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Title: The Old Bush Songs
Author: A. B. Paterson
eBook No.: e00070.html
Language: English
Date first posted: 2021
Most recent update: 2021

This eBook was produced by: Walter Moore

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The Old Bush Songs

A. B. Paterson



Two Aboriginal Songs
Paddy Malone in Australia
The Old Bullock Dray
Paddy’s Letter, 1857
The Old Bark Hut
The Old Survey
Dwell Not with Me
The Beautiful Land of Australia
On the Road to Gundagai
Flash Jack from Gundagai
Another Fall of Rain
Bold Jack Donahoo
The Wild Colonial Boy
John Gilbert (Bushranger)
The Squatter’s Man
The Stringy-Bark Cockatoo
The Eumerella Shore
Jimmy Sago, Jackaroo
The Plains of Riverine
The Sheep-Washers’ Lament
The Broken-Down Squatter
The Free Selector
A National Song for Australia Felix
Sunny New South Wales
Bringing Home the Cows
The Dying Stockman
My Mate Bill
Sam Holt
The Bushman
Colonial Experience
The Stockmen of Australia
It’s Only a Way He’s Got
The Loafers’ Club
The Old Keg of Rum
The Murrumbidgee Shearer
The Swagman
The Stockman
The Maranoa Drovers
River Bend
Song of the Squatter
Wallabi Joe
The Squatter of the Olden Time
The Stockman’s Last Bed
Mustering Song
The Australian Stockman
The Shepherd
The Overlander
A Thousand Miles Away
The Freehold on the Plain
The Wallaby Brigade
My Religion
Bourke’s Dream
Billy Barlow in Australia


The object of the present publication is to gather together all the old bush songs that are worth remembering. Apart from other considerations, there are many Australians who will be reminded by these songs of the life of the shearing sheds, the roar of the diggings townships, and the campfires of the overlanders. The diggings are all deep sinking now, the shearing is done by contract, and the cattle are sent by rail to market, while newspapers travel all over Australia; so there will be no more bush ballads composed and sung, as these were composed and sung, as records of the early days of the nation. In their very roughness, in their absolute lack of any mention of home ties or of the domestic affections, they proclaim their genuineness. They were collected from all parts of Australia, and have been patched together by the compiler to the best of his ability, with the idea of presenting the song as nearly as possible as it was sung, rather than attempting to soften any roughness or irregularity of metre. Attempts to ascertain the names of the authors have produced contradictory statements, and no doubt some of the songs were begun by one man and finished or improved by another, or several others. Some few fairly recent ballads have been included, but for the most part no attempt has been made to include any of the more ambitious literary productions of modern writers. This collection is intended to consist of the old bush songs as they were sung in the early days, and as such it is placed before the reader.

Most cordial thanks are due to those who have sent contributions, and it is hoped that others who can remember any old songs not included here will forward them for inclusion in a future edition.



“All human beings not utterly savage long for some information about past times, and are delighted by narratives which present pictures to the eye of the mind. But it is only in very enlightened communities that books are readily accessible. Metrical composition, therefore, which, in a highly civilised nation, is a mere luxury, is in nations imperfectly civilised almost a necessity of life, and is valued less on account of the pleasure which it gives to the ear than on account of the help which it gives to the memory. A man who can invent or embellish an interesting story and put it into a form which others may easily retain in their recollection will always be highly esteemed by a people eager for amusement and information, but destitute of libraries. Such is the origin of ballad poetry, a species of composition which scarcely ever fails to spring up and flourish in every society at a certain point in the progress towards refinement.”—Macaulay.

* * * * * * * * *

Australia’s history is so short, and her progress has been so wonderfully rapid, that, seeing things as they are to-day, it is hard to believe that among us still are men who can remember the days when convicts in irons tramped the streets of Sydney, and it was unsafe to go to and from Sydney and Parramatta without an armed escort; who were partakers of the roaring days of the diggings when miners lit their pipes with five-pound notes and shod their horses with gold; who have exchanged shots with Gilbert and Morgan, and have watched the lumbering police of the old days scouring the country to earn the thousand pounds reward on the head of Ben Hall. So far as materials for ballads go, the first sixty or seventy years of our history are equal to about three hundred years of the life of an old and settled nation. The population of the country comprised a most curious medley. Among the early settlers were some of the most refined and educated, and some of the most ignorant, people on the face of the earth. Among the assisted immigrants and currency lads of the earlier days education was not a strong point; and such newspapers as there were could not be obtained by one-half of the population, and could not be read by a very large percentage of the other half. It is no wonder, then, that the making of ballads flourished in Australia just as it did in England, Scotland, and Ireland in the days before printing was in common use. And it was not only in the abundance of matter that the circumstances of the infant Colony were favourable to ballad-making. The curious upheavals of Australian life had set the Oxford graduate carrying his swag and cadging for food at the prosperous homestead of one who could scarcely write his name; the digger, peeping out of his hole—like a rabbit out of his burrow—at the license hunters, had, perhaps, in another clime charmed cultivated audiences by his singing and improvisation; the bush was full of ne’er-do-wells—singers and professional entertainers and so on—who had “come to grief” and had to take to hard work to earn a crust to carry them on until they could “strike a new patch.” No wonder that, with all this talent to hand, songs and ballads of a rough sort were plentiful enough.

Most of these songs, even in the few years that they have been extant, have developed three or four different readings, and not only have the ballads been altered, but many of them have been forgotten altogether. Only one very imperfect song has come to hand dealing directly with the convict days, but there must have been many ballads composed and sung by the prisoners—ballads in which the horrors of Port Arthur in Tasmania, the grim, grey prisons of Norfolk Island, the curse of official tyranny, and the humours of the rum traffic had their share. Possibly some lost singer of convictdom poured out his regrets in words straight from the soul, and produced a song worthy to rank as a classic: but all the songs of that day have been mercifully allowed to drift into oblivion; and their singers, with their grey clothes and their fetters, have gone clanking down to the limbo of forgotten things.

The collection begins with two aboriginal songs. These songs were supplied by Mr. S. M. Mowle, a very old colonist, with much experience of the blacks fifty years ago. He writes— “I could never find out what the words meant, and I don’t think the blacks themselves knew.” Other authorities, however, say that the blacks’ songs were very elaborate, and that they composed corroborees which reached a high dramatic level. The question is of interest, and might be worth investigation.

It is interesting to see how the progress of settlement is reflected in the various songs. Beginning with the crude early days, when there was land and to spare, and when labour was in demand and Australia was terra incognita to all, we find in “Paddy Malone” a fitting chronicle in rhyme. In this ballad a raw, Irish immigrant tells of his adventures in the Australian bush. He was put to shepherding and bullock-driving, which in itself proves that labourers were at a premium, and that instead of a man having to hunt for a job the job had to hunt for the man. He lost his sheep, and the bullocks got away from him. It will be noticed that there is no mention of fences or roads in this ballad, as in the “Paddy Malone” days fences and roads were not very much met with. Compare also “The Beautiful Land of Australia.” In this the settler reaches Sydney, and “Upon the map I chose my land,” which shows that there was land enough and to spare, and that the system of grants to free immigrants was in full swing. It is noticeable that in all the ballads of early days there is a sort of happy-go-lucky spirit which reflects the easy-come, easy-go style of the times.

Next in order come the ballads of the days when the squatters had established themselves, and the poorer classes found it harder to live. “The Squatter’s Man” is a balled of these harder times. Compare it with “Paddy Malone.” There is no talk of sending a new-chum out with sheep and bullocks now. The first rush of settlement is over, and the haughty squatter contemptuously offers ten shillings a week as wages to a man for a variety of drudgery that is set out with much spirit in the song.

Next come the free-selection days, when the runs of these squatters were thrown open to purchase on certain easy conditions, and at once the ballads change their tone, and there is quite a pæan of victory in “The Free Selector—a Song of 1861.” The reader will note that “The Land Bill has passed and the good time has come,” and further on the singer says

“We may reside
In a home of our own by some clear waterside.”

The squatters also had a word to say, and “The Broken-down Squatter” puts their side of the case in a sort of ad misericordiam appeal; while “The Eumerella Shore” is a smart hit at the cattle-stealers who availed themselves of the chances afforded by the new state of things in the country. Later still comes the time when the selectors became employers of labour, and “The Stringy-bark Cockatoo,” though rough in style and versification, is a splendid hit at the new squireens. A “cockatoo,” it should be explained, is a small settler, and the stringy-bark tree is an unfailing sign of poor land; and the minstrel was much worse treated when working for “The Stringy-bark Cockatoo” than when he was a “Squatter’s man.”

So much for the historical element; now as to the songs themselves. As metrical compositions they cannot be expected to rank high. In all her history England has produced only a few good ballads, and ballads do not get justice from cold print. An old Scotchman, to whom Sir Walter Scott read some of his collected ballads, expressed the opinion that the ballads were spoilt by printing. And these bush songs, to be heard at their best, should be heard to an accompaniment of clashing shears when the voice of a shearer rises through the din caused by the rush and bustle of a shearing shed, the scrambling of the sheep in their pens, and the hurry of the pickers-up; or when, on the roads, the cattle are restless on their camp at night and the man on watch, riding round them, strikes up “Bold Jack Donahoo” to steady their nerves a little. Drovers know that they must not sneak quietly about restless cattle—it is better to sing to them and let them know that someone is stirring and watching; and many a mob of wild, pike-horned Queensland cattle, half inclined to stampede, has listened contentedly to the “Wild Colonial Boy” droned out in true bush fashion till the daylight began to break and the mob was safe for another day. Heard under such circumstances as these the songs have quite a character of their own. A great deal depends, too, on the way in which they are sung. The true bushman never hurries his songs. They are designed expressly to pass the time on long journeys or slow, wearisome rides after sheep or tired cattle; so the songs are sung conscientiously through—chorus and all—and the last three words of the song are always spoken, never sung. There is, too, a strong Irish influence in the greater number of the songs; quite a large proportion are sung to the tune of the “Wearing of the Green,” and the admixture of Irish wit and Irish pathos in their composition can only be brought out by a good singer.

One excuse, if excuse be needed, for the publication of this collection is the fact that the songs it contains are fast being forgotten. Thirty or forty years ago every station and every shearing shed had its singer, who knew some of the bush songs. Nowadays they are never sung, and even in districts where they took their rise they have pretty well died out. Only a few years ago, every shearing shed had at least one minstrel who could drone out the refrain of a shearing song—

“But, oh, boys, such sheep I never shore,
As those that made us knuckle down at Goorianawa”

But the Goorianawa sheep are not celebrated in song nowadays, and advertisement has failed to produce a copy of the song. Down in the rough country near the Upper Murrumbidgee, where the bushranger Gilbert was betrayed by a relative and was shot by the police, there was a song about “Dunn, Gilbert, and Ben Hall” It commenced—

“Come all ye lads of loyalty and listen to my tale,
A story of bushranging days I will to you unveil,
’Tis of those gallant heroes, we’ll bless them one and all,
And we’ll sit and sing long live the King, Dunn, Gilbert, and Ben Hall.”

Another line ran—

“It’s a thousand pounds alive or dead, for Dunn, Gilbert, and Ben Hall”

Thirty years ago every one in the district had heard this song, and all the sympathisers with the bushrangers (which meant the bulk of the wild and scattered population) used to sing it on occasion; but to-day the most persistent inquiry has failed to reveal one man who can remember more than a few fragments of it; and yet it is only forty years since Ben Hall was shot. It is in the hope of rescuing these rough bush ballads from oblivion that the present collection is placed before the public.

          A. B. PATERSON.


Two Aboriginal Songs


Korindabriā, korindabriā, bogaronā, bogaronā. Iwariniang
iwaringdo, iwariniang, iwaringdo, iwariniang, iwaringdo,
iwariniang, iwaringdo, iwaringime. Iwaringiang, iwaringȯȯ,
ilanenienow, coombagongniengowe, ilanenienow, coombagongniengowe,
ilanenienowe combagoniengowe, ilanenienimme.


Buddha-buddharo nianga, boomelanā, bulleranga, crobinea,
narnmala, yibbilwaadjo nianga, boomelana, a, boomelana,
buddha-buddharo, nianga, boomelana, buddharo nianga,
boomelana, bullerangā, crobineā, narnmala, yibbilwaadjo,
nianga, croilanume, a, croilangā, yibbilwaadjo, nianga,
croilangā, yibbilwaadjo, nianga croilanga, coondheranea,
tabiabina, boorganmala, yibbilwaadjo, nianga, croilanoome.

Paddy Malone in Australia

Och! my name’s Pat Malone, and I’m from Tipperary.
    Sure, I don’t know it now I’m so bothered, Ohone!
And the gals that I danced with, light-hearted and airy,
    It’s scarcely they’d notice poor Paddy Malone.
’Tis twelve months or more since our ship she cast anchor
    In happy Australia, the Emigrant’s home,
And from that day to this there’s been nothing but canker,
    And grafe and vexation for Paddy Malone.
            Oh, Paddy Malone! Oh, Paddy, Ohone!
            Bad luck to the agent that coaxed ye to roam.

Wid a man called a squatter I soon got a place, sure,
    He’d a beard like a goat, and such whiskers, Ohone!
And he said—as he peeped through the hair on his faitures—
    That he liked the appearance of Paddy Malone.
Wid him I agreed to go up to his station,
    Saying abroad in the bush you’ll find yourself at home.
I liked his proposal, and ’out hesitation
    Signed my name wid a ✘ that spelt Paddy Malone.
            Oh, Paddy Malone, you’re no scholard, Ohone!
            Sure, I made a cris-crass that spelt Paddy Malone.

