This poem was written by someone who knew my Grandfather William John ‘Billy’ Page. Billy was a real bushie and my only memories of him are as a five or six year old. I remember looking up at this tall brown man who had come to visit from the bush and then hiding behind my nana’s skirt! Billy didn’t like coming in to Toowoomba much, but had a deep love of country, and the Maranoa region, especially Mitchell. When he was in town he preferred to squat rather than sit in a chair and would love nothing better than buying a hot chook in town. Everytime I’m in Mitchell I visit his grave and think about what family means and how fascinating family history is. I am also lucky enough to have one of his precious few possessions – his akubra. Genealogy is a rewarding hobby and many mornings you’ll find me researching at the QLD Family History Society collection. So, here’s a beautiful tribute to my Poppy Page., penned by person unknown.
He was tall and thin and sunburnt
from a lifetime in the saddle
A rather independent chap
his own canoe he’d paddle.
He chose a life with horses
at a very early age
A quiet, conscientious lad
by the name of Billy Page
When Billy went out droving
few people then had cars
From Bourketown to Broken Hill
he’s slept beneath the stars
When transport started shifting stock
the droving job was out
He turned his hand to ringers’ jobs
on stations roundabout.
The years began to take their toll
he no longer wished to roam
He took a job on Maranoa Downs
and looked on it as home.
One day while mustering on the run
he called ‘boys hold the lead’
But when they looked to question why
he’d slumped down on his steed.
They lowered Billy gently down
from off his favourite horse
They sat him back against a tree
but his life had run its course.
He’s buried now at Mitchell
the town that he liked best
His dearest wish has been fulfilled
‘as to never leave the west’.