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206 Works of Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson

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His Masterpiece

Story type: Literature

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GREENHIDE BILLY was a stockman on a Clarence River cattle-station, and admittedly the biggest liar in the district. He had been for many years pioneering in the Northern Territory, the other side of the sun-down—a regular “furthest-out man”—and this assured his reputation among station-hands who award rank according to amount of experience. Young men who […]

BUCKALONG was a big freehold of some 80,000 acres, belonging to an absentee syndicate, and therefore run in most niggardly style. There was a manager on 200 pounds a year, Sandy M’Gregor to wit—a hard-headed old Scotchman known as “four-eyed M’Gregor”, because he wore spectacles. For assistants, he had half-a-dozen of us—jackaroos and colonial-experiencers—who got […]

Three Elephant Power

Story type: Literature

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“THEM things,” said Alfred the chauffeur, tapping the speed indicator with his fingers, “them things are all right for the police. But, Lord, you can fix ’em up if you want to. Did you ever hear about Henery, that used to drive for old John Bull—about Henery and the elephant?” Alfred was chauffeur to a […]

Dan Fitzgerald Explains

Story type: Literature

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The circus was having its afternoon siesta. Overhead the towering canvas tent spread like a giant mushroom on a network of stalks — slanting beams, interlaced with guys and wire ropes. The ring looked small and lonely; its circle of empty benches seemed to stare intently at it, as though some sort of unseen performance […]

The Cat

Story type: Literature

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Most people think that the cat is an unintelligent animal, fond of ease, and caring little for anything but mice and milk. But a cat has really more character than most human beings, and gets a great deal more satisfaction out of life. Of all the animal kingdom, the cat has the most many-sided character. […]

Sitting in Judgment

Story type: Literature

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The show ring was a circular enclosure of about four acres, with a spiked batten fence round it, and a listless crowd of back-country settlers propped along the fence. Behind them were the sheds for produce, and the machinery sections where steam threshers and earth scoops hummed and buzzed and thundered unnoticed. Crowds of sightseers […]

The Dog

Story type: Literature

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The dog is a member of society who likes to have his day’s work, and who does it more conscientiously than most human beings. A dog always looks as if he ought to have a pipe in his mouth and a black bag for his lunch, and then he would go quite happily to office […]

Of all the ways in which men get a living there is none so hard and so precarious as that of steeplechase-riding in Australia. It is bad enough in England, where steeplechases only take place in winter, when the ground is soft, where the horses are properly schooled before being raced, and where most of […]

The sheep-dog and the cattle-dog are the workmen of the animal kingdom; sporting and fighting dogs are the professionals and artists. A house-dog or a working-dog will only work for his master; a professional or artistic dog will work for anybody, so long as he is treated like an artist. A man going away for […]

Victor Second

Story type: Literature

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We were training two horses for the Buckatowndown races — an old grey warrior called Tricolor — better known to the station boys as The Trickler — and a mare for the hack race. Station horses don’t get trained quite like Carbine; some days we had no time to give them gallops at all, so […]

Concerning a Dog-Fight

Story type: Literature

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Dog-fighting as a sport is not much in vogue now-a-days. To begin with it is illegal. Not that THAT matters much, for Sunday drinking is also illegal. But dog-fighting is one of the cruel sports which the community has decided to put down with all the force of public opinion. Nevertheless, a certain amount of […]

Done for the Double

Story type: Literature

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Chapter I. — Wanted, a Pony Algernon de Montgomery Smythers was a merchant, wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice. Other merchants might dress more lavishly, and wear larger watch chains; but the bank balance is the true test of mercantile superiority, and in a trial of bank balances Algernon de Montgomery Smythers represented Tyson at […]

The Oracle

Story type: Literature

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No tram ever goes to Randwick races without him; he is always fat, hairy, and assertive; he is generally one of a party, and takes the centre of the stage all the time — collects and hands over the fares, adjusts the change, chaffs the conductor, crushes the thin, apologetic stranger next him into a […]

