'The Man From Ironbark' by Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson

AI and Tech Aggregator
Download Mp3s Free
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Best Free University Courses Online
TOTK Roleplay

It was a man from Ironbark who struck the Sydney town,
He wandered over street and park, he wandered up and down,
He loitered here, he loitered there, till he was like to drop,
Until at last in sheer despair he sought a barber's shop.
" 'Ere! shave me beard and whiskers off, I'll be a man of mark,
I'll go and do the Sydney toff up home in Ironbark!"

The barber man was small and flash, as barbers mostly are,
He wore a strike-your-fancy sash, he smoked a huge cigar:
He was a humorist of note and keen on repartee,
He laid the odds and kept a 'tote', whatever that might be.
And when he saw our friend arrive, he whispered, "Here's a lark!
Just watch me catch him all alive, this man from Ironbark!"

There were some gilded youths that sat along the barber's wall,
Their eyes were dull, their heads were flat, they had no brains at all;
To them the barber passed the wink, his dexter eyelid shut,
"I'll make this bloomin' yokel think his bloomin' throat is cut."
And as he soaped and rubbed it in, he made a rude remark:
"I s'pose the flats are pretty green up there in Ironbark."

A grunt was all reply he got; he shaved the bushman's chin,
Then made the water boiling hot and dipped the razor in.
He raised his hand, his brow grew black, He paused awhile to gloat,
Then slashed the red-hot razor-back across his victim's throat;
Upon the newly-shaven skin it made a livid mark—
No doubt it fairly took him in— that man from Ironbark.

He fetched a wild up-country yell might wake the dead to hear,
And though his throat, he knew full well, was cut from ear to ear,
He struggled gamely to his feet, and faced the murderous foe.
"You've done for me! you dog, I'm beat! one hit before I go!
I only wish I had a knife, you blessed murdering shark!
But you'll remember all your life the man from Ironbark."

He lifted up his hairy paw, with one tremendous clout
He landed on the barber's jaw, and knocked the barber out.
He set to work with tooth and nail, he made the place a wreck;
He grabbed the nearest gilded youth, and tried to break his neck.
And all the while his throat he held to save his vital spark,
And "Murder! Bloody Murder!" yelled the man from Ironbark.

A peeler man who heard the din came in to see the show;
He tried to run the bushman in, but he refused to go.
And when at last the barber spoke, and said " 'Twas all in fun—
'Twas just a little harmless joke, a trifle overdone."
"A joke!" he cried, "By George, that's fine; a lively sort of lark;
I'd like to catch that murdering swine some night in Ironbark."

And now while round the shearing-floor the listening shearers gape,
He tells the story o'er and o'er, and brags of his escape.
"Them barber chaps what keeps a tote, by George, I've had enough,
One tried to cut my bloomin' throat, but thank the Lord it's tough."
And whether he's believed or no, there's one thing to remark,
That flowing beards are all the go way up in Ironbark.

Submitted by Maddy

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Man From Ironbark: A Literary Analysis

Have you ever read a poem that left you feeling like you were watching a movie? A poem that painted such a vivid picture in your mind that you could almost smell the dust and feel the heat? That's how I feel every time I read "The Man From Ironbark" by Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson. This classic poem has stood the test of time and continues to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. In this literary analysis, we'll take a closer look at the themes, literary devices, and historical context of "The Man From Ironbark."

Historical Context

Before we dive into the poem itself, it's important to understand the historical context in which it was written. "The Man From Ironbark" was first published in 1892, during a time when Australia was experiencing significant social and economic change. This was the era of the Australian bush ballad, a genre of poetry that celebrated the rugged, independent spirit of the Australian outback. Banjo Paterson was one of the leading poets of this movement, and "The Man From Ironbark" is a prime example of the genre.

The poem tells the story of a man from the fictional town of Ironbark who visits a barber in a nearby town. The barber, who is known for his practical jokes, decides to play a trick on the man from Ironbark. He lathers up half of the man's face and then pretends to be distracted by a passing dog. The man from Ironbark becomes angry and threatens the barber, who quickly realizes that he has underestimated the man's strength and fighting abilities. The poem ends with the barber being thrown out of his own shop, much to the amusement of the other townspeople.


One of the major themes of "The Man From Ironbark" is the concept of pride. The man from Ironbark is a proud, independent individual who is not accustomed to being made fun of or taken advantage of. When the barber plays his practical joke, the man from Ironbark becomes angry and feels as if his pride has been wounded. This anger eventually leads to a physical confrontation with the barber.

Another theme of the poem is the idea of the outsider. The man from Ironbark is not from the same town as the barber, and he is not familiar with the town's customs or sense of humor. This makes him an outsider, and the barber uses this to his advantage when he plays his joke. However, the man from Ironbark is not easily fooled or intimidated, and he refuses to allow himself to be treated as an outsider.

Literary Devices

One of the most striking literary devices used in "The Man From Ironbark" is the use of dialect. The poem is written in a distinctly Australian dialect, which adds to the sense of place and time. For example, the first line of the poem reads:

It was the man from Ironbark who struck the Sydney town,

The use of the word "who" instead of "that" is typical of Australian dialect, and it immediately sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The dialect also adds to the humor of the poem, as the words and phrases used by the characters are often amusing and unexpected.

