Skip to main content

It Shows in Your Face: A Tribute to Russ Tyson

John is a long-time poet, short fiction, and article writer. He loves story-telling and also has a Certificate in Permaculture Design.

Russ Tyson's Philosophy Corner

Russ Tyson's Philosophy Corner

Philosophy Corner

Growing up as a child in and around the Brisbane area in South East Queensland I often listened to the radio and one of my favourite and most popular announcers was Russ Tyson. When television was launched in 1959 he also became the successful host of a number of programs on ABC TV.

I never realised that Russ Tyson was also an accomplished writer and poet, until recently when a friend loaned me a book called "Russ Tyson's Philosophy Corner".

In fact, I am still currently reading this wonderful book which is packed full of stories, anecdotes, and poems expressing Russ's philosophy on life. The depth of this book is amazing, and although A.B. Banjo Paterson has always been my favourite poet, that mantle is now shared by none other than Russ Tyson.

I dedicate this article to him and include a number of his poems herein. The first of these is It Shows In Your Face. I love this poem and it's message so much and wish that I had written it myself. That being the case I decided to write a part 2 myself. I hope it does the original poem and Russ Tyson justice.

Russ Tyson celebrates his 90th birthday with other ABC presenters and newsreaders.

Russ Tyson celebrates his 90th birthday with other ABC presenters and newsreaders.

Russ Tyson (1920-2014)

Russ Tyson was a renowned and long-serving radio presenter in Brisbane, Australia, starting as a cadet announcer in the late 1930s.

When World War II broke out he went on air in Borneo with the Australian Army’s radio station. After the war ended he returned to hosting the ABC breakfast program from 1948 to 1966 as well as the Hospital Hour.

He was also one of the first people to appear on Australian TV on it's launch night in November 1959, and hosted programs including Anything Goes and On Camera. He continued to work with ABC until he resigned in 1966, citing differences with management over changes to the breakfast radio program.

After leaving the ABC he went to commercial radio station 4KQ in Brisbane where he continued his long and successful career until he retired from broadcasting in 1976.

His famous voice had a magical quality of sincerity and integrity, and his devoted followers knew that the real life Tyson was exactly as he sounded, a sincere, good-living man.

Many of his fans and listeners were unaware, however, that Russ was also an accomplished writer and poet, and that he devoted a great deal of time working for many charities.

He published four books:

Russ Tyson's Philosophy Corner 1963

Russ Tyson's New Philosophy 1970

The Best of Russ Tyson 1973

Philosopher's Scrap Book 1986

Russ Tyson fan card

Russ Tyson fan card

It Shows In Your Face

by Russ Tyson

Scroll to Continue

You don't have to tell how you live each day,

You don't have to say how you work or play;

A tried, true barometer serves in place -

However you live, it will show in your face.

The false, the deceit, that you bear in your heart,

Will not stay inside where it first got the start,

For sinew and blood are thin veils of lace -

What you wear in your heart, you wear in your face.

If your life is unselfish, if for others you live,

For not what you get, but how much you give;

If you live close to God in His infinite grace -

You don't have to tell it - it shows in your face.


It Shows In Your Face (2)

by John Hansen

Don't try and pretend to be something you're not,

Some people are "haves" and others "have nots";

You can't hide the truth, there's always a trace -

If you're wealthy or poor, it's etched in your face.

It's not how much money you have in the banks,

But how generous you are without seeking thanks.

If you are loved and content in your little space -

Your richness will shine, it will show in your face.

If you give others praise and credit where due,

They'll often reciprocate and return it to you.

Racism and prejudice in this world have no place -

If you love all God's people - it shows in your face.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

— Russ Tyson

The School of Life

If we wade in shallow pools

We cannot learn to swim;

The brilliant intellect unused

Will stagnate and grow dim.

We cannot reach the mountaintop

Without the gruelling climb;

Courage comes from danger faced ...

Lessons taught by time.


Judging others is a dangerous thing. Not so much because you might make a mistake about them, but because you may be revealing the truth about yourself.

— Russ Tyson

Take a Walk Around Yourself

When you're criticising others, and are finding here and there

A fault or two to speak of, or a weakness you can tear,

When you're busy blaming someone, or accusing one of pelf -

It's time that you went out to take a walk around yourself.

There's a lot of human failures in the average of us all,

And lots of grave shortcomings in the short ones and the tall;

But when we think of evils men should lay upon the shelves,

It's time that we all went out to take a walk around ourselves.

Take a Walk Around Yourself

Take a Walk Around Yourself

Isn't it strange how we envy other people their luck, but congratulate ourselves on our enterprise.