The Cast-Iron Canvasser

Story type: Literature

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The firm of Sloper and Dodge, publishers and printers, was in great distress. These two enterprising individuals had worked up an enormous business in time-payment books, which they sold all over Australia by means of canvassers. They had put all the money they had into the business; and now, just when everything was in thorough […]

The Merino Sheep

Story type: Literature

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People have got the impression that the merino is a gentle, bleating animal that gets its living without trouble to anybody, and comes up every year to be shorn with a pleased smile upon its amiable face. It is my purpose here to exhibit the merino sheep in its true light. First let us give […]

The Bullock

Story type: Literature

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The typical Australian bullock — long-horned, sullen-eyed, stupid, and vindictive — is bred away out in Queensland, on remote stations in the Never Never land, where men live on damper and beef, and occasionally eat a whole bottle of hot pickles at a sitting, simply to satisfy their craving for vegetable food. Here, under the […]

The sporting men of Mulligan’s were an exceedingly knowing lot; in fact, they had obtained the name amongst their neighbours of being a little bit too knowing. They had “taken down” the adjoining town in a variety of ways. They were always winning maiden plates with horses which were shrewdly suspected to be old and […]

The Amateur Gardener

Story type: Literature

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The first step in amateur gardening is to sit down and consider what good you are going to get by it. If you are only a tenant by the month, as most people are, it is obviously not of much use for you to plant a fruit orchard or an avenue of oak trees. What […]

Thirsty Island

Story type: Literature

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Travellers approaching a bush township are sure to find some distance from the town a lonely public-house waiting by the roadside to give them welcome. Thirsty (miscalled Thursday) Island is the outlying pub of Australia. When the China and British-India steamers arrive from the North the first place they come to is Thirsty Island, the […]

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 soundsFor a man to be farming his own groundsIn the beautiful land of Australia. Chorus Illawarra, Mittagong,Parramatta, Wollongong.If you wish to become an ourang-outang,Then go to the […]

Dwell Not With Me

Story type: Poetry

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Dwell, not with me,For you’ll never seeMore 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 mournThe sweet woodbineThat round your lattice now doth twine. Fond friends, […]

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,againShearin’ for old Tom Patterson, on the One Tree Plain. Chorus All among the wool, boys,Keep your wide blades full, boys,I can do a respectable tally myself whenever I […]

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. Chorus But we camped at Lazy Harry’s, on the road to GundagaiThe […]

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 […]

The Old Bark Hut

Story type: Poetry

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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. Chorus In an old bark hut. In an old bark […]

The Old Survey

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

This is the place where they all were bred;Some of the rafters are standing still;Now they are scattered and lost and dead,Every one from the old nest fled,Out of the shadow of Kiley’s Hill. Better it is that they ne’er came back —Changes and chances are quickly rung;Now the old homestead is gone to rack,Green […]

Come-By-Chance

Story type: Poetry

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As I pondered very weary o’er a volume long and dreary —For the plot was void of interest — ’twas the Postal Guide, in fact,There I learnt the true location, distance, size, and populationOf each township, town, and village in the radius of the Act. And I learnt that Puckawidgee stands beside the Murrumbidgee,And that […]

Jim Carew

Story type: Poetry

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Born of a thoroughbred English race,Well proportioned and closely knit,Neat of figure and handsome face,Always ready and always fit,Hard and wiry of limb and thew,That was the ne’er-do-well Jim Carew. One of the sons of the good old land —Many a year since his like was known;Never a game but he took command,Never a sport […]

We buried old Bob where the bloodwoods waveAt the foot of the Eaglehawk;We fashioned a cross on the old man’s grave,For fear that his ghost might walk;We carved his name on a bloodwood tree,With the date of his sad decease,And in place of ‘Died from effects of spree’,We wrote ‘May he rest in peace’. For […]

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 anchorIn happy Australia, the Emigrant’s home,And from that day to this there’s been […]

