Aussies sometimes like to wallow in misery. “This drought’ll never end.” “Record floods coming, I reckon.” “Looks like another bad bushfire season.” The expression ‘said Hanrahan’ is from a bush ballad and identifies a doom-monger.
The ballad, called Said Hanrahan, was written by bush priest Patrick Hartigan (1878–1952) under the pen-name of John O’Brien. It tells of cockies who gather on Sunday to squat on their heels, chew bark and talk about farming. Hanrahan is the gloom merchant: “‘We’ll all be rooned,’ said Hanrahan,/ ‘before the year is out.’”
He’s convinced disaster will strike from too little (or too much) rain at just the wrong time, the river being too high or low, or the summer’s heat – or lack of it. Whatever happens, Hanrahan is certain, will bring drought, flood, bushfire, bankruptcy and the collapse of commodity prices, or all of the above.To the Hanrahans of this world, the glass is always half empty…and rapidly draining away.