A-herding my sheep in the bush, as they call it—
    It was no bush at all, but a mighty great wood,
Wid all the big trees that were small bushes one time,
    A long time ago, faith! I ’spose ’fore the flood.
To find out this big bush one day I went further,
    The trees grew so thick that I couldn’t, Ohone!
I tried to go back then, but that I found harder,
    And bothered and lost was poor Paddy Malone.
            Oh, Paddy Malone, through the bush he did roam
            What a Babe in the Wood was poor Paddy Malone.

I was soon overcome, sure, wid grafe and vexation,
    And camped, you must know, by the side of a log;
I was found the next day by a man from the station,
    For I coo-ey’d and roared like a bull in a bog.
The man said to me, “Arrah, Pat! where’s the sheep now?”
    Says I, “I dunno! barring one here at home,”
And the master began and kicked up a big row too,
    And swore he’d stop the wages of Paddy Malone.
            Arrah! Paddy Malone, you’re no shepherd, Ohone!
            We’ll try you with bullocks now, Paddy Malone.

To see me dressed out with my team and my dray too,
    Wid a whip like a flail and such gaiters, Ohone!
But the bullocks, as they eyed me, they seemed for to say too,
    “You may do your best, Paddy, we’re blest if we go.”
“Gee whoa! Redman! come hither, Damper!
    Hoot, Magpie! Gee, Blackbird! Come hither, Whalebone!”
But the brutes turned round sharp, and away they did scamper,
    And heels over head turned poor Paddy Malone.
            Oh, Paddy Malone! you’ve seen some bulls at home,
            But the bulls of Australia cows Paddy Malone.

I was found the next day where the brutes they did throw me
    By a man passing by, upon hearing me groan,
And wiping the mud from my face that he knew me,
    Says he, “Your name’s Paddy?” “Yes! Paddy Malone.”
I thin says to him, “You’re an angel sent down, sure!”
     “No, faith, but I’m not; but a friend of your own!”
And by his persuasion, for home then I started,
    And you now see before you poor Paddy Malone.
            Arrah, Paddy Malone! you are now safe at home.
            Bad luck to the agent that coaxed ye to roam.


The Old Bullock Dray

Oh! the shearing is all over,
    And the wool is coming down,
And I mean to get a wife, boys,
    When I go up to town.
Everything that has two legs
    Represents itself in view,
From the little paddy-melon
    To the bucking kangaroo.


     So it’s roll up your blankets,
             And let’s make a push,
     I’ll take you up the country,
             And show you the bush.
     I’ll be bound you won’t get
             Such a chance another day,
     So come and take possession
             Of my old bullock dray.

Now, I’ve saved up a good cheque,
    I mean to buy a team,
And when I get a wife, boys,
    I’ll be all-serene
For calling at the depôt.
    They say there’s no delay
To get an off-sider
    For the old bullock dray.

Oh! we’ll live like fighting cocks,
    For good living, I’m your man.
We’ll have leather jacks, johnny cakes,
    And fritters in the pan;
Or if you’d like some fish
    I’ll catch you some soon,
For we’ll bob for barramundies
    Round the banks of a lagoon.

Oh! yes, of beef and damper
    I take care we have enough,
And we’ll boil in the bucket
    Such a whopper of a duff,
And our friends will dance
    To the honour of the day,
To the music of the bells,
    Around the old bullock dray.

Oh! we’ll have plenty girls,
    We must mind that.
There’ll be flash little Maggie,
    And buckjumping Pat.
There’ll be Stringybark Joe,
    And Green-hide Mike.
Yes, my Colonials, just
    As many as you like.

Now we’ll stop all immigration,
    We won’t need it any more;
We’ll be having young natives,
    Twins by the score.
And I wonder what the devil
    Jack Robertson would say
If he saw us promenading
    Round the old bullock dray.

Oh! it’s time I had an answer,
    If there’s one to be had,
I wouldn’t treat that steer
    In the body half as bad;
But he takes as much notice
    Of me, upon my soul,
As that old blue stag
    Off-side in the pole.

Oh! to tell a lot of lies,
    You know, it is a sin,
But I’ll go up country
    And marry a black gin.
Oh! “Baal gammon white feller,”
    This is what she’ll say,
“Budgery you
    And your old bullock dray.”

* * * * * * * * *

This song may require a few notes for the benefit of non-Australian readers. A paddy-melon is a small and speedy marsupial, a sort of poor relation of the great kangaroo family.

“Calling at the depôt to get an offsider.”—Female immigrants were housed at the depôt on arrival, and many found husbands within a few hours of their landing. The minstrel, therefore, proposes to call at the depôt to get himself a wife from among the immigrants. An offsider is a bullock-drivers assistant—one who walks on the off-side of the team and flogs the bullocks on that side when occasion arises. The word afterwards came to mean an assistant of any kind.

“Jack Robertson.”—Sir John Robertson, as he afterwards became, was a well-known politician, who believed in Australians doing their best to populate their own country.

“Budgery you”—good fellow you.


Paddy’s Letter, 1857

I’ve had all sorts of luck, sometimes bad, sometimes better,
    But now I have somebody’s luck and my own,
For I stooped in the street and I picked up a letter,
    Which some one had written to send away home.

The old adage says, “What you find, you may keep it,”
    And as most of these old sayings are very true,
I straight broke the seal, and then having read it,
    The contents of this letter I tell unto you.

The Letter

Dear Dermot, I hope when this letter gets to you
    ’Twill find you in health, as now it leaves me;
But I hope you’re more happy than I am in Australia—
    If not, it’s small comfort that you have, achree!

Hard fortune’s been mine since crossing the line,
    Though that same I ne’er saw, for we crossed it at night;
But they say ’twas laid down at expense of the Crown,
    To divide the wrong side of the world from the right.

But what should a boy placed in my situation
    Know about lines laid across the big sea!
But, faith, this I know, and without navigation,
    I’m at the wrong side of the line, anyway.

I’m telling you now how strange seasons fall.
    We have here rain and sleet in the month of July,
And hailstones as big as a small cannon-ball—
    And they do as much harm—not a word of a lie!

But the making of magistrates now all the rage is,
    And every flockmaster’s a justice of peace;
They find it so easy to cancel the wages,
    The law is their own and they rob whom they please.

Pat Murphy’s boy Tim, that married Moll Casey,
    Lives on the Barcoo that’s away in the bush.
Himself and the wife, why they lived mighty aisy,
    Till one day on Tim, oh, the blacks they did rush.

They killed little Paddy, but spared the young baby,
    Because it was sickly—I think it was that—
And while Molly was crying, a gin said, “No habbie
    Your thin picaninny—well wait till it’s fat.”

’Tis a beautiful country to practise economy.
    Though the houses out here are not quite waterproof,
But they’re illigant houses for studying astronomy—
    You can lie on your back and read stars through the roof

P.S.—This is cramped—if there’s no one to read it,
    Send for Tim Murphy, he’ll know every stroke.
Ye all have my blessing, I know that ye’ll need it,
    So no more at present from Teddy O’Rourke.

* * * * * * * * *

The above from an old tune called “Barney O’Keefe,” 1848


The Old Bark Hut

Oh, my name is Bob the Swagman, before you all I stand,
And I’ve had many ups and downs while travelling through the land.
I once was well-to-do, my boys, but now I am stumped up,
And I’m forced to go on rations in an old bark hut.


          In an old bark hut.    In an old bark hut.
          I’m forced to go on rations in an old bark hut.

Ten pounds of flour, ten pounds of beef, some sugar and some tea,
That’s all they give to a hungry man, until the Seventh Day.
If you don’t be moighty sparing, you’ll go with a hungry gut—
For that’s one of the great misfortunes in an old bark hut.


          In an old bark hut.    In an old bark hut.
          For that’s one of the great misfortunes in an old bark hut.

The bucket you boil your beef in has to carry water, too,
And they’ll say you’re getting mighty flash if you should ask for two.
I’ve a billy, and a pint pot, and a broken-handled cup,
And they all adorn the table in the old bark hut.


          In an old bark hut.    In an old bark hut.
          And they all adorn the table in the old bark hut.

Faith, the table is not made of wood, as many you have seen—
For if I had one half so good, I’d think myself serene—
’Tis only an old sheet of bark—God knows when it was cut—
It was blown from off the rafters of the old bark hut.


          In an old bark hut.    In an old bark hut.
          It was blown from off the rafters of the old bark hut.

And of furniture, there’s no such thing, ’twas never in the place,
Except the stool I sit upon—and that’s an old gin case.
It does us for a safe as well, but you must keep it shut,
Or the flies would make it canter round the old hark hut.


          In an old bark hut.    In an old bark hut.
          Or the flies would make it canter round the old bark hut.

If you should leave it open, and the flies should find your meat,
They’ll scarcely leave a single piece that’s fit for man to eat.
But you mustn’t curse, nor grumble—what won’t fatten will fill up—
For what’s out of sight is out of mind in an old bark hut.


          In an old bark hut.    In an old bark hut.
          For what’s out of sight is out of mind in an old bark hut.

In the summer time, when the weather’s warm, this hut is nice and cool,
And you’ll find the gentle breezes blowing in through every hole.
You can leave the old door open, or you can leave it shut,
There’s no fear of suffocation in the old bark hut.


          In an old bark hut.    In an old bark hut.
          There’s no fear of suffocation in the old bark hut.

In the winter time—preserve us all—to live in there’s a treat
Especially when it’s raining hard, and blowing wind and sleet.
The rain comes down the chimney, and your meat is black with soot—
That’s a substitute for pepper in an old bark hut.


          In an old bark hut.    In an old bark hut.
          That’s a substitute for pepper in an old bark hut.

I’ve seen the rain come in this hut just like a perfect flood,
Especially through that great big hole where once the table stood.
There’s not a blessed spot, me boys, where you could lay your nut,
But the rain is sure to find you in the old bark hut.


          In an old bark hut.    In an old bark hut.
          But the rain is sure to find you in the old bark hut.

So beside the fire I make me bed, and there I lay me down,
And think myself as happy as the king that wears a crown.
But as you’d be dozing off to sleep a flea will wake you up,
Which makes you curse the vermin in the old bark hut.


          In an old bark hut.    In an old bark hut.
          Which makes you curse the vermin in the old bark hut.

Faith, such flocks of fleas you never saw, they are so plump and fat,
And if you make a grab at one, he’ll spit just like a cat.
Last night they got my pack of cards, and were fighting for the cut—
I thought the devil had me in the old bark hut.


          In an old bark hut.    In an old bark hut.
          I thought the devil had me in the old bark hut.

So now, my friends, I’ve sung my song, and that as well as I could,
And I hope the ladies present won’t think my language rude,
And all ye younger people, in the days when you grow up,
Remember Bob the Swagman, and the old bark hut.


          In an old bark hut.    In an old bark hut.
          Remember Bob the Swagman, and the old bark hut.


The Old Survey

Our money’s all spent, to the deuce went it!
    The landlord, he looks glum,
On the tap-room wall, in a very bad scrawl,
    He has chalked to us a sum.
But a glass we’ll take, ere the grey dawn break,
    And then saddle up and away—
Theodolite-tum, theodolite-ti, theodolite-too-ral-ay.

With a measured beat fall our horses’ feet,
    Galloping side by side;
When the money’s done, and we’ve had our fun,
    We all are bound to ride.
O’er the far-off plain we’ll drag the chain,
    And mark the settler’s way—
Theodolite-tum, theodolite-ti, theodolite-too-ral-ay.

We’ll range from the creeks to the mountain peaks,
    And traverse far below;
Where foot never trod, we’ll mark with a rod
    The limits of endless snow;
Each lofty crag we’ll plant with a flag,
    To flash in the sun’s bright ray—
Theodolite-tum, theodolite-ti, theodolite-too-ral-ay.

Till with cash hard-earned once more returned,
    At “The Beaver” bars we’ll shout;
And the very bad scrawl that’s against the wall
    Ourselves shall see wiped out.
Such were the ways in the good old days!—
    The days of the old survey!
Theodolite-tum, theodolite-ti, theodolite-too-ral-ay.


Dwell Not with Me

Dwell, not with me,
For you’ll never see
More than a ’possum or a kangaroo,
And now and then a cockatoo.

Oh, would you wish,
Without a dish,
Your scanty meal from a piece of bark,
And a wood fire to illume the dark.

’Tis there you’d mourn,
’Tis there you’d mourn
The sweet woodbine
That round your lattice now doth twine.

Fond friends, don’t grieve
For scenes like these,
Or smart from bugs, mosquitoes, fleas.
Dwell not with me.


The Beautiful Land of Australia

All you on emigration bent,
With home and England discontent,
Come, listen to my sad lament,
    All about the bush of Australia.
I once possessed a thousand pounds.
Thinks I—how very grand it sounds
For a man to be farming his own grounds
    In the beautiful land of Australia.


                Illawarra, Mittagong,
                Parramatta, Wollongong.
     If you wish to become an ourang-outang,
     Then go to the bush of Australia.

Upon the voyage the ship was lost.
In wretched plight I reached the coast,
And was very nigh being made a roast,
    By the savages of Australia.
And in the bush I lighted on
A fierce bushranger with his gun,
Who borrowed my garments, every one,
    For himself in the bush of Australia.


