Biography of Joseph Furphy
Joseph Furphy was born at Yering in the upper valley, Victoria, the son of Protestant Irish bounty emigrants who arrived in Australia in 1841. It was Joseph's older brother, John, who invented the Furphy water-cart, which was the means the expression ‘furphy’ came into Australian English.) Joseph Furphy gained his education at a small school in Kyneton, and subsequently worked on his father’s farm before trying his luck on the goldfields. He was then employed as a threshing machine operator in the Daylesford district. Joseph married Leonie Germaine, a French girl, in 1867, and worked her mother’s vineyard and farm. In 1868 he acquired a selection in the Lake Cooper district, but was unsuccessful and after five years left the farm to find work on the goldfields and as a labourer. He then moved his family to the Riverina in NSW and became a bullocky with his own team in 1877. Furphy carted wool and various other goods from his base in Hay along the Murray and to northern stations. It was not an easy life for him or his family and after the 1883 drought, which practically decimated his team, he went to work in his brother’s foundry in Shepparton, Victoria. With the security of a weekly wage he had time to write and in 1889 he submitted essays and short stories to the Bulletin under the pseudonym ‘Warrigal Jack’; From 1893 he became ‘Tom Collins’. In 1897 he concluded a novel of 1125 pages and sent it to the editor of the Bulletin, J.F. Archibald. Archibald’s literary editor, A.G. Stephens suggested revisions and the book was finally published in 1903. Furphy used the excised sections of his novels to compose two more books. However, due to the slow sales of Such is Life, neither was published during his life. In 1905 Furphy moved to WA to join his sons who had set up an iron foundry. He died there in 1912. Furphy is regarded as one of the most substantial of pre-First World War Australian fiction writers.
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Joseph Furphy Poems
The Gumsucker's Dirge
Sing the evil days we see, and the worse that are to be, In such doggerel as dejection will allow,
Birthday Lines For K.B.
Life is a Poem, short or long, A dismal Dirge, or jovial Song, A Psalm of faith, or Lay of Pride, One stanza by each year supplied.
Elegy Of Lincoln
Lincoln is gone — who ruled the Western Land From the Pacific to the Atlantic's brim — And cold and nerveless lies the mighty hand
A Psalm Of Fortitude
Are you, like me, a peevish brat, With feelings extra-fine? Are you disposed to whip the cat When misadventure lays your flat?
The Death Of President Lincoln
The fleecy clouds had passed away Before the bright approach of day,
Deem not this wielder of this pen The happiest bloke alive, For I am only five-foot-ten, And ye are ten-foot-five.
Are You The Cove?
“Are you the Cove?” he spoke the words As swagmen only can; The Squatter freezingly inquired, “What do you mean, my man?”
The Bullfrog Bell
Now the truce of night brings respite to the sordid care of day, And in listlessness I pace the river side,
Virtues That Pay
You argue — as sympathy governs your bias — That Wisdom distributes the capon and crust,
The Fly In The Ointment
When the great Creator fashion'd us, and saw that we were good, He commission'd us to dominate the planet as it stood.
'Prove what Life can give of gladness; Seek for aught that merits trust — All thy mirth will turn to sadness, All thy bliss to cold disgust.
O Time! Time! Time! Thou wondrous mystery! Within whose rune and rhyme Lies all Man's history
A Psalm Of Resignation
In spite of his imposing plea, A freeman whom the truth makes free Is often fairly up a tree, And marvels why it should be thus.
A Psalm Of Patience
O kid! with face of healthy tan, With lunch-bag, books and slate; You needn't long to be a man, Self-confident and great;
A Psalm Of Fortitude
Are you, like me, a peevish brat,
With feelings extra-fine?
Are you disposed to whip the cat
When misadventure lays your flat?
Then paste this memo in your hat —
A Man Should Never Whine.
The axiom is no safeguard rare,
Nor talisman divine;