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The underdog and outsider

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A psychopath's caricature of Australia

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The absurdity of using fictional history to create derogatory caricatures of Australia to promote Australia.

 



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Man From Snowy River (1992)

Director: George Miller

Banjo Patterson's Man from Snowy River is Australia's most famous poem and a universally admired feel-good story. It is about an outsider whose ability to ride is questioned and mocked, but a lone man shows faith, welcomes the outsider into the group and that faith is eventually repaid with interest.

The popularity of the poem can be attributed to its themes about an underdog seeking acceptance, and showing courage and ability to gain that acceptance. It resonates with people's emotions because in some shape or form, everyone has to deal with the same challenges in their life and they hope to achieve similar results.

Patterson's poem sets the universal themes in the rugged highlands of Australia. It tells the story of a prized horse that has escaped and joined the wild mountain herd. The finest riders of the land have gathered in an attempt to recatch him. Included in the party is an unknown outsider on a small and weedy beast. The others doubt his power to stay, and declare that the hills are far to rough for the likes of him. Only one man, Clancy of the Overflow, stands as his friend and predicts that the man will with them when he's wanted at the end.

The horses are found and the riders try to keep them from the hills. Unfortunately, the horses turn, charge beneath the stockwhip and fly into the mountain scrub. As all the riders take a pull, an old man mutters fiercely:

''We may bid the mob good day for NO man can hold them down the other side.'

It is then that the Man from Snowy River lets his pony have his head, and he swings his stockwhip and races down the mountain while the others watch in fear.

Alone, the Man from Snowy River runs the horses till their sides are white with foam. He follows like a bloodhound on their track until they halt cowed and beaten. Alone and unassisted, he brings them back. His hardy mountain pony can scarcely raise a trot, and is blood from hip to shoulder from the spur. But the written off poney still has his courage fiery hot for never was mountain horse a cur.

The movie is true to the poem's underdog themes except that it adds a love interest. In the movie version of the story, The Man from Snowy River is also in love with the the daughter of a wealthy landowner, and as well being written off as not good enough to ride with the other men, is written off as not being good enough for the lady.

 

THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER
by Banjo Paterson
There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle-girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony three parts thoroughbred at least
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry just the sort that won't say die
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, `That horse will never do
For a long and tiring gallop lad, you'd better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you.'
So he waited sad and wistful only Clancy stood his friend
`I think we ought to let him come,' he said;
`I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred.

`He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen.'

So he went they found the horses by the big mimosa clump
They raced away towards the mountain's brow,
And the old man gave his orders, `Boys, go at them from the jump,
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.
Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of those hills.'

So Clancy rode to wheel them he was racing on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stock-horse past them, and he made the ranges ring
With the stockwhip, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded lash,
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and sudden dash,
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.

Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and black
Resounded to the thunder of their tread,
And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their way,
Where mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, `We may bid the mob good day,
NO man can hold them down the other side.'

When they reached the mountain's summit, even Clancy took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.

He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timber in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringy barks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.

He was right among the horses as they climbed the further hill,
And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,
Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely, he was right among them still,
As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.
Then they lost him for a moment, where two mountain gullies met
In the ranges, but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,
With the man from Snowy River at their heels.

And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam.
He followed like a bloodhound on their track,
Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned their heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain horse a cur.

And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around the Overflow the reedbeds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The man from Snowy River is a household word to-day,

And the stockmen tell the story of his ride

 

 

 

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