                Illawarra, Mittagong,
                Parramatta, Wollongong.
     If you wish to become an ourang-outang,
     Then go to the bush of Australia.

Sydney town I reached at last,
And now, thinks I, all danger’s past,
And I shall make my fortune fast
    In this promising land of Australia.
I quickly went with cash in hand,
Upon the map I chose my land.
When I got there ’twas barren sand
    In the beautiful land of Australia.


                Illawarra, Mittagong,
                Parramatta, Wollongong.
     If you wish to become an ourang-outang,
     Then go to the bush of Australia.

Of sheep I got a famous lot.
Some died of hunger, some of rot,
For the devil a drop of rain they got,
    In this flourishing land of Australia.
My convict men were always drunk,
They kept me in a constant funk.
Says I to myself, as to bed I slunk,
    How I wish I was out of Australia!


                 Booligal, Gobarralong,
                 Emu Flat and Jugiong.
     If you wish to become an ourang-outang,
     Then go to the bush of Australia.

Of ills, enough I’ve had you’ll own.
And then at last, my woes to crown,
One night my log house was blown down
    That settled us all in Australia
And now of home and all bereft,
The horrid spot I quickly left,
Making it over by deed of gift
    To the savages of Australia.


                 Booligal, Gobarralong,
                 Emu Flat and Jugiong.
     If you wish to become an ourang-outang,
     Then go to the bush of Australia

I gladly worked my passage home,
And now to England back I’ve come,
Determined never more to roam,
    At least, to the bush of Australia.
And stones upon the road I’ll break,
And earn my seven bob a week,
Which is surely better than the freak
    Of settling down in Australia.


                Currabubula, Bogolong,
                Ulladulla, Gerringong.
    If you wouldn’t become an ourang-outang,
    Don’t go to the bush of Australia.


On the Road to Gundagai

Oh, we started down from Roto when the sheds had all cut out.
We’d whips and whips of Rhino as we meant to push about,
So we humped our blues serenely and made for Sydney town,
With a three-spot cheque between us, as wanted knocking down.


    But we camped at Lazy Harry’s, on the road to Gundagai
    The road to Gundagai!    Not five miles from Gundagai!
    Yes, we camped at Lazy Harry’s, on the road to Gundagai.

Well, we struck the Murrumbidgee near the Yanko in a week,
And passed through old Narrandera and crossed the Burnet Creek.
And we never stopped at Wagga, for we’d Sydney in our eye.
But we camped at Lazy Harry’s, on the road to Gundagai.

          Chorus: But we camped, &c.

Oh, I’ve seen a lot of girls, my boys, and drunk a lot of beer,
And I’ve met with some of both, chaps, as has left me mighty queer;
But for beer to knock you sideways, and for girls to make you sigh,
You must camp at Lazy Harry’s, on the road to Gundagai.

Well, we chucked our blooming swags off, and we walked into the bar,
And we called for rum-an’-raspb’ry and a shilling each cigar.
But the girl that served the pizen, she winked at Bill and I—
And we camped at Lazy Harry’s, not five miles from Gundagai.

In a week the spree was over and the cheque was all knocked down,
So we shouldered our “Matildas,” and we turned our backs on town,
And the girls they stood a nobbler as we sadly said “Good bye,”
And we tramped from Lazy Harry’s, not five miles from Gundagai;

          Chorus: And we tramped, &c.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“Humped our blues serenely.”—To hump bluey is to carry one’s swag, and the name bluey comes from the blue blankets. To “Shoulder Matilda” is the same thing as to “hump bluey.”


Flash Jack from Gundagai

I’ve shore at Burrabogie, and I’ve shore at Toganmain,
I’ve shore at big Willandra and upon the old Coleraine,
But before the shearin’ was over I’ve wished myself back, again
Shearin’ for old Tom Patterson, on the One Tree Plain.


    All among the wool, boys,
    Keep your wide blades full, boys,
    I can do a respectable tally myself whenever I like to try,
    But they know me round the back blocks as Flash Jack from Gundagai.

I’ve shore at big Willandra and I’ve shore at Tilberoo,
And once I drew my blades, my boys, upon the famed Barcoo,
At Cowan Downs and Trida, as far as Moulamein,
But I always was glad to get back again to the One Tree Plain.

            Chorus: All among the wool, &c.

I’ve pinked ’em with the Wolseleys and I’ve rushed with B-bows, too,
And shaved ’em in the grease, my boys, with the grass seed showing through.
But I never slummed my pen, my lads, whate’er it might contain,
While shearin’ for old Tom Patterson, on the One Tree Plain.

I’ve been whalin’ up the Lachlan, and I’ve dossed on Cooper’s Creek,
And once I rung Cudjingie shed, and blued it in a week.
But when Gabriel blows his trumpet, lads, I’ll catch the morning train,
And I’ll push for old Tom Patterson’s, on the One Tree Plain.

* * * * * * * * * *

“I’ve pinked ’em with the Wolseleys, and I’ve rushed with B-bows, too.”—Wolseleys and B-bows are respectively machines and hand-shears, and “pinking” means that he had shorn the sheep so closely that the pink skin showed through. “I rung Cudjingie shed and blued it in a week,” i.e., he was the ringer or fastest shearer of the shed, and he dissipated the earnings in a single week’s drunkenness.

“Whalin’ up the Lachlan.”—In the old days there was an army of “sundowners” or professional loafers who walked from station to station, ostensibly to look for work, but without any idea of accepting it. These nomads often followed up and down certain rivers, and would camp for days and fish for cod in the bends of the river. Hence whaling up the Lachlan.


Another Fall of Rain

(Air:    “Little Low Log Cabin in the Lane.”)

The weather had been sultry for a fortnight’s time or more,
    And the shearers had been driving might and main,
For some had got the century who’d ne’er got it before,
    And now all hands were wishing for the rain.


     For the boss is getting rusty and the ringer’s caving in,
            For his bandaged wrist is aching with the pain,
     And the second man, I fear, will make it hot for him,
             Unless we have another fall of rain.

A few had taken quarters and were coiling in their bunks
    When we shore the six-tooth wethers from the plain.
And if the sheep get harder, then a few more men will funk,
    Unless we get another fall of rain.

But the sky is clouding over, and the thunder’s muttering loud,
    And the clouds are driving eastward o’er the plain,
And I see the lightning flashing from the edge of yon black cloud,
    And I hear the gentle patter of the rain.

So, lads, put on your stoppers, and let us to the hut,
    Where we’ll gather round and have a friendly game,
While some are playing music and some play ante up,
    And some are gazing outwards at the rain.

But now the rain is over, let the pressers spin the screw,
    Let the teamsters back the waggons in again,
And we’ll block the classer’s table by the way we’ll put them through,
    For everything is merry since the rain.

And the boss he won’t be rusty when his sheep they all are shorn,
    And the wringer’s wrist won’t ache much with the pain
Of pocketing his cheque for fifty pounds or more,
    And the second man will press him hard again.

* * * * * * * * * *

“Another Fall of Rain” is a song that needs a little explanation. The strain of shearing is very severe on the wrists, and the ringer or fastest shearer is very apt to go in the wrists, especially at the beginning of a season. Hence the desire of the shearers for a fall of rain after a long stretch of hot weather.


Bold Jack Donahoo

In Dublin town I was brought up, in that city of great fame—
My decent friends and parents, they will tell to you the same.
It was for the sake of five hundred pounds I was sent across the main,
For seven long years, in New South Wales, to wear a convict’s chain.


     Then come, my hearties, we’ll roam the mountains high!
     Together we will plunder, together we will die!
     We’ll wander over mountains and we’ll gallop over plains—
     For we scorn to live in slavery, bound down in iron chains.

I’d scarce been there twelve months or more upon the Australian shore,
When I took to the highway, as I’d oft-times done before.
There was me and Jacky Underwood, and Webber and Webster, too.
These were the true associates of bold Jack Donahoo.

          Chorus: Then come, &c.

Now, Donahoo was taken, all for a notorious crime,
And sentenced to be hanged upon the gallows-tree so high.
But when they came to Sydney gaol, he left them in a stew,
And when they came to call the roll, they missed bold Donahoo.

          Chorus: Then come, &c.

As Donahoo made his escape, to the bush he went straight-way.
The people they were all afraid to travel night or day—
For every week in the newspapers there was published some-thing new
Concerning this dauntless hero, the bold Jack Donahoo!

          Chorus: Then come, &c.

As Donahoo was cruising, one summer’s afternoon,
Little was his notion his death was near so soon,
When a sergeant of the horse police discharged his car-a-bine,
And called aloud on Donahoo to fight or to resign.

          Chorus: Then come, &c.

“Resign to you—you cowardly dogs! a thing I ne’er will do,
For I’ll fight this night with all my might,” cried bold Jack Donahoo.
“I’d rather roam these hills and dales, like wolf or kangaroo,
Than work one hour for Government!” cried bold Jack Donahoo.

          Chorus: Then come, &c.

He fought six rounds with the horse police until the fatal ball,
Which pierced his heart and made him start, caused Donahoo to fall.
And as he closed his mournful eyes, he bade this world Adieu,
Saying, “Convicts all, both large and small, say prayers for Donahoo!”

          Chorus: Then come, &c.


The Wild Colonial Boy

’Tis of a wild Colonial boy, Jack Doolan was his name,
Of poor but honest parents he was born in Castlemaine.
He was his father’s only hope, his mother’s only joy,
And dearly did his parents love the wild Colonial boy.


    Come, all my hearties, we’ll roam the mountains high,
    Together we will plunder, together we will die.
    We’ll wander over valleys, and gallop over plains,
    And we’ll scorn to live in slavery, bound down with iron chains.

He was scarcely sixteen years of age when he left his father’s home,
And through Australia’s sunny clime a bushranger did roam.
He robbed those wealthy squatters, their stock he did destroy,
And a terror to Australia was the wild Colonial boy.

          Chorus: Come, all my hearties, &c.

In sixty-one this daring youth commenced his wild career,
With a heart that knew no danger, no foeman did he fear.
He stuck up the Beechworth mail coach, and robbed Judge MacEvoy,
Who trembled, and gave up his gold to the wild Colonial boy.

          Chorus: Come, all my hearties, &c.

He bade the Judge “Good morning,” and told him to beware,
That he’d never rob a hearty chap that acted on the square,
And never to rob a mother of her son and only joy,
Or else you may turn outlaw, like the wild Colonial boy.

          Chorus: Come, all my hearties, &c.

One day as he was riding the mountain side along,
A-listening to the little birds, their pleasant laughing song,
Three mounted troopers rode along—Kelly, Davis, and FitzRoy.
They thought that they would capture him—the wild Colonial boy.

          Chorus: Come, all my hearties, &c.

“Surrender now, Jack Doolan, you see there’s three to one.
Surrender now, Jack Doolan, you daring highwayman.”
He drew a pistol from his belt, and shook the little toy.
“I’ll fight, but not surrender,” said the wild Colonial boy.

          Chorus: Come, all my hearties, &c.

He fired at Trooper Kelly, and brought him to the ground,
And in return from Davis received a mortal wound.
All shattered through the jaws he lay still firing at FitzRoy,
And that’s the way they captured him—the wild Colonial boy.

          Chorus: Come, all my hearties, &c.

* * * * * * * * * *

It will be noticed that the same chorus is sung to both “The Wild Colonial Boy” and “Bold Jack Donahoo.” Several versions of both songs were sent in, but the same chorus was always made to do duty for both songs.


John Gilbert (Bushranger)

[He and his gang stuck up the township of Canowindra for two days in 1859.]

(Air:    “Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.”)

John Gilbert was a bushranger of terrible renown,
For sticking lots of people up and shooting others down.
John Gilbert said unto his pals, “Although they make a bobbery
About our tricks we have never done a tip-top thing in robbery.

“We have all of us a fancy for experiments in pillage,
Yet never have we seized a town, or even sacked a village.”
John Gilbert said unto his mates— “Though partners we have been
In all rascality, yet we no festal day have seen.”

John Gilbert said he thought he saw no obstacle to hinder a
Piratical descent upon the town of Canowindra.
So into Canowindra town rode Gilbert and his men,
And all the Canowindra folk subsided there and then.

The Canowindra populace cried, “Here’s a lot of strangers!!!”
But immediately recovered when they found they were bushrangers.
And Johnny Gilbert said to them, “You need not be afraid.
We are only old companions whom bushrangers you have made.”

And Johnny Gilbert said, said he, “We’ll never hurt a hair
Of men who bravely recognise that we are just all there.”
The New South Welshmen said at once, not making any fuss,
That Johnny Gilbert, after all, was “Just but one of us.”

So Johnny Gilbert took the town (including public houses),
And treated all the “cockatoos” and shouted for their spouses.
And Miss O’Flanagan performed in manner quite gintailly
Upon the grand pianner for the bushranger O’Meally.

And every stranger passing by they took, and when they got him
They robbed him of his money and occasionally shot him.
And Johnny’s enigmatic feat admits of this solution,
That bushranging in New South Wales is a favoured institution.

So Johnny Gilbert ne’er allows an anxious thought to fetch him,
For well he knows the Government don’t really want to ketch him.
And if such practices should be to New South Welshmen dear,
With not the least demurring word ought we to interfere.



[Mr. Jordan was sent to England by the Queensland Government in 1858, 1859, and 1860 to lecture on the advantages of immigration, and told the most extraordinary tales about the place.]

(Air: “Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.”)

