Tambo’s Teddy Bears in Verse

Inspired to learn of the Teddies enterprise during a difficult time for the wool industry; a couple of ladies chipping in at near ground zero to pull a little town up by its bootlaces poet, Robert Raferty was moved to pen the poem, ‘Tambo’s Teddy Bears’ on 19th November, 1995.

Robert Raftery is a master storyteller, and writer of verse. He is able to bring an audience to an inconceivable point of inspired emotion, with classic pieces, such as ‘We’re Goin’ for Gold!!!’, ‘Why Do We Call em’ Wallabies, Dad?’, and ‘Black Magic – Green and Gold’.

We were delighted to learn the author of this ballad when his son, Jacob visited with his partner Stacie visited Teddies and purchased a bear, aptly named Mt Enniskillen Robert. Contacting Robert, we were delighted to hear the family’s original bear, Birkhead Barney had done a splendid job looking over his four children as… “the captain of the nightwatch” during their early years, and is still going strong.

The ultimate delight for us was to be sent a copy of the poem, ‘Tambo’s Teddy Bears’ and to discover the author. Enjoy!


The drought had spread her blankets wide with eyes blood red and flaring.
Through a string of tiny country towns the mood was bleak, despairing,
And in retreat to a steady beat their dusty rifles crack,
As one by one like dominoes they fell on the drought’s broad track.

But one small town stood up to fight, took thought beyond the square,
Three women from the township vowed … to build a teddy bear.
“With grit and pluck we’ll bring them up to play their special parts,
“With outback beating in their blood and great Australian hearts.”

For Tambo’s not the sort of town that fades when things get tough,
‘Cause Tambo mine’s a jeweller’s cave of diamonds in the rough.
And from a place in outer space a Saviour’s heard her prayers,
And filled her skies with the twinkly eyes of “Tambo Teddy Bears”.

First they seek to firm acquaintance as they stand and check you out,
Then they weave that web of mateship forged in fire, flood and drought.
Their love’s an art perfected like the canvas of Matisse,
And that love is pure and filtered through the strands of Golden Fleece.

Now her teddies cross the seven seas by tramps and jets and steamers,
Consigned to little tinkly mums, adoptive aunts and dreamers.
And when the winds hinge from the west and a perfume fills the air,
Scents of eucalypt and wattle track the “Tambo Teddy Bear”.

They feel the beat of tiny chests, the touch of tiny hands.
They hear the whispered secrets of their tiny new laid plans.
The pride of tribe and tenement of Arab tent and throne,
A mate to stem the terrors when you face the night alone.

Their sheepskin souls are sewn with love just east of the Never Never,
A Tambo Teddy’s built to last from now until forever.
They sit on ledge and mantle, on guard on bedside chairs,
The Captains of the Night Watch are the “Tambo Teddy Bears”.

In moleskin pants and chequered shirts with plaited belt and swag,
A true blue Aussie born and bred, a larrikin and a wag.
Named for spread and station, no two teddies are the same,
Their patch worked multi-colours hang in “Mateship’s Hall of Fame”.

The night’s closed in on Tambo, the tiny town’s asleep,
By a gold mine works a stamper crushing metal from the deep.
A molder presses ingots, they are heart shaped, pressed in pairs,
For the golden heart of Tambo ticks in “Tambo’s Teddy Bears”.

Robert Raftery c Brisbane Australia