— Russ Tyson


The day that he was eighty-two,

Grandfather had a task to do:

A special job that could not wait,

Lest some tomorrow be too late.

Slow were his movements, but content

His heart, as to the task he bent

Of setting out new apple trees -

Six slender stalks. Upon old knees

He knelt to place young roots with care -

Whose fruiting he would never share.

Some day a child he'd never known

Would wander down the shaded row,

Some star-eyed girl, some lusty boy,

To share his apples - and his joy.

Old men who plant young apple trees -

The whole world leans on such as these!

The chains of habit are often too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

— Russ Tyson

Be Sure

A lion met a tiger as they drank beside a pool -

Said the tiger, "Tell me why you're always roaring like a fool?"

"It's not foolish," said the lion, with a twinkle in his eyes,

"They call me King of all the Beasts, because I advertise!"

A little rabbit heard him, and he ran home like a streak,

He thought he'd try the lion's plan - but his roar was just a squeak.

And a hungry fox who heard him, had breakfast in the woods ...

It never pays to advertise - UNLESS YOU'VE GOT THE GOODS!!

PINK ELEPHANT: Beast of bourbon.

— Russ Tyson

Pink Elephant: Beast of bourbon

Pink Elephant: Beast of bourbon

* All poetry in this article (with the exception of "It Shows In Your Face (2)" by John Hansen) is from the book Russ Tyson's Philosophy Corner.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 16, 2019:

No I don’t think you can Steve. You can email it to me:

Steve Tyson from Byron Bay, Australia on September 16, 2019:

Hi again John,

I found that mp3 on my laptop. Not sure I can post it here....? Is that allowable?

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 16, 2019:

Thanks Steve, much appreciated.

Steve Tyson from Byron Bay, Australia on September 16, 2019:

Thanks John. I have a bunch of songs on my youtube site, but particular song isn't there. I have it on CD -- I can convert it to an mp3 and send it to you.

I'm away from the studio at the moment, visiting family in Sydney, so I'll do that when I get home next week.

Best, Steve

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 16, 2019:

Wow, Steve, thank you for connecting with me here. Congratulations on the publishing of your blog on the major travel site. I would love to hear the song "What You Hear is What You Get." Is it on YouTube? I am sure your father is missed by millions. It seems he was quite a remarkable man and his book that I referenced here was inspiring.

This is a good platform for writing and I wish you all the best here. I hope you do decide to publish some of your music and travel adventures here as well. Cheers, John

Steve Tyson from Byron Bay, Australia on September 16, 2019:

Hi John, I'm Steve Tyson, Russ's youngest son. I'm a songwriter and freelance writer based in Byron Bay. Recently, a blog from one of my web sites got published by one of Australia's largest travel blogs. It is a story about a journey through Japan with my folks back in the 60s, and how it fueled my songwriting. Megan, who produces the travel blog, put a connection about my dad to your story here.

I just wanted to say thanks for your kind words. Everything you say about Russ is true. On his 90th birthday, I wrote a song for him called "What You Hear is What You Get", which pretty much sums up the man we all loved. He is sadly missed by his family, and I expect, by thousands of former listeners.

I just joined this platform, not having known about it previously, so I might publish some of my other travel & music adventures in due course....

Best, Steve

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 24, 2019:

Hi Barb. Sorry, I can't help you. I have only read this one book. I did a Google search but couldn't find the answer.

barb nixon on June 24, 2019:

could someone tell me which of Russ Tysons books contain the poem

Soliloquy . I have been trying for many years to find it. thank you.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 10, 2017:

Hi Shauna, glad you enjoyed meeting Russ and enjoyed his inspirational poetry. I also greatly appreciate being put on a pedestal as your favourite poet :)

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 10, 2017:

I can see why Russ Tyson is now one of your favorite poets, John. His poetry flows and carries meaningful messages - even the playful ones!

Thank you for introducing me to Mr. Tyson. However, you're still my favorite poet!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 30, 2017:

Thanks Devika.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 30, 2017:

Deep in thoughts and beautiful!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 23, 2017:

Jill, thank you for reading and your generous comment. It means a lot.

Jill Spencer from United States on June 23, 2017:

Oh my God, John. Your poem "It Shows in Your Face" 2 is wonderful and truly equal to its inspiration. Awesome!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 05, 2017:

My pleasure to introduce you to him, Larry. Glad you enjoyed this.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 05, 2017:

Thank you for comparing me to Russ Tyson, MsDora. Maybe that is why I relate to him so much.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on June 05, 2017:

Loved learning about this tv personality and artist.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 05, 2017:

Jodah, I can see why you like Russ Tyson. You seem to resemble him in mood, content and style. Thanks for sharing.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 04, 2017:

I am glad you loved Russ's philosophy, Ruby."Be Sure" certainly has a message to take notice of no doubt. Thanks for liking my contribution too.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on June 04, 2017:

I've never heard of Russ Tyson, but I love his philosophy. I especially liked, ' Be Sure ' Words to live by. I also enjoyed your, ' It shows in your face 2 '

manatita44 from london on June 03, 2017:

Chuckle ... chuckle. You made me laugh, Bro. I know what you mean by looking down at the world, etc. Not too good, no.