Now Jordan’s land of promise is the burden of my song.
Perhaps you’ve heard him lecture, and blow about it strong;
To hear him talk you’d think it was a heaven upon earth,
But listen and I’ll tell you now the plain unvarnished truth.

Here mutton, beef, and damper are all you’ll get to eat,
From Monday morn till Sunday night, all through the blessed week.
And should the flour bag run short, then mutton, beef, and tea
Will be your lot, and whether or not, ’twill have to do, you’ll see.

Here snakes and all vile reptiles crawl around you as you walk,
But these you never hear about in Mr. Jordan’s talk;
Mosquitoes, too, and sandflies, they will tease you all the night,
And until you get quite colonised you’ll be a pretty sight.

Here are boundless plains where it seldom rains, and you’ll maybe die of thirst;
But should you so dispose your bones, you’ll scarcely be the first,
For there’s many a strong and stalwart man come out to make his pile,
Who never leaves the fatal shore of this thrice accursed isle.

To sum it up in few short words, the place is only fit
For those who were sent out here, for from this they cannot flit.
But any other men who come a living here to try,
Will vegetate a little while and then lie down and die.


The Squatter’s Man

Come, all ye lads an’ list to me,
That’s left your homes an’ crossed the sea,
To try your fortune, bound or free,
    All in this golden land.
For twelve long months I had to pace,
Humping my swag with a cadging face,
Sleeping in the bush, like the sable race,
    As in my song you’ll understand.

Unto this country I did come,
A regular out-and-out new chum.
I then abhorred the sight of rum—
    Teetotal was my plan.
But soon I learned to wet one eye—
Misfortune oft-times made me sigh.
To raise fresh funds I was forced to fly,
    And be a squatter’s man.

Soon at a station I appeared.
I saw the squatter with his beard,
And up to him I boldly steered,
    With my swag and billy-can.
I said, “Kind sir, I want a job!”
Said he, “Do you know how to snob
Or can you break in a bucking cob?”
    Whilst my figure he well did scan.

“’Tis now I want a useful cove
To stop at home and not to rove.
The scamps go about—a regular drove—
    I ’spose you’re one of the clan?
But I’ll give ten—ten, sugar an’ tea;
Ten bob a week, if you’ll suit me,
And very soon I hope you’ll be
    A handy squatter’s man.

“At daylight you must milk the cows,
Make butter, cheese, an’ feed the sows,
Put on the kettle, the cook arouse,
    And clean the family shoes.
The stable an’ sheep yard clean out,
And always answer when we shout,
With ‘Yes, ma’am,’ and ‘No, sir,’ mind your mouth;
    And my youngsters don’t abuse.

“You must fetch wood an’ water, bake an’ boil,
Act as butcher when we kill;
The corn an’ taters you must hill,
    Keep the garden spick and span.
You must not scruple in the rain
To take to market all the grain.
Be sure you come sober back again
    To be a squatter’s man.”

He sent me to an old bark hut,
Inhabited by a greyhound slut,
Who put her fangs through my poor fut,
    And, snarling, off she ran.
So once more I’m looking for a job,
Without a copper in my fob.
With Ben Hall or Gardiner I’d rather rob,
    Than be a squatter’s man.

* * * * * * * * * *

“Do you know how to snob?”—A snob in English slang is a bootmaker, so the squatter wanted his man to do a bit of boot-repairing.

“I’ll give ten, ten, sugar and tea.”—The    “ten, ten” refers to the amount—ten pounds weight—of flour and meat that made up the weekly ration on the stations.


The Stringy-Bark Cockatoo

I’m a broken-hearted miner, who loves his cup to drain,
Which often times has caused me to lie in frost and rain.
Roaming about the country, looking for some work to do,
I got a job of reaping off a stringy-bark cockatoo.


    Oh, the stringy-bark cockatoo,
    Oh, the stringy-bark cockatoo,
    I got a job of reaping off a stringy-bark cockatoo.

Ten bob an acre was his price—with promise of fairish board.
He said his crops were very light, ’twas all he could afford.
He drove me out in a bullock dray, and his piggery met my view.
Oh, the pigs and geese were in the wheat of the stringy-bark cockatoo.

        Chorus: Oh, the stringy-bark, &c.

The hut was made of the surface mud, the roof of a reedy thatch.
The doors and windows open flew without a bolt or latch.
The pigs and geese were in the hut, the hen on the table flew,
And she laid an egg in the old tin plate for the stringy-bark cockatoo.

        Chorus: Oh, the stringy-bark, &c.

For breakfast we had pollard, boys, it tasted like cobbler’s paste.
To help it down we had to eat brown bread with vinegar taste.
The tea was made of the native hops, which out on the ranges grew;
’Twas sweetened with honey bees and wax for the stringy-bark cockatoo.

        Chorus: Oh, the stringy-bark, &c.

For dinner we had goanna hash, we thought it mighty hard;
They wouldn’t give us butter, so we forced down bread and lard.
Quondong duff, paddy-melon pie, and wallaby Irish stew
We used to eat while reaping for the stringy-bark cockatoo.

        Chorus: Oh, the stringy-bark, &c.

When we started to cut the rust and smut was just beginning to shed,
And all we had to sleep on was a dog and sheep-skin bed.
The bugs and fleas tormented me, they made me scratch and screw;
I lost my rest while reaping for the stringy-bark cockatoo.

        Chorus: Oh, the stringy-bark, &c.

At night when work was over I’d nurse the youngest child,
And when I’d say a joking word, the mother would laugh and smile.
The old cocky, he grew jealous, and he thumped me black and blue,
And he drove me off without a rap—the stringy-bark cockatoo.

        Chorus: Oh, the stringy-bark, &c.

* * * * * * * * * *

[For note on this song, see Introduction.]


The Eumerella Shore

There’s a happy little valley on the Eumerella shore,
    Where I’ve lingered many happy hours away,
On my little free selection I have acres by the score,
    Where I unyoke the bullocks from the dray.


            To my bullocks then I say
            No matter where you stray,
                You will never be impounded any more;
            For you’re running, running, running on the duffer’s piece of land,
                Free selected on the Eumerella shore.

When the moon has climbed the mountains and the stars are shining bright,
    Then we saddle up our horses and away,
And we yard the squatters’ cattle in the darkness of the night,
    And we have the calves all branded by the day.


            Oh, my pretty little calf,
            At the squatter you may laugh,
                For he’ll never be your owner any more;
            For you’re running, running, running on the duffer’s piece of land,
                Free selected on the Eumerella shore.

If we find a mob of horses when the paddock rails are down,
    Although before they’re never known to stray,
Oh, quickly will we drive them to some distant inland town,
    And sell them into slav’ry far away.


            To Jack Robertson we’ll say
            You’ve been leading us astray,
                And we’ll never go a-farming any more;
            For it’s easier duffing cattle on the little piece of land
                Free selected on the Eumerella shore.


Jimmy Sago, Jackaroo

(Air: “Wearing of the Green.”)

If you want a situation, I’ll just tell you the plan
To get on to a station, I am just your very man.
Pack up the old portmanteau, and label it Paroo,
With a name aristocratic—Jimmy Sago, Jackaroo.

When you get on to the station, of small things you’ll make a fuss,
And in speaking of the station, mind, it’s we, and ours, and us.
Boast of your grand connections and your rich relations, too
And your own great expectations, Jimmy Sago, Jackaroo.

They will send you out on horseback, the boundaries to ride
But run down a marsupial and rob him of his hide,
His scalp will fetch a shilling and his hide another two,
Which will help to fill your pockets, Jimmy Sago, Jackaroo.
Yes, to fill your empty pockets, Jimmy Sago, Jackaroo.

When the boss wants information, on the men you’ll do a sneak,
And don a paper collar on your fifteen bob a week.
Then at the lamb-marking a boss they’ll make of you.
Now that’s the way to get on, Jimmy Sago, Jackaroo.

A squatter in the future I’ve no doubt you may be,
But if the banks once get you, they’ll put you up a tree.
To see you humping bluey, I know, would never do,
’Twould mean good-bye to our new chum, Jimmy Sago, Jackaroo.
Yes, good-bye to our new chum, Jimmy Sago, Jackaroo.

* * * * * * * * * *

A “Jackaroo” is a young man who comes to a station to get experience. He occupies a position much like that of an apprentice on a ship, and has to work with the men though supposed to be above them in social status. Hence these sneers at the Jackaroo.


The Plains of Riverine

I have come to tell you of the glorious news you’ll all be glad to hear,
Of the pleasant alterations that are taking place this year.
So kindly pay attention, and I’ll pass the whisper round,
The squatters of their own free will this year will pay the pound.

For this is a year of great prosperity, that everybody knows,
We’ll take no top knots off this year, nor trim them to the toes,
But a level cut for a level pound, and the rations thrown in free.
That’s how the squatters say they’ll keep their Sovereign’s Jubilee.

And kind Providence once more has sent the sweet, refreshing rains.
The trefoil and the barley grass wave high upon the plains,
The tanks all overflowing and the saltbush fresh and green,
It’s a pleasure for to ramble o’er the plains of Riverine.

Once more upon the rippling lake the wild swan flaps her wing.
Out in the lignum swamps once more frogs croak and crickets sing.
Once more the wild fowl, sporting midst the crab-holes, may be seen,
For prosperity is hovering o’er the plains of Riverine.

Yes, ’twill be a year of full and plenty for those back-block pioneers,
Though behind each scrub and saltbush you can spot the bunny’s ears;
And although the price for scalps is not so high as it has been,
Yet the bunny snappers they will thrive on the plains of Riverine.

You should see the jolly teamsters how with joy their faces beam,
As they talk about the crowfoot, carrots, crab-holes, and their team.
They tell you that this year they do intend to steer sixteen.
They’ll show the “cockies” how to plough the plains of Riverine.

Yes, in more respects than one it is a year of joy and glee,
And the news of our prosperity has crossed the briny sea.
Once more the Maorilander and the Tassey will be seen
Cooking johnny cakes and jimmies on the plains of Riverine.

They will gather like a regiment to the beating of the drum,
But it matters not to us from whence our future penmates come.
From New Zealand’s snow-clad summits or Tasmania’s meadows green,
We’ll always make them welcome on the plains of Riverine.

Down from her rocky peaks Monaro will send her champions bold;
Victoria will send her “cockies,” too, her honour to uphold.
They’ll be here from Cunnamulla, and the rolling downs between,
For this is the real convincing ground, these plains of Riverine.

I have a message to deliver now, before I say farewell,
Some news which all the squatters have commissioned me to tell;
Your backs well bent, bows long and clean, that’s what they want to see,
That your tallies may do you credit in this year of Jubilee.

* * * * * * * * *

“This year will pay the pound.”—A pound a hundred is the price for shearing sheep, and several bitterly fought-out strikes have taken place about it.

“We’ll take no topknots off this year nor trim them to the toes.”—Owing to the amiability of the squatters and the excellence of the season, the shearers intend to leave some of the wool on the sheep, i.e., the topknots on the head and wool down on the legs.

“To steer sixteen”—sixteen horses in the team.


The Sheep-Washers’ Lament

(Air: “The Bonnie Irish Boy.”)

Come now, ye sighing washers all,
    Join in my doleful lay,
Mourn for the times none can recall,
    With hearts to grief a prey.
We’ll mourn the washer’s sad downfall
    In our regretful strain,
Lamenting on the days gone by
    Ne’er to return again.

When first I went a-washing sheep
    The year was sixty-one,
The master was a worker then,
    The servant was a man;
But now the squatters, puffed with pride,
    They treat us with disdain;
Lament the days that are gone by
    Ne’er to return again.

From sixty-one to sixty-six,
    The bushman, stout and strong,
Would smoke his pipe and whistle his tune,
    And sing his cheerful song,
As wanton as the kangaroo
    That bounds across the plain.
Lament the days that are gone by
    Ne’er to return again.

Supplies of food unstinted, good,
    No squatter did withhold.
With plenty grog to cheer our hearts,
    We feared nor heat nor cold.
With six-and-six per man per day
    We sought not to complain.
Lament the days that are gone by
    Ne’er to return again.

With perfect health, a mine of wealth,
    Our days seemed short and sweet,
On pleasure bent our evenings spent,
    Enjoyment was complete.
But now we toil from morn till night,
    Though much against the grain,
Lamenting on the days gone by,
    Ne’er to return again.

I once could boast two noble steeds,
    To bear me on my way,
My good revolver in my belt,
    I never knew dismay.
But lonely now I hump my drum
    In sunshine and in rain,
Lamenting on the days gone by
    Ne’er to return again.

A worthy cheque I always earned,
    And spent it like a lord.
My dress a prince’s form would grace.
    And spells I could afford.
But now in tattered rags arrayed,
    My limbs they ache with pain,
Lamenting on the days gone by,
    Ne’er to return again.

May bushmen all in unity
    Combine with heart and hand,
May cursed cringing poverty
    Be banished from the land.
In Queensland may prosperity
    In regal glory reign,
And washers in the time to come
    Their vanished rights regain.


The Broken-Down Squatter

(Air: “It’s a fine hunting day.”)

Come, Stumpy, old man, we must shift while we can;
    All our mates in the paddock are dead.
Let us wave our farewells to Glen Eva’s sweet dells
    And the hills where your lordship was bred;
Together to roam from our drought-stricken home—
    It seems hard that such things have to be,
And its hard on a “hoss” when he’s nought for a boss
    But a broken-down squatter like me!


