A few years back, hundreds were poisoned and one person died from polluted oysters at Forster NSW. The most likely cause was a sewage truck illegally dumping its load into the river, upstream of the oyster beds, to avoid paying dumping fees.
Although it could not be supported by evidence, many municipal councils saw that tragic event as an opportunity to blame on-site sewage disposal and impose a substantial operating fee on all existing systems.
Shortly before that event, streams that supplied drinking water to our local towns had been tested for pollution. No pollution was detected, indicating a likelihood farmers along the stream were maintaining their systems well.
This ‘bush ballad’ was my response. It was widely distributed at the time and is credited with being a factor in the substantial official back-down that followed.
To give my American friends a fighting chance to understand the vernacular, a few common Aussie terms are explained.
Dunny = Outhouse
Bloke = Aussie man
‘Roos = Kangaroos.
Arse = Rectum
Poo, poop, turd = Faeces.
Few bob = Vary small amount of money, literally a few shilling or 10c coins.
Mates = Close friends, here suggesting a modicum of corruption.
THE DUNNY TAX
Word has gone out to the farms and the spreads,
That our local council got into its head
The notion that all the old WC’s
Must have a license to work properly.
What good this will do is anyone’s guess!
A license won’t add or subtract from the mess
Which doesn’t appear to exist they’ve admitted
But it will raise more taxes, for that it’s well fitted!
It seems that the water that flows from my farm
Must carry nutrients, and cause alarm
To an expert in town (pulling really big money),
Who must find a culprit, and points to my dunny!
Now, I’ve thought about this for quite a few days
And found it’s not quite like the city bloke says.
Most of the nutrients dumped on my ground
Are from natural causes. Here’s what I found.
The family weighs in with a kilo of faeces
Per day, give or take a few bits and paeces.
The horses and cows, thirty five in the herd,
Donate half a tonne of choice urine and turd.
The birds of the bush and the grass and the sky
Dump fifty kilos a day from on high.
Then wallabies, ‘roos and the bandicoots too
They all do their bit, with mounds of fresh poo.
Now with a shovel, I find under the grass
Millions of worms, and each has an arse
At one end, which leaves in its wake
A trail of fresh poop, each a gram, give or take.
And then with a microscope what is revealed?
Billions and billions of critters concealed.
And what do I find as I spy on their functions?
That they all eat and shit, each the tiniest fraction.
But added together, I can’t fudge the figures,
The microbes are champs with a total that’s bigger
Than all of the animals, birds, worms and lizards.
Hundreds of tons a day pass through their gizzards.
Now the math is quite simple, it seems that the fraction
Of the total excreta from bowel contraction
Produced by the humans in this residence,
Is one hundred thousandth of half a percent!
And now that the figures have all been digested
And all the bull shit has been tested and rested,
The reason the council wants my last few bob,
Is to keep all their bureaucrat mates in a job!