Monday, November 30, 2009

Yodelling milkmen; bane of the urban lifestyle

Seriously, who'd have thunk that whistling or yodelling milkmen (or the odd few who split the early morning air with choice names for their not-so-steady nags) would have rated so much type face in furious debate?!
Yes, they were classed as "yodellers", although ours never attempted to do cover songs of Frank Ifield, we were lucky to hear the occassional "Hup, boy, hup now" and 'boy' would leave a pile of Gardeners' Delight steaming in the middle of the road or, once, a massive horse shoe which I snaffled and have still.
Go to the newspapers archive and search for "yodelling milkman" and be amazed at the vitriol spluttered at these poor, hard-working blokes by Councillors in Kew.
"Members of the Kew City Council have no respect for antiquity in statute law when its provisions threaten their early Sunday slumbers"

 These scoundrels supported the Milk Bill when it was up before Parliament and pushed for an addition to prevent milkmen yodelling on Sunday mornings.

"They are appalled at the prospect of milkmen being permitted to yodel unchecked in the small hours of the morning."
How utterly dare those milkmen yodel...!
Seriously, boys and girls, is that Dame Nellie Melba I hear whining about the church bells in Ballarat/Bendigo (insert favourite regional town for urban myth status) and having them silenced for decades...?
One is over-whelmed with the urge to grab the nearest Kew Councillor and shake some shyte commonsense into them.
Except they're now an extinct animal in their own right (Karma may work slowly but, boy, does she work!).
Poor James McLachlan, who apparently
"made a violent outcry in calling his wares"
was up before the beak in Brighton Court where the local health inspector claimed him to be one of the best yodellers he'd ever heard.
Mr Brown, P.M (drily) noted that
"Residents do not appreciate even good yodelling on Sundays"
then fined James McLachland of Balaclava 1 pound and 2/6 in costs.
I feel Mr Brown may have owned a sense of humour about his person.

Mr Rose, who called Highett Rd Sandringham home, was a dairyman with a quirk of humour also; he wrote a letter to Sandringham Council requesting permission to sell milk after 9am and until midday on a Sunday without a whisper of a yodel involved.
Councillor Sillitoe was greatly a'feared as he asked
"But what can we do about it? It is against the law to sell milk after 9am on Sundays" (insert outraged face and panting breath here).
Thankfully, sanity made an unexpected appearance in council chambers and no action was taken on the matter of The Milkman Who Will Not Yodel (insertAlfred Hitchcock theme music here).

In 1906 the Special Reporter was bitterly complaining thus
"I hate all milkmen particularily the purveyor who has the honour of supplying my household. He is so exasperatingly punctual. At precisely 6 o'clock every morning, whether it is daylight or not, just when one is turning over for one's beauty sleep, his discordant yodel splits the atmosphere, and inclines one to lament the poverty of the English language in respect to cuss words."
I fear the relationship with the local dairy was on rocky ground and bound to end in tears...!

There you have it, boys and gils, not only did every man look sideways at the milkman for fear he was cast in the mould of Benny Hill's Ernie, The Fastest Milkman In The West but the yodelling was just not climbing the ARIA charts and those dairymen were never going to make it on Australian Idol.


  1. "...we were lucky to hear the occassional "Hup, boy, hup now""

    What was he trying to do? Train it to hurdle the garden walls?

  2. My father used to whistle in the morning. What right did he have to disturb our sleep, apart from him paying for our upkeep.

  3. My dad was the milkman - and he does yodel - but I do not recollect him ever combining the two.

    Good thing, I suppose - although his call of "Milk-o" generally caused a stampede to see who could "help" him strain the milk into billies and get the "frosky" milk.

  4. No, Brian, Captain Philips didn't make the Olympic Milkman Eventing Team :P
    The half-asleep Clydesdale was told to move up to the next block of houses as the milko walked along behind carting the bottles back and forth.

    Whistling, Andrew?!
    Everyone's too dour these days to pucker up and blow.

    Now you'll have to get him to yodel whilst he does the milking, Jeanie lol, I'm sure the cows will thank you, not !

  5. So the yodelling was acceptable Mondays through Saturdays?
    Heh, these days you'd think people would still enjoy a Sunday lie-in, but no, the streets are just as full of traffic as on the other six days. Times have changed, no-one stays home anymore, they're all out for Sunday breakfast at the local cafes.

  6. P.S. Whistling? I've just downloaded Whistling Jack Smith's "I was Kaiser Bill's Batman" to my playlist. It's catchy...

  7. LOL
    Yep, River, it was ok if they weren't home having their lie-in *snort*.
    I'll have to look that one up, can't say I've hear it.