         For the banks are all broken, they say,
              And the merchants are all up a tree.
         When the bigwigs are brought to the Bankruptcy Court,
              What chance for a squatter like me.

No more shall we muster the river for fats,
    Or spiel on the Fifteen-mile plain,
Or rip through the scrub by the light of the moon,
    Or see the old stockyard again.
Leave the slip-panels down, it won’t matter much now,
    There are none but the crows left to see,
Perching gaunt in yon pine, as though longing to dine
    On a broken-down squatter like me.

         Chorus: For the banks, &c.

When the country was cursed with the drought at its worst,
    And the cattle were dying in scores,
Though down on my luck, I kept up my pluck,
    Thinking justice might temper the laws.
But the farce has been played, and the Government aid
    Ain’t extended to squatters, old son;
When my dollars were spent they doubled the rent,
    And resumed the best half of the run.

         Chorus: For the banks, &c.

’Twas done without reason, for leaving the season
    No squatter could stand such a rub;
For it’s useless to squat when the rents are so hot
    That one can’t save the price of one’s grub;
And there’s not much to choose ’twixt the banks and the Jews
    Once a fellow gets put up a tree;
No odds what I feel, there’s no court of appeal
    For a broken-down squatter like me.

          Chorus: For the banks, &c.


The Free Selector

(A Song of 1861.)

Ye sons of industry, to you I belong,
And to you I would dedicate a verse or a song,
Rejoicing o’er the victory John Robertson has won
Now the Land Bill has passed and the good time has come
     Now the Land Bill, &c.

No more with our swags through the bush need we roam
For to ask of another there to give us a home,
Now the land is unfettered and we may reside
In a home of our own by some clear waterside.
     In a home of our own, &c.

On some fertile spot which we may call our own,
Where the rich verdure grows, we will build up a home.
There industry will flourish and content will smile,
While our children rejoicing will share in our toil.
     While our children, &c.

We will plant our garden and sow our own field,
And eat from the fruits which industry will yield,
And be independent, what we long for have strived,
Though those that have ruled us the right long denied.
     Though those that have ruled us, &c.


A National Song for Australia Felix

Dark over the face of Nature sublime!
Reign’d tyranny, warfare, and every crime;
The world a desert—no oasis green
A man-loving soul on its surface had seen;
Then mercy above a mandate sent forth
An Eden to form—a refuge for worth.
From the ocean it came, with halo so bright,
Want, strife, and oppression were lost in its sight.


     First isle of the sea—brightest gem of the earth!
     In thee every virtue and joy shall have birth.
     A land of the just, the brave, and the free,
     Australia the happy, thou ever shalt be.

So earth in the flood no place for rest gave,
At length a green isle arose from the wave;
The dove o’er the waters the olive branch bore,
To show that one spot was cover’d no more;
Australia thus shall be sounded by fame,
And Europe shall echo the glorious name;
The brave, wise, and good, wherever oppress’d,
Shall fly to thy shores as a haven of rest.

      Chorus: First isle of the sea, &c.

Land of the orange, fig, olive, and vine;
’Midst earth’s fairest daughters the chaplet is thine;
No sick’ning vapours are borne on thy air,
But fragrance and melody twine sweetly there;
Thy ever-green fields proclaim plenty and peace,
If man doth his part, heaven sends the increase;
No customs to fetter, no enemy near,
Independence thy sons for ever must cheer.

      Chorus: First isle of the sea, &c.


Sunny New South Wales

We often hear men boast about the land which gave them birth,
And each one thinks his native land the fairest spot on earth;
In beauty, riches, power, no land can his surpass;
To his, all other lands on earth cannot even hold a glass.
Now, if other people have their boasts, then, say, why should not we,
For we can drink our jovial toast and sing with three times three;
For there’s not a country in the world where all that’s fair prevails
As here it does in this our land, our sunny New South Wales.


            Then toast with me our happy land,
                    Where all that’s fair prevails,
            Our colour’s blue and our hearts are true,
                    In sunny New South Wales.

Now let us take a passing glance at all that we possess.
That ours is such a wealthy land no stranger e’er would guess.
Why, we’ve land in store, indeed far more than ever we shall require,
And trees grow thick on every side in spite of axe and fire.
Our sheep and cattle millions count, our wool is classed A1;
In beef and mutton our fair land is not to be outdone.
Why, we’ve lately seen old England, who boasts her stock ne’er fails,
Has had to send for wholsome meat preserved in New South Wales.

        Chorus: Then toast with me, &c.

In childhood California was to us a land of gold,
And people said its riches were so vast, immense, untold.
But time has proved that mineral wealth exists not there alone,
For New South Wales possesses gold in many, many a stone.
And when the gold is taken from out its quartzy veins
A heap of silver, copper, tin, as a residue remains.
In fact we are a mass of wealth in all our hills and dales.
There’s not a country half as rich as sunny New South Wales.

        Chorus: Then toast with me, &c.

Our climate’s good, that all admit, our flowers are sweet and rare;
And scenes abound on every hand so marvellously fair.
Shame on the men who went away and of us wrote such lies.
Why, when Anthony Trollope came out here he nearly lost his eyes.
Our native girls are fair and good, their hearts are pure and true;
And to their colour stick like bricks, the bright Australian blue.
Some never loved a roving life, nor blest the ocean’s gales;
But they bless the breeze that blew them to a life in New South Wales.

        Chorus: Then toast with me, &c.


Bringing Home the Cows

Shadows of the twilight falling
    On the mountain’s brow,
To each other birds are calling,
    In the leafy bough.
Where the daisies are a-springing,
And the cattle bells are ringing,
Comes my Mary, gaily singing,
    Bringing home the cows.

By a bush the pathway skirted,
    Room for two allows.
All the cornfields are deserted,
    Idle are the ploughs.
Striving for wealth’s spoil and booty,
Farmer boys have finished duty,
When I meet my little beauty,
    Bringing home the cows.

Tender words and kind addresses,
    Most polite of bows,
Rosy cheeks and wavy tresses
    Do my passions rouse
Dress so natty and so cleanly,
Air so modest and so queenly.
Oh! so haughty, yet serenely,
    Bringing home the cows.

Arm-in-arm together walking,
    While the cattle browse,
Earnestly together talking,
    Plighting lovers’ vows.
Where the daisies are a-springing,
Wedding bells will soon be ringing,
Then we’ll watch our servant bringing
    Mine and Mary’s cows.


The Dying Stockman

(Air: The Old Stable Jacket.”)

A strapping young stockman lay dying,
    His saddle supporting his head;
His two mates around him were crying,
    As he rose on his pillow and said:


            “Wrap me up with my stockwhip and blanket,
                And bury me deep down below,
            Where the dingoes and crows can’t molest me,
                In the shade where the coolibahs grow.

“Oh! had I the flight of the bronzewing,
    Far o’er the plains would I fly,
Straight to the land of my childhood,
    And there would I lay down and die.

        Chorus: Wrap me up, &c.

“Then cut down a couple of saplings,
    Place one at my head and my toe,
Carve on them cross, stockwhip, and saddle,
    To show there’s a stockman below.

        Chorus: Wrap me up, &c.

“Hark! there’s the wail of a dingo,
    Watchful and weird—I must go,
For it tolls the death-knell of the stockman
    From the gloom of the scrub down below.

        Chorus: Wrap me up, &c.

“There’s tea in the battered old billy;
    Place the pannikins out in a row,
And we’ll drink to the next merry meeting,
    In the place where all good fellows go.

        Chorus: Wrap me up, &c.

“And oft in the shades of the twilight,
    When the soft winds are whispering low,
And the dark’ning shadows are falling,
    Sometimes think of the stockman below.”

        Chorus: Wrap me up, &c.


My Mate Bill

That’s his saddle on the tie-beam,
    And them’s his spurs up there
On the wall-plate over yonder—
    You ken see they ain’t a pair.

For the daddy of all the stockmen
    As ever come mustering here
Was killed in the flaming mulga,
    A-yarding a bald-faced steer.

They say as he’s gone to heaven,
    And shook off all worldly cares
But I can’t sight Bill in a halo
    Set up on three blinded hairs.

In heaven! what next I wonder,
    For strike me pink and blue,
If I see whatever in thunder
    They’ll find for Bill to do.

He’d never make one of them angels,
    With faces as white as chalk,
All wool to the toes like hoggets,
    And wings like an eagle-hawk.

He couldn’t ’arp for apples,
    His voice had tones as jarred,
And he’d no more ear than a bald-faced steer,
    Or calves in a branding yard.

He could sit on a bucking brumbie
    Like a nob in an easy chair,
And chop his name with a greenhide fall
    On the flank of a flying steer.

He could show them saints in glory
    The way that a fall should drop,
But sit on a throne—not William,
    Unless they could make it prop.

He mightn’t freeze to the seraphs,
    Or chum with the cherubim,
But if ever them seraph johnnies
    Get a-poking it like at him—

Well! if there’s hide in heaven,
    And silk for to make a lash,
He’ll yard ’em all in the Jasper Lake
    In a blinded lightning flash.

If the heavenly hosts get boxed now,
    As mobs most always will,
Who’ll cut ’em out like William,
    Or draft on a camp like Bill?

An ’orseman would find it awkward
    At first with a push that flew,
But blame my cats if I know what else
    They’ll find for Bill to do.

It’s hard if there ain’t no cattle,
    And perhaps they’ll let him sleep,
And wake him up at the judgment
    To draft those goats and sheep.

It’s playing it low on William,
    But perhaps he’ll buckle to,
To show them high-toned seraphs
    What a Mulga man can do.

If they saddles a big-boned angel,
    With a turn of speed, of course,
As can spiel like a four-year brumbie,
    And prop like an old camp horse,

And puts Bill up with a snaffle,
    A four or five inch spur,
And eighteen foot of greenhide
    To chop the blinded fur—

He’ll yard them blamed Angoras
    In a way that it’s safe to swear
Will make them tony seraphs
    Sit back on their thrones and stare.


Sam Holt

(Air: “Ben Bold.”)

Oh! don’t you remember Black Alice, Sam Holt—
    Black Alice, so dusky and dark,
The Warrego gin, with the straw through her nose,
    And teeth like a Moreton Bay shark.

The terrible sheepwash tobacco she smoked
    In the gunyah down there by the lake,
And the grubs that she roasted, and the lizards she stewed,
    And the damper you taught her to bake.

Oh! don’t you remember the moon’s silver sheen,
    And the Warrego sand-ridges white?
And don’t you remember those big bull-dog ants
    We caught in our blankets at night?

Oh! don’t you remember the creepers, Sam Holt,
    That scattered their fragrance around?
And don’t you remember that broken-down colt
    You sold me, and swore he was sound?

And don’t you remember that fiver, Sam Holt,
    You borrowed so frank and so free,
When the publican landed your fifty-pound cheque
    At Tambo your very last spree?

Luck changes some natures, but yours, Sammy Holt,
    Was a grand one as ever I see,
And I fancy I’ll whistle a good many tunes
    Ere you think of that fiver or me.

Oh! don’t you remember the cattle you duffed,
    And your luck at the Sandy Creek rush,
And the poker you played, and the bluffs that you bluffed,
    And your habits of holding a flush?

And don’t you remember the pasting you got
    By the boys down in Callaghan’s store,
When Tim Hooligan found a fifth ace in his hand,
    And you holding his pile upon four?

You were not the cleanest potato, Sam Holt,
    You had not the cleanest of fins.
But you made your pile on the Towers, Sam Holt,
    And that covers the most of your sins.

They say you’ve ten thousand per annum, Sam Holt,
    In England, a park and a drag;
Perhaps you forget you were six months ago
    In Queensland a-humping your swag.

But who’d think to see you now dining in state
    With a lord and the devil knows who,
You were flashing your dover, six short months ago,
    In a lambing camp on the Barcoo.

When’s my time coming?  Perhaps never, I think,
    And it’s likely enough your old mate
Will be humping his drum on the Hughenden-road
    To the end of the chapter of fate.


The Bushman

(Air: “Wearing of the Green.”)

When the merchant lies down, he can scarce go to sleep
For thinking of his merchandise upon the fatal deep;
His ships may be cast away or taken in a war,
So him alone we’ll envy not, who true bushmen are.

            Chorus:           Who true bushmen are,
                                    Who true bushmen are,
    So him alone we’ll envy not, who true bushmen are!

When the soldier lies down, his mind is full of thought
O’er seeking that promotion which so long he has sought;
He fain would gain repose for mortal wound or scar,
So him also we’ll envy not, who true bushmen are.

            Chorus: Who true bushmen are, &c.

When the sailor lies down, his mind he must prepare
To rouse out in a minute if the wind should prove unfair.
His voyage may be stopped for the want of a spar,
So him also we’ll envy not, who true bushmen are.

            Chorus: Who true bushmen are, &c.

When the bushman lies down, his mind is free from care,
He knows his stock will furnish him with meat, wear and tear.
Should all commerce be ended in the event of a war,
Then bread and beef won’t fail us boys, who true bushmen are.

            Chorus: Who true bushmen are, &c.

Then fill, fill your glasses, a toast I’ll give you, then,
To you who call yourselves true-hearted men.
Here’s a health to the soldier and e’en the jolly tar,
And may they always meet as good friends as we bushmen are.

            Chorus:           Who true bushmen are,
                                    Who true bushmen are,
And may they always meet as good friends as we bushmen are.



(Air: “Bow, Wow, Wow.”)

