When the Coach Comes In …

Well for something radically different to my previous posts, here is some poetry for you. But not just ANY poetry. Oh no. This one happens to be written about the tiny town of Gumeracha, in the Adelaide Hills.

In amongst the letters, diaries and other ephemera of my great great grandmother Phebe Randell (nee Robbins) was a book of poems, presumably ones she liked and wrote down. One that was not in that book, but is in her handwriting is one called “When the coach comes in”. 

She isn’t the author of this poem, that honour goes to L.S.M., the initials on the bottom of it. Unfortunately I do not know who L.S.M. is, but I would have to say was a local at the time, and at a guess that would be in the late 1800s, or early 1900s.

While the original is quite readable, I have transcribed it here for you …

When the Coach Comes In

Come, all you jolly Gumerachs and listen to my rhyme,
It’s all about the good old coach that rumbles in to time,
The coach, my boys, that brings the mail from town and visitors.
Oh you’ve been often there to see the ladies all get down.
When the coach comes in, when the coach comes in.
The ladies all get down, when the coach come in.

When the coach comes rolling in, there stands Moffatt for the bags,
And he takes them with a catch, and the coach it never flags,
But it rattles down the hill for the horses know full well
They are near the termination, that means a jolly spell.
When the coach comes in, when the coach comes in.
It means a jolly spell, when the coach comes in.

When the time for coach draws near, you may see at Kingston’s shop,
Some post-boys of an ancient sort, who gather there and stop
They stop until the coach comes in, that brings the royal mail.
There you may see them any day, those ancients never fail
When the coach comes in, when the coach comes in.
Those ancients never fail, when the coach comes in.

Go sit beside those white-haired men, and hear them tell their tale,
You never saw a vessel yet that carried so much sail,
Their yarns are something wonderful, I know and do declare.
It’s greatest fun in life to hear, and “Rowe is in the chair”.
When the coach comes in, when the coach comes in,
”Old Rowe” is in the chair, when the coach comes in.

The Banker he comes down to see what letters are for him
The children too are playing round and making horridding
The Clergy and the publicans, and sinners too are there,
The doctors and the servant girls, each seek their proper share.
When the coach comes in, when the coach comes in.
Oh ‘tis a jolly merry time, when the coach comes in.

I’ve noticed too a timid maid comes stealing to the post,
I’ve seen the blush on her cheeks, when one she loves the most,
Has sent a letter to his lass, the fairest in the glen
I noticed this and lost besides, and if you ask me when
When the coach comes in, when the coach comes in,
Her lover sends a letter, when the coach comes in.
– L.S.M.


page 1, click for a lager image

page 1, right click for a lager image 

page 2, click for a larger image

page 2, right click for a larger image














Phebe lived at Gumeracha from the 1860s, through until she died in 1922, having resided at the Kenton Park and Salem Glen estates, and is buried in the Salem Baptist Church Cemetery at Gumeracha.

I love how this poem has picked up the names of some locals, as well as incorporating the local businesses.

While the current day population of Gumeracha has grown from back then, it is still a relatively small town with just a few shops, a post office, hospital, primary school, a doctors, a couple of churches, a pub and some sports clubs. Much of which was there back 100 years ago!

Note: the picture up top, shows the Royal Mail Coach in the main street of Gumeracha in 1906.







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