The subtler regions are quite pure. I suspect that his focus may have been altered there. :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 02, 2017:

:) Paula

Suzie from Carson City on June 02, 2017: mistake. I thought the photo of him with his friends was current. It said they were celebrating his 90th! Of course I could have seen the 1920-2004! Jodah, this is the 2nd thing I misread today! Randy said something like~ he logs in once every 24 hrs.....and I was going to ask him what kind of wood the log was and how BIG it was...because I thought he was referring to a fireplace.!!

STOP laughing! I couldn't find my glasses earlier today. Randy said I needed a nap! LOL How embarrassing!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 02, 2017:

Thank you, Diana.

Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on June 02, 2017:

Devoted fans are every creator's dream. This tribune is a great display of loyalty. Good job.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 02, 2017:

Manatita, I am sure he is singing in Paradise. Though if he looks down at the world he may not be happy at the state of it. His words and message was profound and I new you could relate, as I do. Thanks for your kind words about my piece of additional poetry too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 02, 2017:

Yes, Linda. I wish some of the people running our countries had Russ Tyson's philosophy on life. The world would be a much better place. Thank you for the compliment on my poetic contribution too.

manatita44 from london on June 02, 2017:

Very well written and deep and profound quotes. I dare say lofty and sublime. Right up my street, the first poem and you did your version so well!

Obviously a man much deeper than we thought here. I guess he must be singing in Paradise. Very nicely covered and expressed by you, Jodah.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on June 02, 2017:

The world could use a Russ Tyson right now. I had not heard of him; thank you for sharing. And your poetry complements his words perfectly.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 02, 2017:

Paula, yes Russ was a very talented and special man. Unfortunately he is no longer with us having passed away in 2014 at the age of 94.

Suzie from Carson City on June 02, 2017:

Jodah...Thanks for the introduction of someone who sounds like a very talented & special man....just like you! Bless him on his 90th, birthday! Have a great day, Jodah......Paula

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 02, 2017:

My pleasure, Flourish. Yes, I feel it is spot on that your emotions are etched on your face.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 02, 2017:

Thank you for introducing us to him. I especially liked the first set of poems about wearing what's in your heart on your face. So true! Some folks seem very sad or angry and it is carved into the lines of their face no matter what they are fe long at the moment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 01, 2017:

Thank you, Eric my friend. You humble me.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 01, 2017:

Thank you for that comment ThreeKeys. Yes, the ABC (Aunty as it is affectionately called) is cerainly a stalwart of Australian radio and TV. The messages in Russ Tyson's words are so close to my own beliefs that I almost feel or wish I had written them.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 01, 2017:

Glad you enjoyed these samples of Russ's writing and wisdom, Coffeequeeen.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 01, 2017:

Thanks,Mike. Yes, more Russ Tyson's would certainly make the world a better place. There is so much wisdom and compassion in his words both written and spoken. I would have liked to include some of his longer pieces but then I would have needed to write a book.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 01, 2017:

Yes, I agree that is one of the best things HP offers. I have read the works of and about many amazing people I would otherwise never heard of. I think Australia has a wealth of such individuals like Russ Tyson that the wider world has not encountered.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 01, 2017:

Accept my love of your work my friend for it is freely given and has also be earned.

threekeys on June 01, 2017:

There is a lot of creativity and messages to be both enjoyed and reflected upon.

There are a few conclusions you have mentioned that I agree whole heartedly with.

I am not familiar with the given broadcaster but I know the ABC can broadcast some wonderful information that intigates some meaty conversations.

Every time we express an idea or opinion we throw a light onto ourselves-the good, the bad and the ugly.

Really enjoyed the poems Jodah. Some seemed to send a tranquil vibration.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on June 01, 2017:

That's interesting. I've never heard of him before. I love his quotes and poetry.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on June 01, 2017:

Hello John - It is just my opinion, but I think your poetry complimented Russ Tyson's well. Sounds like the world needs more Russ Tysons.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 01, 2017:

I love it, John! One of the beautiful things about HP is the opportunity to learn about different corners of the world, and some of the remarkable people who inhabit them. Thanks to you I now know about Russ Tyson.

Related Articles