Now, shut your mouths, you loafers all,
    You vex me with your twaddle,
You own a nag or big or small,
    A bridle and a saddle;
I you advise at once be wise
    And waste no time in talking,
Procure some bags of damaged rags
    And make your fortune hawking.


        Hawk, hawk, hawk.
        Our bread to win, we’ll all begin
        To hawk, hawk, hawk.

The stockmen and the bushmen and
    The shepherds leave the station,
And the hardy bullock-punchers throw
    Aside their occupation;
While some have horses, some have drays,
    And some on foot are stalking;
We surely must conclude it pays
    When all are going hawking.

        Chorus: Hawk, hawk, hawk, &c.

A life it is so full of bliss
    ’Twould suit the very niggers,
And lads I know a-hawking go
    Who scarce can make the figures
But penmanship’s no requisite,
    Keep matters square by chalking
With pencil or with ruddle, that’s
    Exact enough for hawking.

        Chorus: Hawk, hawk, hawk, &c.

The hawker’s gay for half the day,
    While others work he’s spelling,
Though he may stay upon the way,
    His purse is always swelling;
With work his back is never bent
    His hardest toil is talking;
Three hundred is the rate per cent.
    Of profit when a-hawking.

        Chorus: Hawk, hawk, hawk, &c.

Since pedlaring yields more delight
    Than ever digging gold did,
And since to fortune’s envied height
    The path I have unfolded,
We’ll fling our moleskins to the dogs
    And don tweeds without joking,
And honest men as well as rogues
    We’ll scour the country hawking.

        Chorus: Hawk, hawk, hawk, &c.


Colonial Experience

[By A New Chum]

(Air: “So Early in the Morning.”)

When first I came to Sydney Cove
And up and down the streets did rove,
I thought such sights I ne’er did see
Since first I learnt my A, B, C.


    Oh! it’s broiling in the morning,
    It’s toiling in the morning,
    It’s broiling in the morning,
    It’s toiling all day long.

Into the park I took a stroll—
I felt just like a buttered roll.
A pretty name “The Sunny South!”
A better one “The Land of Drouth!”

        Chorus: Oh! it’s broiling, &c.

Next day into the bush I went,
On wild adventure I was bent,
Dame Nature’s wonders I’d explore,
All thought of danger would ignore.

        Chorus: Oh! it’s broiling, &c.

The mosquitoes and bull-dog ants
Assailed me even through my pants.
It nearly took my breath away
To hear the jackass laugh so gay!

        Chorus: Oh! it’s broiling, &c.

This lovely country, I’ve been told,
Abounds in silver and in gold.
You may pick it up all day,
Just as leaves in autumn lay!

        Chorus: Oh! it’s broiling, &c.

Marines will chance this yarn believe,
But bluejackets you can’t deceive.
Such pretty stories will not fit,
Nor can I their truth admit.

        Chorus: Oh! it’s broiling, &c.

Some say there’s lots of work to do.
Well, yes, but then, ’twixt me and you,
A man may toil and broil all day—
The big, fat man gets all the pay,

        Chorus: Oh! it’s broiling, &c.

Mayhap such good things there may be,
But you may have them all, for me,
Instead of roaming foreign parts
I wish I’d studied the Fine Arts!

        Chorus: Oh! it’s broiling, &c.


The Stockmen of Australia

The stockmen of Australia, what rowdy boys are they,
They will curse and swear an hurricane if you come in their way.
They dash along the forest on black, bay, brown, or grey,
And the stockmen of Australia, hard-riding boys are they.

        Chorus: And the stockmen, &c.

By constant feats of horsemanship, they procure for us our grub,
And supply us with the fattest beef by hard work in the scrub.
To muster up the cattle they cease not night nor day,
And the stockmen of Australia, hard-riding boys are they.

        Chorus: And the stockmen, &c.

Just mark him as he jogs along, his stockwhip on his knee,
His white mole pants and polished boots and jaunty cabbage-tree.
His horsey-pattern Crimean shirt of colours bright and gay,
And the stockmen of Australia, what dressy boys are they.

        Chorus: And the stockmen, &c.

If you should chance to lose yourself and drop upon his camp,
He’s there reclining on the ground, be it dry or be it damp.
He’ll give you hearty welcome, and a stunning pot of tea,
For the stockmen of Australia, good-natured boys are they.

        Chorus: For the stockmen, &c.

If down to Sydney you should go, and there a stockman meet,
Remark the sly looks cast on him as he roams through the street.
From the shade of lovely bonnets steal forth those glances gay,
For the stockmen of Australia, the ladies’ pets are they.

        Chorus: For the stockmen, &c.

Whatever fun is going on, the stockman will be there,
Be it theatre or concert, or dance or fancy fair.
To join in the amusements be sure he won’t delay,
For the stockmen of Australia, light-hearted boys are they.

        Chorus: For the stockmen, &c.

Then here’s a health to every lass, and let the toast go round,
To as jolly a set of fellows as ever yet were found.
And all good luck be with them, for ever and to-day,
Here’s to the stockmen of Australia—hip, hip, hooray!

Chorus: Here’s to the stockmen, &c.


It’s Only a Way He’s Got

(As sung by the camp fire.)

No doubt the saying’s all abroad,
    And rattling through the land.
We hear it at the mangle, too,
    With “What are you going to stand?”
I’m sure I don’t know which to choose,
    There’s really such a lot—
But I hope my song you’ll not refuse,
    For it’s only a way I’ve got.

        Chorus: Tol, lol, litter, tol, lol.
                      Tol, lol, the rol, lay.

In Sydney town a gal I met,
    Her dress was rather gay,
I think the place, it was Pitt Street,
    Or somewhere near that way.
Says she, “The night is very cold,
    Pray, stand a drop of Hot.
I hope my freedom you’ll excuse,
    For it’s only a way I’ve got.”

        Chorus: Tol, lol, &c.

The drink we soon put out of sight,
    And off for home did walk,
When a fellow came up and quite polite
    To her began to talk.
He drew my ticker from my fob,
    And bolted like a shot.
Says she, “Oh, take no notice, Bob,
    It’s only a way he’s got.”

        Chorus: Tol, lol, &c.

Says I, “I’ll soon catch you, my chap,”
    And arter him I flies,
When another stepped up and knocked my hat
    Completely o’er my eyes.
He from my pocket drew my purse,
    And off with it did trot;
Says she, “It’s well it is no worse,
But it’s only a way he’s got.”

        Chorus: Tol, lol, &c.

A little further on we went.
    I had got rather shy.
Then a butcher ran his tray
    Right bang into my eye.
The fellow said it was my fault,
    Called me a drunken sot.
Then, like a thief, he slunk away,
    ’Twas only a way he’d got!

        Chorus: Tol, lol, &c.

Now, as we walked along the street,
    A lot of chaps we met.
I saw they on a game were bent;
    Says they, “How fat you get!”
I got from them some ugly pokes,
    They made me a regular Scot.
They said, “Oh, never mind our jokes,
    It’s only a way we’ve got!”

        Chorus: Tol, lol, &c.

I have grown tired of Sydney town
    Since I’ve lost all my cash,
And so will up the country go,
    And tell them of my smash.
Oh, then we’ll have such lots of fun,
    I’ll court Miss Polly Scott;
And if she asks me what I mean
    I’ll tell her it’s a way I’ve got.

        Chorus: Tol, lol, &c.


The Loafers’ Club

A club there is established here, whose name they say is Legion
From Melbourne to the Billabong, they’re known in every region.
They do not like the cockatoos, but mostly stick to stations,
Where they keep themselves from starving by cadging shepherds’ rations.

The rules and regulations, they’re not difficult of learning,
They are to live upon the cash which others have been earning.
To never let a chance go by of being in a shout, sir,
And if they see a slant to turn your pockets inside out, sir.

They’ll cadge your baccy, knife, and pipe, and tell a tale of sorrow
Of how they cannot get a job, but mean to start to-morrow.
But that to-morrow never comes, until they see quite plainly
That it’s completely up the spout with Messrs. Scrase and Ainley.

If, feeling thirsty, you should go to take a little suction,
I’ll swear they’ll not be long before they’ll force an introduction.
One knew you here, one knew you there, all love you like a brother,
And if one plan will not succeed, they’ll quickly try another.

I knew one poor, unhappy wight, having a little ready,
Entered a Smeaton public-house, determined to keep steady.
A celebrated loafer there determined upon showing him
That he once had the pleasure and the privilege of knowing him.

Through hills and dales, by lakes and streams, he close pursued his victim,
Until the miserable man confessed that be quite lidked him.
In vain the quarry tried to turn, pursuit was far too strong, sir,
The loafer followed up the scent and earthed him in Geelong, sir.

The noble art of lambing down they know in all its beauty,
And if they do not squeeze you dry, they’ll think they’ve failed in duty.
But, truth to say, they seldom fail to do that duty neatly,
And very few escape their hands who’re not cleared out completely.


The Old Keg of Rum

My name is old Jack Palmer,
    I’m a man of olden days,
And so I wish to sing a song
    To you of olden praise.
To tell of merry friends of old
    When we were gay and young;
How we sat and sang together
    Round the Old Keg of Rum.


    Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
    How we sat and sang together
            Round the Old Keg of Rum.

There was I and Jack the plough-boy,
    Jem Moore and old Tom Hines,
And poor old Tom the fiddler,
    Who now in glory shines;
And several more of our old chums,
    Who shine in Kingdom Come,
We all associated round the
    Old Keg of Rum.


    Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
    We all associated round the
            Old Keg of Rum.

And when harvest time was over,
    And we’d get our harvest fee,
We’d meet, and quickly rise the keg,
    And then we’d have a spree.
We’d sit and sing together
    Till we got that blind and dumb
That we couldn’t find the bunghole
    Of the Old Keg of Rum.


    Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
    That we couldn’t find the bunghole
            Of the Old Keg of Rum.

Its jovially together, boys—
    We’d laugh, we’d chat, we’d sing;
Sometimes we’d have a little row
    Some argument would bring.
And oftimes in a scrimmage, boys,
    I’ve corked it with my thumb,
To keep the life from leaking
    From the Old Keg of Rum.


    Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
    To keep the life from leaking
            From the Old Keg of Rum.

But when our spree was ended, boys,
    And waking from a snooze,
For to give another drain
    The old keg would refuse.
We’d rap it with our knuckles—
    If it sounded like a drum,
We’d know the life and spirit
    Had left the Old Keg of Rum.


    Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
    We’d know the life and spirit
            Had left the Old Keg of Rum.

Those happy days have passed away,
    I’ve seen their pleasures fade;
And many of our good old friends
    Have with old times decayed.
But still, when on my travels, boys,
    If I meet with an old chum,
We will sigh, in conversation,
    Of the Grand Old Keg of Rum.


    Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
    We will sigh, in conversation,
            Of the Grand Old Keg of Rum.

So now, kind friends, I end my song,
    I hope we’ll meet again,
And, as I’ve tried to please you all,
    I hope you won’t complain.
You younger folks who learn my song,
    Will, perhaps, in years to come,
Remember old Jack Palmer
    And the Old Keg Of Rum.


    Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
    Remember old Jack Palmer
            And the Old Keg of Rum.


The Murrumbidgee Shearer

Come, all you jolly natives, and I’ll relate to you
Some of my observations—adventures, too, a few.
I’ve travelled about the country for miles, full many a score,
And oft-times would have hungered, but for the cheek I bore.

I’ve coasted on the Barwon—low down the Darling, too,
I’ve been on the Murrumbidgee, and out on the Paroo;
I’ve been on all the diggings, boys, from famous Ballarat;
I’ve loafed upon the Lachlan and fossicked Lambing Flat.

I went up to a squatter, and asked him for a feed,
But the knowledge of my hunger was swallowed by his greed.
He said I was a loafer and for work had no desire,
And so, to do him justice, I set his shed on fire.

Oh, yes, I’ve touched the shepherd’s hut, of sugar, tea, and flour;
And a tender bit of mutton I always could devour.
I went up to a station, and there I got a job;
Plunged in the store, and hooked it, with a very tidy lob.

Oh, yes, my jolly dandies, I’ve done it on the cross.
Although I carry bluey now, I’ve sweated many a horse.
I’ve helped to ease the escort of many’s the ounce of gold;
The traps have often chased me, more times than can be told.

Oh, yes, the traps have chased me, been frightened of their stripes
They never could have caught me, they feared my cure for gripes.
And well they knew I carried it, which they had often seen
A-glistening in my flipper, chaps, a patent pill machine.

I’ve been hunted like a panther into my mountain lair.
Anxiety and misery my grim companions there.
I’ve planted in the scrub, my boys, and fed on kangaroo,
And wound up my avocations by ten years on Cockatoo.

So you can understand, my boys, just from this little rhyme,
I’m a Murrumbidgee shearer, and one of the good old time.


The Swagman

Kind friends, pray give attention
    To this, my little song.
Some rum things I will mention,
    And I’ll not detain you long.
Up and down this country
    I travel, don’t you see,
I’m a swagman on the wallaby,
    Oh! don’t you pity me.
I’m a swagman on the wallaby,
    Oh! don’t you pity me.

At first I started shearing,
    And I bought a pair of shears.
On my first sheep appearing,
    Why, I cut off both its ears.
Then I nearly skinned the brute,
    As clean as clean could he.
So I was kicked out of the shed,
    Oh! don’t you pity me, &c.

I started station loafing,
    Short stages and took my ease;
So all day long till sundown
    I’d camp beneath the trees.
Then I’d walk up to the station,
    The manager to see.
“Boss, I’m hard up and I want a job,
    Oh! don’t you pity me,” &c.

