Span: Journal of the South Pacific Assoc for Cwlth Lit and Language Studies
Number 36, 1992
Postcolonial Fictions:
Proceedings of the SPACLALS Triennial Conference 1992
Edited by Michèle Drouart

Bungawalbyn Flash


Yuh know, I was libin on tis bit of country,
called Bungalwalbyn -
Flash tat country, like eaven
Lotta wata, lotta big tree, lotta evebery ting.
Owners? Tose fullas? What ya call'em? -
Tey Gininbi's mob,
Yuh know, Banjalang people -
Tick bush mob,
Cause in dem hold days -
Tat bush, im everywhere,
Big scrub, all hover -
An you know what, big worm lib hin hit.
Big worm, tis long - naw, tat long,
An you know what, tey usedta eat dat worm -
This bloke, 'e tole me, tat they usedta eat it,
An, yuh know, they got goanna, kangaroo, wallaby,
Even tat fish that walks on land, tat land mullet,
All black an shiny, put yer 'and down in ta water,
Pull 'im up, let 'im go, an he runs for his life
Cross the ground an ten jump back into water -
So why eat dat worm, funny country, eh? -

Tey got tis story tere too -
Not dreamtime, new one,
Say it appen when tey were children,
Just growin up to be as hold as me;
But I don't know, bit funny,
Like some of tose stories bout rocks and pools.
Well, tis one, it bout tis person,
E called Bangawalbyn Flash,
An 'e lation to that Ruby, tat Ginibi,
You know 'er, you must, she wrote a book, or two.
Well, tis not bout 'er, but about 'er relation 
A lation, 'e called Bangawalbyn Flash,
Cause 'e come from tere, an 'e fast -
An if you don't believe me -
Well, just ask tat Ruby tere.

'E useta to be a cricketer,
In tem ole days when Coraki,
Tats the town near is place,
Was poppin and sometimes jumpin,
An tey 'ad this cricket team;
An for a little time, maybe a season,
Naw, less tan tat, 'e was on it.
'E wasn't much of a batter t'ough,
'E come out, shape up, and then,
As tose navy fullas say: "Ship out."
Or as we say, get out for a duck.
Well, tat was 'im wit the bat,
Maybe, e shoulda used a boondhi,
Maybe a boomerang, or one of tose
Shields is mob once were real good at makin -
An, an shakin, catchin spears on an tings.
Well, as I said, battin wasn't 'is, 'is forte -
An we gettin to what was now.

Well 'is team, tey get ready,
To do some fieldin an some chasin.
An te Bangawalbyn Flash, 'e gets ready,
Limbers hup, gets ready, ready ta bowl.
Tis appened ya know, ask Ruby,
It appened on tat oval,
Tat oval where they play what's tat game,
Tat one you use a funny bat to chase a ball,
Eh, you know it, it's ockey, cause tey 'ook,
'Ook tat ball wit a stick, an run wit it like mad.
Well, it was on tat field, tat oval in Coraki,
Tat te Bungawalbyn Flash, 'e began 'is run.
When right to tat boundary, took a look,
Got over ta fence,
Went right over to the side of the paddock there.
Now, 'e started is run,
Started a bit slow at first,
Got up a little bit of speed, a little more,
Then more - 'e was fair flashin now,
Hup an over tat oval fence, 'e goes,
Now, e on tat field, now 'e flashin fire.
An ta sun was in tat batsman's eyes too -
Couldn't even see 'im, couldn't shade 'is eyes,
Eh, what was tat comin? A cyclone?
One of dem tat rushes trough the trees,
Rippin an snarlin like a devil on ta loose.
Naw, not any of tat, just the Bungalwalbyn Flash.

Now down comes dat ball,
Down it comes, like, like -
Well, all I can say it was fast,
As fast as the Bungawalbyn Flash.
Now the batsman, 'e lifts is bat,
Looks down, bottom of is bat clear gone,
Burnt off, tat ball too much for any bat,
An not even tat Bradman bloke could 'it it.
An the keeper be'ind, ands out like tis,
Looks down, eh, no fingers left in 'is glove.
All burnt up, little bit of smoke risin.

An tat ball - it keeps on goin,
Keeps on goin, keeps on goin,
Houta sight, outa mind, outa - who knows.
Ball gone, no game, Bungalwalbyn Flash -
Well, 'e mucked up tat field too.
Tried to pull up after bowlin tat ball,
Skidded down ta pitch, dug 'is eels in,
Eh, no more cricket pitch -
An no more cricket too,
Tat's when tat udder game,
Tat 'ookey came in,
'E nebba was good wit a bat.
But tat ball, it kept on goin, an goin, an goin,
An tat night on Box Ridge, we got ta wireless on,
'Ear bout dem Russians an sumtin called a Sputnik,
But, we all knew tat was no Sputnik,
Tat was tat cricket ball goin roun ad roun ta earth.
Well, tat was ta story tat I 'eard -
'Eard when I was libin up t'ere.
An ya know, dem worms are big and long,
Tis long, naw, tat long.

December 1992

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