The Man From Snowy River Completely Explains This Aussie Dancing On His Combine.

By Jim Mundorf

Here is a little internet video that started making the rounds yesterday. 

The boys having a bit of fun before the storm hits in South Australia. 

Allow me to explain. To the untrained eye this might look like an Aussie that has decided to take a break from work and dance a jig on his combine. Wrong, his combine is full of grain and there is nothing for him to do but wait for a grain cart to show up so he can unload it. If he was an American he would probably be taking quick nap, or getting into the fridge for a snack (yeah, combines have refrigerators now) or he’d be grabbing his phone trying to get a picture of the lightning to put on the instatwitterbook. Not in Australia, when Aussies have a free second they ask themselves, “What’s the funnest way I could risk my life right now?” And this guy thought, “Crikey, there’s a lighting storm, I best get to the highest point possible and dance a jig.”   

Australians are the most laid back people on the planet. I’ve been lucky enough to do business with a number of them. No matter what I tell them they all have the same response for everything, “no worries mate, cheers.” I could call them up and say that their package fell out of the plane, into the ocean, sorry no refunds, and I’m pretty sure the response would be, “Oh, no worries, mate cheers.”

Of course to make the great Australian movie, The Man From Snowy River, believable, the grumpy asshole rancher had to be an American. If Jim Craig had lost an Australians prized stallion, he probably would have just gotten a friendly pat on the back and a, “Ah, no worries mate, how’s bout we head down to the pub for a pint. I hear you been trying to have a go with my daughter? No worries mate, cheers.” That wouldn’t have made for a very good movie at all. So the rancher had to be a greedy old American. And he did what Americans do when they want people to risk their lives, he offers up a bunch of money. Little does he know there is nothing Australians enjoy more in the world than risking their lives. Those boys would have rode a hundred miles for free to get the chance to go hell bent for leather through the mountains after a herd of wild horses. And when Jim Craig jumps his horse off that mountain and everyone looks all sad after he’s gone. They aren’t sad because he’s more than likely dead, they are sad because they didn’t jump their horses off the mountain and risk their own necks. They’re thinking, “Blimey, why didn’t I do that.”

All of the best content that comes out of Australia, is of people risking their lives. Remember the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, he made a fortune off risking his life. I’m not sure what his last words were but I have a feeling he looked that Stingray, that had just killed him, right in the eye and whispered with his dying breath, “No worries mate, cheers.”

Then there’s this guy. Everyone thinks he was out there trying to save his dog. I’m not sure he even saw his dog until he got out there. I’m pretty sure he just saw a kangaroo and thought, “Crikey, it'd be fun to go punch that thing in the face.” I mean the dog was already turned loose, he didn’t have to punch him, but thank goodness he did. If he hadn't he would've lost the respect of all Australia. And when that kangaroo got punched he thought about fighting back but if you look close I’m pretty sure you can read his lips saying, “No worries mate, cheers.” right before he hops away.

Historical side note: The Man From Snowy River was based off of a poem written by Banjo Patterson in 1890. The last scenes of the movie follow the poem almost word for word. The only differences of course are that Harrison was an Australian and there is no mention of reward money offered to the riders. You see, Australians know that Aussies risk there necks for free. Here it is:

THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER by A.B. "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 stockhorse 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 a 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 stockhorse 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 stringybarks 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 reed beds sweep and sway 
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide, 
The man from Snowy River is a household word today, 
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.

The Bulletin, 26 April 1890.

P.S. There is one of my Longhorn mounts hanging above the door on the ranch where the Man From Snowy River was filmed. I have a picture of it but can't seem to find it, typical. No worries mates, cheers. 

Jim MundorfComment