The Old Bush Songs by A. B. Paterson

This ebook was prepared by Jeffrey Kraus-yao THE OLD BUSH SONGS Second Impression completing the Tenth Thousand THE OLD BUSH SONGS Composed and sung in the Bushranging, Digging, and Overlanding Days EDITED BY A. B. PATERSON AUTHOR OF “THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER,” AND “RIO GRANDE’S LAST RACE” SYDNEY ANGUS AND ROBERTSON 89 CASTLEREAGH STREET
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  • 1905
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This ebook was prepared by Jeffrey Kraus-yao


Second Impression
completing the Tenth Thousand


Composed and sung in the Bushranging, Digging, and Overlanding Days




Websdale, Shoosmith and Co., Printers, Sydney


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.




Korindabria, korindabria, bogarona, bogarona. Iwariniang iwaringdo, iwariniang, iwaringdo, iwariniang, iwaringdo, iwariniang, iwaringdo, iwaringime. Iwaringiang, iwaringdoo, ilanenienow, coombagongniengowe, ilanenienow, coombagongniengowe, ilanenienowe combagoniengowe, ilanenienimme.


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

Of the above songs Mr. Mowle writes—“I could never find out what the words meant, and I don’t think the blacks themselves knew.”


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 X 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.


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 Stringy bark 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.


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 yell need it, So no more at present from Teddy O’Rourke.

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


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.


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,
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.


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.


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.”


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.


(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.


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.


’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.


[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 planner 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.


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.


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.]


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.


(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.


I have come to tell you of the glorious news you’ll all be glad to bear,
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 “cookies” 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.


(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.


(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 “hogs” 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.


(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.


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.


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.