Another literary device used in the poem is the use of repetition. This is particularly evident in the repeated use of the phrase "and shaved the other side." This phrase is repeated several times throughout the poem, and it adds to the sense of frustration and anger felt by the man from Ironbark. The repetition also emphasizes the absurdity of the situation, as the barber continues to shave the man's unshaven side despite his protests.


So what does "The Man From Ironbark" mean? On the surface, it's a humorous poem about a practical joke gone wrong. However, there are deeper themes at play here. The man from Ironbark represents the rugged, independent spirit of the Australian outback. He is proud, strong, and refuses to be taken advantage of. The barber, on the other hand, represents the more metropolitan, urban side of Australian society. He is crafty, witty, and enjoys playing practical jokes on others.

The confrontation between the man from Ironbark and the barber represents a clash of cultures. The man from Ironbark is an outsider in this town, and the barber takes advantage of this by playing his joke. However, the man from Ironbark refuses to be treated as an outsider, and he fights back with all the strength he possesses. This confrontation represents the tension between the different cultures that exist in Australia, and the need for individuals to stand up for themselves and their beliefs.


"The Man From Ironbark" is a classic poem that continues to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. It's a humorous tale about a practical joke gone wrong, but it's also a commentary on the tension between different cultures and the need for individuals to stand up for themselves. Through its use of dialect, repetition, and vivid imagery, the poem paints a picture of life in Australia during the late 19th century. It's a true masterpiece of Australian literature, and it deserves to be celebrated for generations to come.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Man From Ironbark: A Classic Poem by Banjo Paterson

If you're a fan of Australian literature, you've probably heard of Banjo Paterson. He's one of the most famous poets in the country, and his works are still celebrated today. One of his most popular poems is "The Man From Ironbark," which tells the story of a man who gets more than he bargained for when he visits a barber in a small town. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the poem and explore its themes, structure, and historical context.

The Story

The poem begins with the titular character, the man from Ironbark, arriving in a small town to get a shave and a haircut. He's a rough-looking fellow, with a bushy beard and a tough demeanor. The barber, who is a bit of a prankster, decides to have some fun with him. He lathers up the man's face and then pretends to cut his throat with a razor. The man from Ironbark, thinking he's about to die, jumps up and knocks over the barber and his chair. Chaos ensues, and the man from Ironbark ends up getting the last laugh.


One of the main themes of "The Man From Ironbark" is the idea of appearances being deceiving. The man from Ironbark looks tough and intimidating, but he's actually quite gullible. The barber, on the other hand, looks harmless and friendly, but he's actually a bit of a troublemaker. This theme is also reflected in the setting of the poem, which takes place in a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business. The people in the town have a certain image of the man from Ironbark based on his appearance, but they're surprised to find out that he's not quite what they expected.

Another theme of the poem is the idea of humor and practical jokes. The barber's prank on the man from Ironbark is a classic example of a practical joke gone wrong. The barber thought it would be funny to scare the man, but he didn't anticipate the man's reaction. This theme is also reflected in the language of the poem, which is full of puns and wordplay. For example, when the man from Ironbark jumps up and knocks over the barber, Paterson writes, "He landed on the barber's floor, with his face in the basin there." This is a clever play on words that adds to the humor of the poem.


"The Man From Ironbark" is written in rhyming couplets, which means that each stanza has two lines that rhyme. The poem has a regular meter, which means that the syllables in each line follow a specific pattern. This gives the poem a musical quality that makes it easy to read aloud. The poem is also divided into stanzas, which helps to break up the story into smaller, more manageable parts.

Historical Context

"The Man From Ironbark" was first published in 1892, during a time when Australia was still a young and developing country. The poem reflects the attitudes and values of the time, which were shaped by the country's history and culture. Australia was a British colony at the time, and many of the people who lived there were immigrants from England and other parts of Europe. This is reflected in the language of the poem, which uses British English and includes references to British culture.


"The Man From Ironbark" is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. It's a humorous and entertaining story that explores themes of appearances being deceiving and the power of practical jokes. The poem's structure and language make it easy to read and understand, and its historical context adds to its significance as a piece of Australian literature. If you haven't read "The Man From Ironbark" yet, I highly recommend giving it a try. It's a fun and engaging poem that's sure to make you smile.

Editor Recommended Sites

Cloud Code Lab - AWS and GCP Code Labs archive: Find the best cloud training for security, machine learning, LLM Ops, and data engineering
Gcloud Education: Google Cloud Platform training education. Cert training, tutorials and more
Neo4j Guide: Neo4j Guides and tutorials from depoloyment to application python and java development
AI Writing - AI for Copywriting and Chat Bots & AI for Book writing: Large language models and services for generating content, chat bots, books. Find the best Models & Learn AI writing
Tech Summit: Track upcoming Top tech conferences, and their online posts to youtube

Recommended Similar Analysis

Sonnet 31 - Thou comest! all is said without a word by Elizabeth Barrett Browning analysis
Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, The by Samuel Taylor Coleridge analysis
Who has seen the wind? by Christina Georgina Rossetti analysis
The Woodspurge by Dante Gabriel Rossetti analysis
Holy Sonnet X: Death Be Not Proud by John Donne analysis
Putting In The Seed by Robert Frost analysis
Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen analysis
Holy Sonnet IX: If Poisonous Minerals, And If That Tree by John Donne analysis
Sonnet 94: They that have power to hurt and will do none by William Shakespeare analysis
Dream Variations by Langston Hughes analysis