). That night, at the Prince of Wales Hotel (now housing Cooma Menswear), the players entertained each other with song and verse; Banjo Paterson stood and recited a new piece he had penned, "The Geebung Polo Club".

The Prince of Wales Hotel

The "Cooma Menswear" building, formerly "The Prince of Wales" Hotel

Paterson's poem The Man From Snowy River was the work of a man who (although a city solicitor) felt for those who lived in the mountains and the high country. Over a hundred years later the descendants of those people still vie for the right to claim the original "Man" in their families. Paterson, however, always insisted that he had not been writing about any particular man: "The verses were intended as a ballad, not as a newspaper report of a sporting event"; "He was... a brainchild of my own imagination"; "I felt convinced that there must have been a 'Man from Snowy River'. I was right. They turned up from all the mountain districts - men who did exactly the same ride and could give you chapter and verse for every hill they descended and every creek they crossed."

One popular contender for the title of "the Man" was Lachlan Cochran, from Yaouk. A buckjump rider and jockey, Lachlan had returned from the Boer War with five medals. His skill and courage in the saddle were the subject of numerous stories that Paterson might well have heard. Lachlan's brother Neil turned out to be a match for his brother. Neil received a telegram one day to say that Lachlan was dying in hospital in Cootamundra and wanted to see him before he went. There was a train departing from Tumut (Tumut Shire) next morning, but Tumut is 130km from Yaouk by way of some of the steepest and most treacherous country in the mountains.

At dusk Neil left Yaouk and he rode through the night. He had covered move than 100km in 13 hours when his horse broke down in Blowering. He borrowed a mare from a station he was passing and arrived in Tumut as the train arrived. He reached Cootamundra just in time to see his brother before Lachlan slipped into a coma and died.