Says the overseer: “Go to the hut.
    In the morning I’ll tell you
If I’ve any work about
    I can find for you to do.”
But at breakfast I cuts off enough
    For dinner, don’t you see.
And then my name is Walker.
    Oh! don’t you pity me.
I’m a swagman, &c.

And now, my friends, I’ll say good-bye,
    For I must go and camp.
For if the Sergeant sees me
    He may take me for a tramp;
But if there’s any covey here
    What’s got a cheque, d’ye see,
I’ll stop and help him smash it.
    Oh! don’t you pity me.
I’m a swagman on the wallaby,
    Oh! don’t you pity me.

* * * * * * * * * *

“A Swagman on the Wallaby.”—A nomad following track of the wallaby, i.e., loafing aimlessly.


The Stockman

(Air: “A wet sheet and a flowing sea.”)

A bright sun and a loosened rein,
    A whip whose pealing sound
Rings forth amid the forest trees
    As merrily forth we bound—
As merrily forth we bound, my boys,
    And, by the dawn’s pale light,
Speed fearless on our horses true
    From morn till starry night.

“Oh! for a tame and quiet herd,”
    I hear some crawler cry;
But give to me the mountain mob
    With the flash of their tameless eye—
With the flash of their tameless eye, my boys,
    As down the rugged spur
Dash the wild children of the woods,
    And the horse that mocks at fear.

There’s mischief in yon wide-horned steer,
    There’s danger in yon cow;
Then mount, my merry horsemen all,
    The wild mob’s bolting now—
The wild mob’s bolting now, my boys,
    But ’twas never in their hides
To show the way to the well-trained nags
    That are rattling by their sides.

Oh! ’tis jolly to follow the roving herd
    Through the long, long summer day,
And camp at night by some lonely creek
    When dies the golden ray.
Where the jackass laughs in the old gum tree,
    And our quart-pot tea we sip;
The saddle was our childhood’s home,
    Our heritage the whip.


The Maranoa Drovers

(Air: “Little Sally Waters.”)

The night is dark and stormy, and the sky is clouded o’er;
    Our horses we will mount and ride away,
To watch the squatters’ cattle through the darkness of the night,
    And we’ll keep them on the camp till break of day.


    For we’re going, going, going to Gunnedah so far,
            And we’ll soon be into sunny New South Wales;
    We shall bid farewell to Queensland, with its swampy coolibah—
            Happy drovers from the sandy Maranoa.

When the fires are burning bright through the darkness of the night,
    And the cattle camping quiet, well, I’m sure
That I wish for two o’clock when I call the other watch—
    This is droving from the sandy Maranoa.

Our beds made on the ground, we are sleeping all so sound
    When we’re wakened by the distant thunder’s roar,
And the lightning’s vivid flash, followed by an awful crash—
    It’s rough on drovers from the sandy Maranoa.

We are up at break of day, and we’re all soon on the way,
    For we always have to go ten miles or more;
It don’t do to loaf about, or the squatter will come out—
    He’s strict on drovers from the sandy Maranoa.

We shall soon be on the Moonie, and we’ll cross the Barwon, too;
    Then we’ll be out upon the rolling plains once more;
We’ll shout “Hurrah! for old Queensland, with its swampy coolibah,
    And the cattle that come off the Maranoa.”


River Bend

(Air: “Belle Mahone.”)

At River Bend, in New South Wales,
All alone among the whales,
Busting up some post and rails,
                Sweet Belle Mahone.
In the blazing sun we stand,
Cabbage-tree hat, black velvet band,
Moleskins stiff with sweat and sand,
                Sweet Belle Mahone.

Chorus: Sweet Belle Mahone, &c.

In the burning sand we pine,
No one asks us to have a wine,
’Tis a jolly crooked line,
                Sweet Belle Mahone.
When I am sitting on a log,
Looking like a great big frog,
Waiting for a Murray cod,
                Sweet Belle Mahone.

Land of snakes and cockatoos,
Native bears and big emus,
Ugly blacks and kangaroos,
                Sweet Belle Mahone.
Paddymelons by the score,
Wild bulls, you should hear them roar,
They all belong to Johnny Dore,
                Sweet Belle Mahone.

* * * * * * * * * *

“River Bend.”—This song certainly cannot boast of antiquity, as it is a parody on a recent sentimental song, but so many correspondents sent it in that it was decided to include it. Perhaps it is to its obvious sincerity of sentiment that it owes its popularity.


Song of the Squatter

    [The subjoined is one of the “Songs of the Squatters,” written by the Hon. Robert Lowe (afterwards Viscount Sherbrooke), while resident in New South Wales.]

The commissioner bet me a pony—I won;
So he cut off exactly two-thirds of my run;
For he said I was making a fortune too fast,
And profit gained slower the longer would last.

He remarked as devouring my mutton he sat,
That I suffered my sheep to grow sadly too fat;
That they wasted waste land, did prerogative brown,
And rebelliously nibbled the droits of the Crown;—

That the creek that divided my station in two
Showed that Nature designed that two fees should be due.
Mr. Riddle assured me ’twas paid but for show;
But he kept it and spent it; that’s all that I know.

The Commissioner fined me because I forgot
To return an old ewe that was ill of the rot,
And a poor wry-necked lamb that we kept for a pet;
And he said it was treason such things to forget.

The Commissioner pounded my cattle because
They had mumbled the scrub with their famishing jaws
On the part of the run he had taken away;
And he sold them by auction the costs to defray.

The Border Police they were out all the day
To look for some thieves who had ransacked my dray;
But the thieves they continued in quiet and peace,
For they’d robbed it themselves—had the Border Police!

When the white thieves had left me the black thieves appeared,
My shepherds they waddied, my cattle they speared;
But for fear of my licence I said not a word,
For I knew it was gone if the Government heard.

The Commissioner’s bosom with anger was filled
Against me because my poor shepherd was killed;
So he straight took away the last third of my run,
And got it transferred to the name of his son.

The son had from Cambridge been lately expelled,
And his licence for preaching most justly withheld!
But this is no cause, the Commissioner says,
Why he should not be fit for a licence to graze.

The cattle that had not been sold at the pound
He took with the run at five shillings all round;
And the sheep the blacks left me at sixpence a head—
“A very good price,” the Commissioner said.

The Governor told me I justly was served,
That Commissioners never from duty had swerved;
But that if I’d a fancy for any more land
For one pound an acre he’d plenty on hand.

I’m not very proud! I can dig in a bog,
Feed pigs or for firewood can split up a log,
Clean shoes, riddle cinders, or help to boil down—
Or whatever you please, but graze lands of the Crown.


Wallabi Joe

(Air: “The Mistletoe Bough.”)

The saddle was hung on the stockyard rail,
And the poor old horse stood whisking his tail,
For there never was seen such a regular screw
As Wallabi Joe, of Bunnagaroo;
Whilst the shearers all said, as they say, of course,
That Wallabi Joe’s a fine lump of a horse;
But the stockmen said, as they laughed aside,
He’d barely do for a Sunday’s ride.

        Chorus: Oh! poor Wallabi Joe.
                      O—oh! poor Wallabi Joe.

“I’m weary of galloping now,” he cried,
“I wish I were killed for my hide, my hide;
For my eyes are dim, and my back is sore,
And I feel that my legs won’t stand much more.”
Now stockman Bill, who took care of his nag,
Put under the saddle a soojee bag,
And off he rode with a whip in his hand
To look for a mob of the R.J. brand.

        Chorus: Oh! poor Wallabi Joe, &c.

Now stockman Bill camped out that night,
And he hobbled his horse in a sheltered bight;
Next day of old Joe he found not a track,
So he had to trudge home with his swag on his back.
He searched up and down every gully he knew,
But he found not a hair of his poor old screw,
And the stockmen all said as they laughed at his woe,
“Would you sell us the chance of old Wallabi Joe.”

        Chorus: Oh! poor Wallabi Joe, &c.

Now as years sped by, and as Bill grew old,
It came into his head to go poking for gold;
So away he went with a spade in his fist,
To hunt for a nugget among the schist.
One day as a gully he chanced to cross,
He came on the bones of his poor old horse;
The hobbles being jammed in a root below
Had occasioned the death of poor Wallabi Joe.

        Chorus: Oh! poor Wallabi Joe, &c.


The Squatter of the Olden Time

(Air: “A fine old English gentleman.”)

I’ll sing to you a fine new song, made by my blessed mate,
Of a fine Australian squatter who had a fine estate,
Who swore by right pre-emptive at a sanguinary rate
That by his rams, his ewes, his lambs, Australia was made great—
    Like a fine Australian squatter, one of the olden time.

His hut around was hung with guns, whips, spurs, and boots and shoes,
And kettles and tin pannikins to hold the tea he brews;
And here his worship lolls at ease and takes his smoke and snooze,
And quaffs his cup of hysouskin, the beverage old chums choose—
    Like a fine Australian squatter, one of the olden time.

And when shearing time approaches he opens hut to all,
And though ten thousand are his flocks, he featly shears them all,
Even to the scabby wanderer you’d think no good at all;
For while he fattens all the great, he boils down all the small—
    Like a fine old Murray squatter, one of the olden time.

And when his worship comes to town his agents for to see,
His wool to ship, his beasts to sell, he lives right merrily;
The club his place of residence, as becomes a bush J.P.,
He darkly hints that Thompson’s run from scab is scarcely free—
    This fine old Murray settler, one of the olden time.

And now his fortune he has made to England straight goes he,
But finds with grief he’s not received as he had hoped to be.
His friends declare his habits queer, his language much too free,
And are somewhat apt to cross the street when him they chance to see—
    This fine Australian squatter, the boy of the olden time.


The Stockman’s Last Bed

Be ye stockmen or no, to my story give ear.
Alas! for poor Jack, no more shall we hear
The crack of his stockwhip, his steed’s lively trot,
His clear “Go ahead, boys,” his jingling quart pot.


    For we laid him where wattles their sweet fragrance shed,
    And the tall gum trees shadow the stockman’s last bed.

Whilst drafting one day he was horned by a cow.
“Alas!” cried poor Jack, “it’s all up with me now,
For I never again shall my saddle regain,
Nor bound like a wallaby over the plain.”

His whip it is silent, his dogs they do mourn,
His steed looks in vain for his master’s return;
No friend to bemoan him, unheeded he dies;
Save Australia’s dark sons, few know where he lies.

Now, stockman, if ever on some future day
After the wild mob you happen to stray,
Tread softly where wattles their sweet fragrance spread,
Where alone and neglected poor Jack’s bones are laid.


Mustering Song

(Air: “So Early in the Morning.”)

The boss last night in the hut did say—
“We start to muster at break of day;
So be up first thing, and don’t be slow;
Saddle your horses and off you go.”


    So early in the morning, so early in the morning,
    So early in the morning, before the break of day.

Such a night in the yard there never was seen
(The horses were fat and the grass was green);
Bursting of girths and slipping of packs
As the stockmen saddled the fastest hacks.

        Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

Across the plain we jog along
Over gully, swamp, and billabong;
We drop on a mob pretty lively, too
We round ’em up and give ’em a slue.

        Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

Now the scrub grows thick and the cattle are wild,
A regular caution to this ’ere child—
A new chum man on an old chum horse,
Who sails through the scrub as a matter of course.

        Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

I was close up stuck in a rotten bog;
I got a buster jumping a log;
I found this scouting rather hot,
So I joined the niggers with the lot we’d got.

        Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

A long-haired shepherd we chanced to meet
With a water bag, billy, and dog complete;
He came too close to a knocked up steer,
Who up a sapling made him clear.

        Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

Now on every side we faintly hear
The crack of the stockwhip drawing near;
To the camp the cattle soon converge,
As from the thick scrub they emerge.

        Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

We hastily comfort the inner man
With the warm contents of the billy can;
The beef and damper are passed about
Before we tackle the cutting out.

        Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

We’re at it now—that bally calf
Would surely make a sick man laugh;
The silly fool can’t take a joke;
I hope some day in the drought he’ll croak.

        Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

We’ve got ’em now—the cows and calves
(Things here are never done by halves);
Strangers, workers, and milkers, too,
Of scrubbers also not a few.

        Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

It’s getting late, we’d better push;
’Tis a good long way across the bush,
And the mob to drive are middling hard;
I do not think we’ll reach the yard.

        Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.


The Australian Stockman

The sun peers o’er yon wooded ridge and thro’ the forest dense,
Its golden edge o’er the mountain ledge looks down on the stockyard fence,
Looks down, looks down, looks down on the stockyard fence;
And dark creeks rush thro’ the tangled brush, when their shuddering shadows throng
Until they chime in the rude rough rhyme of the wild goburra’s song.


    Till they chime, ha! ha! till they chime, ha! ha! in the wild goburra’s song;
    Till they chime, ha! ha! till they chime, ha! ha! in the wild goburra’s song.

The night owl to her home hath fled, to shun the glorious pomp
Of golden day she speeds away to her nest in the tea-tree swamp;
Away, away to her nest in the tea-tree swamp.
The dingo looks with a timid stare as he stealthily prowls along,
And his pattering feet in concert beat with the wild goburra’s song.

        Chorus: And they beat, ha! ha! &c.

Oh! let them boast their city’s wealth, who toil in a dusty town;
Give me the beam on the mountain stream, and the range’s dark-faced frown—
The stream, the stream, and the range’s dark-faced frown.
When our steed shall pass o’er the quiv’ring grass, and the crack of the sounding thong
Shall bid the startled echoes join the wild goburra’s song.

