View Full Version : Australian Redgum Band, I was only 19 song question

28th Dec 2006, 08:54
A question for the Aussies and Kiwi's,

In the 1st 30 seconds the Redgum lead singer makes reference to "Puker punuell" "Canungrar", "shoel water", what does this mean?

thanks, just allways wondered.

Sad song really...... poor bastards.....


28th Dec 2006, 08:58
Training areas for the lads. Pukka for basic training, Canungrar(sp) for jungle training and Shoal water bay for excercises.

28th Dec 2006, 09:43
You can find out a little about Puckapunyal (http://www.awm.gov.au/units/place_557.asp) here, Canungra is in Queensland and Shoalwater in Western Australia. All are Australian military training centres.

28th Dec 2006, 10:31
Well, Shoalwater Bay training area is actually just north of Rockhampton in Queensland.

28th Dec 2006, 10:42
Yes, you're quite correct, Binos. My mistake.

28th Dec 2006, 10:49
Hey, Queensland, Western Australia.... close enough for government work. :}

Drop and Stop
28th Dec 2006, 12:15
'Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon.'
~that line was so poignant it was inscribed on the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial in Canberra.

Capt. Queeg
28th Dec 2006, 16:29
More Redgum "19" trivia for you.....?

The song is AKA "A Walk in the Light Green", which is a reference to the colour of the jungle as depicted on their maps. Dark green was held to mean plenty of cover and less chance of land mines. Light green was less appealing.

"...it was me who drew the card" is a reference to the nashos - conscription. (I believe.)

"VB" is the Mexican-brewed swill the grunts got to drink now and then. No ring-pulls, you needed a tin-opener in those days.

Although "M-16" rhymes better, your average digger in the RAR carried an SLR in those days. Pedant, sorry....

Having pleasant memories from all three locations, I can say that Pucka, Canungra and Shoalwater Bay are testament to the fact The Australian Army has rights to some of the shittiest land in the country.

An excellent song. Lyrics here (http://www.lyricsdownload.com/redgum-i-was-only-nineteen-lyrics.html).

28th Dec 2006, 19:19
'Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon.'And even more sadly, the vast majority of the mines that took so many Oz diggers' lives and/or limbs were Australan mines, lifted by the VC sappers from mine filelds laid by the Australians and then left unguarded.

Anyone who's seen a Herc load of stretcher cases with every patient with missing or badly mangled legs won't soon forget the sight.

Chimbu chuckles
29th Dec 2006, 00:46
When the song came out...must be 20+ years ago now...it bought tears to the eyes of everyone I knew who served in Vietnam...uncle of mine and fathers of mates etc. Seeing men in their 40s, 50s and 60s crying over a song written by a 'bunch of hippies' was a very moving experience.

I remember being at school in the late 60s/early 70s and parents of class mates coming to pick them up early and take them home because elder brother had been wounded or killed...and it was on the TV news every night.

The real 'Frankie' was interviewed on TV when the song took off...he is not a fictional, representative or composite charachter.

29th Dec 2006, 02:37
Puckapunyal is the HQ for Armoured Corps. I was there for the opening of the new armoured centre by Charlie & Di when I was serving in a reserves armoured Regiment. Well, it was new 20 years ago.

Canungra is part of the jungle warfare centre.

Shoalwater Bay is just another training area. Full of mozzies. When it's not raining it's unpleasantly hot. Did an exercise there in my 1st year in the reserves when I was in an artillery unit. I thought it was quite a noisy place when we were there... :E