        Chorus: And they join, ha! ha! &c.


The Shepherd

(Air: “She Wore a Wreath of Roses.”)

He wore an old blue shirt the night that first we met,
An old and tattered cabbage-tree concealed his locks of jet;
His footsteps had a languor, his voice a husky tone;
Both man and dog were spent with toil as they slowly wandered home.


    I saw him but a moment—yet methinks I see him now—
    While his sheep were gently feeding ’neath the rugged mountain brow.

When next we met, the old blue shirt and cabbage-tree were gone;
A brand new suit of tweed and “Doctor Dod” he had put on;
Arm in arm with him was one who strove, and not in vain,
To ease his pockets of their load by drinking real champagne.

    I saw him but a moment, and he was going a pace,
    Shouting nobbler after nobbler, with a smile upon his face.

When next again I saw that man his suit of tweed was gone,
The old blue shirt and cabbage-tree once more he had put on;
Slowly he trudged along the road and took the well-known track
From the station he so lately left with a swag upon his back.

    I saw him but a moment as he was walking by
    With two black eyes and broken nose and a tear-drop in his eye.


The Overlander

There’s a trade you all know well—
    It’s bringing cattle over—
I’ll tell you all about the time
    When I became a drover.
I made up my mind to try the spec,
    To the Clarence I did wander,
And bought a mob of duffers there
    To begin as an overlander.


    Pass the wine cup round, my boys;
            Don’t let the bottle stand there,
    For to-night we’ll drink the health
            Of every overlander.

Next morning counted the cattle
    Saw the outfit ready to start,
Saw all the lads well mounted,
    And their swags put in a cart.
All kinds of men I had
    From France, Germany, and Flanders;
Lawyers, doctors, good and bad,
    In the mob of overlanders.

Next morning I set out
    When the grass was green and young;
And they swore they’d break my snout
    If I did not move along.
I said, “You’re very hard;
    Take care, don’t raise my dander,
For I’m a regular knowing card,
    The Queensland overlander.”

’Tis true we pay no license,
    And our run is rather large;
’Tis not often they can catch us,
    So they cannot make a charge.
They think we live on store beef,
    But no, I’m not a gander;
When a good fat stranger joins the mob,
“He’ll do,” says the overlander.

One day a squatter rode up.
    Says he, “You’re on my run;
I’ve got two boys as witnesses.
    Consider your stock in pound.”
I tried to coax, then bounce him,
    But my tin I had to squander,
For he put threepence a head
    On the mob of the overlander.

The pretty girls in Brisbane
    Were hanging out their duds.
I wished to have a chat with them,
    So steered straight for the tubs.
Some dirty urchins saw me,
    And soon they raised my dander,
Crying, “Mother, quick! take in the clothes,
    Here comes an overlander!”

In town we drain the wine cup,
    And go to see the play,
And never think to be hard up
    For how to pass the day.
Each has a sweetheart there,
    Dressed out in all her grandeur—
Dark eyes and jet black flowing hair.
“She’s a plum,” says the overlander.


A Thousand Miles Away

(Air: “Ten Thousand Miles Away.”)

Hurrah for the Roma railway! Hurrah for Cobb and Co.,
And oh! for a good fat horse or two to carry me Westward Ho—
To carry me Westward Ho! my boys, that’s where the cattle stray
On the far Barcoo, where they eat nardoo, a thousand miles away.


    Then give your horses rein across the open plain,
    We’ll ship our meat both sound and sweet, nor care what some folks say;
    And frozen we’ll send home the cattle that now roam
    On the far Barcoo and the Flinders too, a thousand miles away.

Knee-deep in grass we’ve got to pass—for the truth I’m bound to tell—
Where in three weeks the cattle get as fat as they can swell—
As fat as they can swell, my boys; a thousand pounds they weigh,
On the far Barcoo, where they eat nardoo, a thousand miles away.

        Chorus: Then give your horses rein, &c.

No Yankee hide e’er grew outside such beef as we can freeze;
No Yankee pastures make such steers as we send o’er the seas—
As we send o’er the seas, my boys, a thousand pounds they weigh—
From the far Barcoo, where they eat nardoo, a thousand miles away.

        Chorus: Then give your horses rein, &c.


The Freehold on the Plain

(Air: “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane.”)

I’m a broken-down old squatter, my cash it is all gone,
    Of troubles and bad seasons I complain;
My cattle are all mortgaged, of horses I have none,
    And I’ve lost that little freehold on the plain.


    The stockyard’s broken down, and the woolshed’s tumbling in;
            I’ve written to the mortgagees in vain;
    My wool it is all damaged and it is not worth a pin,
            And I’ve lost that little freehold on the plain.

I commenced life as a squatter some twenty years ago,
    When fortune followed in my train;
But I speculated heavy and I’d have you all to know
    That I’ve lost that little freehold on the plain.

        Chorus: The stockyard’s broken down, &c.

I built myself a mansion, and chose myself a wife;
    Of her I have no reason to complain;
For I thought I had sufficient to last me all my life,
    But I’ve lost that little freehold on the plain.

        Chorus: The stockyard’s broken down, &c.

And now I am compelled to take a drover’s life,
    To drive cattle through the sunshine and the rain,
And to leave her behind me, my own dear loving wife—
    We were happy on that freehold on the plain.

        Chorus: The stockyard’s broken down, &c.


The Wallaby Brigade

You often have been told of regiments brave and bold,
But we are the bravest in the land;
We’re called the Tag-rag Band, and we rally in Queensland,
We are members of the Wallaby Brigade.


        Tramp, tramp, tramp across the borders,
        The swagmen are rolling up, I see.
        When the shearing’s at an end we’ll go fishing in a bend.
        Then hurrah! for the Wallaby Brigade.

When you are leaving camp, you must ask some brother tramp
If there are any jobs to be had,
Or what sort of a shop that station is to stop
For a member of the Wallaby Brigade.

        Chorus: Tramp, tramp, tramp, &c.

You ask me if they want men, you ask for rations then,
If they don’t stump up a warning should be made;
To teach them better sense—why, “Set fire to their fence”
Is the war cry of the Wallaby Brigade.

        Chorus: Tramp, tramp, tramp, &c.

The squatters thought us done when they fenced in all their run,
But a prettier mistake they never made;
You’ve only to sport your dover and knock a monkey over—
There’s cheap mutton for the Wallaby Brigade.

        Chorus: Tramp, tramp, tramp, &c.

Now when the shearing’s in our harvest will begin,
Our swags for a spell down will be laid;
But when our cheques are drank we will join the Tag-rag rank,
Limeburners in the Wallaby Brigade.

        Chorus: Tramp, tramp, tramp, &c.

* * * * * * * * *

To knock a monkey over is to kill a sheep, monkey being slang for sheep in many parts of the bush.


My Religion

Let Romanists all at the Confessional kneel,
    Let the Jew with disgust turn from it,
Let the mighty Crown Prelate in Church pander zeal,
    Let the Mussulman worship Mahomet.

From all these I differ—truly wise is my plan,
    With my doctrine, perhaps, you’ll agree,
To be upright and downright and act like a man,
    That’s the religion for me.

I will go to no Church and to no house of Prayer
    To see a white shirt on a preacher.
And in no Courthouse on a book will I swear
    To injure a poor fellow-creature.

For parsons and preachers are all a mere joke,
    Their hands must be greased by a fee;
But with the poor toiler to share your last “toke”
    That’s the religion for me.

Let Psalm-singing Churchmen and Lutheran sing,
    They can’t deceive God with their blarney;
They might just as well dance the Highland Fling,
    Or sing the fair fame of Kate Kearney.

But let man unto man like brethren act,
    My doctrine this suits to a T,
The heart that can feel for the woes of another,
    Oh, that’s the religion for me.

* * * * * * * * * * *

“Toke is a slang word for bread.”


Bourke’s Dream

Lonely and sadly one night in November
    I laid down my weary head in search of repose
On my wallet of straw, which I long shall remember,
    Tired and weary I fell into a doze.
                Tired from working hard
                Down in the labour yard,
Night brought relief to my sad, aching brain.
                Locked in my prison cell,
                Surely an earthly hell,
I fell asleep and began for to dream.

I dreamt that I stood on the green fields of Erin,
    In joyous meditation that victory was won.
Surrounded by comrades, no enemy fearing.
“Stand,” was the cry, “every man to his gun.”
                On came the Saxons then,
                Fighting our Fenian men,
Soon they’ll reel back from our piked volunteers.
                Loud was the fight and shrill,
                Wexford and Vinegar Hill,
Three cheers for Father Murphy and the bold cavaliers.

I dreamt that I saw our gallant commander
    Seated on his charger in gorgeous array.
He wore green trimmed with gold and a bright shining sabre
    On which sunbeams of Liberty shone brightly that day.
             “On,” was the battle cry,
             “Conquer this day or die,
Sons of Hibernia, fight for Liberty!
                Show neither fear nor dread,
                Strike at the foeman’s head,
Cut down horse, foot, and artillery!”

I dreamt that the night was quickly advancing,
    I saw the dead and dying on the green crimson plain.
Comrades I once knew well in death’s sleep reposing,
    Friends that I once loved but shall ne’er see again.
                The green flag was waving high,
                Under the bright blue sky,
    And each man was singing most gloriously.
             “Come from your prison, Bourke,
                We Irishmen have done our work,
God has been with us, and old Ireland is free.”

I dreamt I was homeward, back over the mountain track,
    With joy my mother fainted and gave a loud scream.
With the shock I awoke, just as the day had broke,
    And found myself an exile, and ’twas all but a dream.


Billy Barlow in Australia

When I was at home I was down on my luck,
And I earned a poor living by drawing a truck;
But old aunt died, and left me a thousand— “Oh, oh,
I’ll start on my travels,” said Billy Barlow.
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            So off to Australia came Billy Barlow.

When to Sydney I got, there a merchant I met,
Who said he would teach me a fortune to get;
He’d cattle and sheep past the colony’s bounds,
Which he sold with the station for my thousand pounds.
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            He gammon’d the cash out of Billy Barlow.

When the bargain was struck, and the money was paid,
He said, “My dear fellow, your fortune is made;
I can furnish supplies for the station, you know,
And your bill is sufficient, good Mr. Barlow.”
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            A gentleman settler was Billy Barlow.

So I got my supplies, and I gave him my bill,
And for New England started, my pockets to fill;
But by bushrangers met, with my traps they made free,
Took my horse and left Billy bailed to a tree.
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            “I shall die of starvation,” thought Billy Barlow.

At last I got loose, and I walked on my way;
A constable came up, and to me did say,
“Are you free?” Says I, “Yes, to be sure; don’t you know?”
And I handed my card, “Mr. William Barlow.”
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            He said, “That’s all gammon,” to Billy Barlow.

Then he put on the handcuffs, and brought me away
Right back down to Maitland, before Mr. Day.
When I said I was free, why the J.P. replied,
“I must send you down to be i—dentified.”
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            So to Sydney once more went poor Billy Barlow.

They at last let me go, and I then did repair
For my station once more, and at length I got there;
But a few days before, the blacks, you must know,
Had spear’d all the cattle of Billy Barlow.
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            “It’s a beautiful country,” said Billy Barlow.

And for nine months before no rain there had been,
So the devil a blade of grass could be seen;
And one-third of my wethers the scab they had got,
And the other two-thirds had just died of the rot.
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            “I shall soon be a settler,” said Billy Barlow.

And the matter to mend, now my bill was near due,
So I wrote to my friend, and just asked to renew;
He replied he was sorry he couldn’t, because
The bill had passed into a usurer’s claws.
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            “But perhaps he’ll renew it,” said Billy Barlow.

I applied; to renew he was quite content,
If secured, and allowed just three hundred per cent.;
But as I couldn’t do, Barr, Rodgers, and Co.
Soon sent up a summons for Billy Barlow.
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            They soon settled the business of Billy Barlow.

For a month or six weeks I stewed over my loss,
And a tall man rode up one day on a black horse;
He asked, “Don’t you know me?” I answered him “No.”
“Why,” said he, “my name’s Kinsmill; how are you, Barlow?”
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            He’d got a fi. fa. for poor Billy Barlow.

What I’d left of my sheep and my traps he did seize,
And he said, “They won’t pay all the costs and my fees;”
Then he sold off the lot, and I’m sure ’twas a sin,
At sixpence a head, and the station giv’n in.
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            “I’ll go back to England,” said Billy Barlow.

My sheep being sold, and my money all gone,
Oh, I wandered about then quite sad and forlorn;
How I managed to live it would shock you to know,
And as thin as a lath got poor Billy Barlow.
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            Quite down on his luck was poor Billy Barlow.

And in a few weeks more, the sheriff, you see,
Sent the tall man on horseback once more unto me;
Having got all he could by the writ of fi. fa.,
By way of a change he’d brought up a ca. sa.
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            He seized on the body of Billy Barlow.

He took me to Sydney, and there they did lock
Poor unfortunate Billy fast “under the clock;”
And to get myself out I was forced, you must know
The schedule to file of poor Billy Barlow.
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            In the list of insolvents was Billy Barlow.

Then once more I got free, but in poverty’s toil;
I’ve no “cattle for salting,” no “sheep for to boil;”
I can’t get a job—though to any I’d stoop,
If it was only the making of portable soup.”
            Oh dear, lackaday, oh,
            Pray give some employment to Billy Barlow.


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