I Korindabria, korindabria, bogarona, bogarona. Iwariniangiwaringdo, iwariniang, iwaringdo, iwariniang, iwaringdo,iwariniang, iwaringdo, iwaringime. Iwaringiang, iwaringdoo,ilanenienow, coombagongniengowe, ilanenienow, coombagongniengowe,ilanenienowe combagoniengowe, ilanenienimme. II 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 […]

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 legsRepresents itself in view,From the little paddy-melonTo the bucking kangaroo. CHORUS So it’s roll up your blankets,And let’s make a push,I’ll take you up the country,And show you the […]

So you’re back from up the country, Mister Townsman, where you went,And you’re cursing all the business in a bitter discontent;Well, we grieve to disappoint you, and it makes us sad to hearThat it wasn’t cool and shady — and there wasn’t plenty beer,And the loony bullock snorted when you first came into view;Well, you […]

Those Names

Story type: Poetry

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The shearers sat in the firelight, hearty and hale and strong,After the hard day’s shearing, passing the joke along:The ‘ringer’ that shore a hundred, as they never were shorn before,And the novice who, toiling bravely, had tommy-hawked half a score,The tarboy, the cook, and the slushy, the sweeper that swept the board,The picker-up, and the […]

Last Week

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, the new-chum went to the back block run,But he should have gone there last week.He tramped ten miles with a loaded gun,But of turkey or duck he saw never a one,For he should have been there last week,They said,There were flocks of ’em there last week. He wended his way to a waterfall,And he […]

‘Aye,’ said the boozer, ‘I tell you it’s true, sir,I once was a punter with plenty of pelf,But gone is my glory, I’ll tell you the storyHow I stiffened my horse and got stiffened myself. ”Twas a mare called the Cracker, I came down to back her,But found she was favourite all of a rush,The […]

On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,And men of religion are scanty,On a road never cross’d ‘cept by folk that are lost,One Michael Magee had a shanty. Now this Mike was the dad of a ten year old lad,Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no […]

MacFierce’un came to WhiskeyhurstWhen summer days were hot,And bided there wi’ Jock McThirst,A brawny brother Scot.Gude Faith! They made the whisky fly,Like Highland chieftains true,And when they’d drunk the beaker dryThey sang ‘We are nae fou!’ ‘There is nae folk like oor ain folk,Sae gallant and sae true.’They sang the only Scottish jokeWhich is, ‘We […]

The daylight is dyingAway in the west,The wild birds are flyingIn silence to rest;In leafage and frondageWhere shadows are deep,They pass to its bondage —The kingdom of sleep.And watched in their sleepingBy stars in the height,They rest in your keeping,Oh, wonderful night. When night doth her gloriesOf starshine unfold,‘Tis then that the storiesOf bush-land are […]

The bell is set a-ringing, and the engine gives a toot,There’s five and thirty shearers here are shearing for the loot,So stir yourselves, you penners-up, and shove the sheep along,The musterers are fetching them a hundred thousand strong,And make your collie dogs speak up — what would the buyers sayIn London if the wool was […]

The Flying Gang

Story type: Poetry

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I served my time, in the days gone by,In the railway’s clash and clang,And I worked my way to the end, and IWas the head of the ‘Flying Gang’.‘Twas a chosen band that was kept at handIn case of an urgent need,Was it south or north we were started forth,And away at our utmost speed.If […]

There came a whisper down the Bland between the dawn and dark,Above the tossing of the pines, above the river’s flow;It stirred the boughs of giant gums and stalwart ironbark;It drifted where the wild ducks played amid the swamps below;It brought a breath of mountain air from off the hills of pine,A scent of eucalyptus […]

Down along the Snakebite River, where the overlanders camp,Where the serpents are in millions, all of the most deadly stamp;Where the station-cook in terror, nearly every time he bakes,Mixes up among the doughboys half-a-dozen poison-snakes:Where the wily free-selector walks in armour-plated pants,And defies the stings of scorpions, and the bites of bull-dog ants:Where the adder […]

A sequel to [Mowbray Morris’s] ‘A Voice from the Bush’ I thought, in the days of the droving,Of steps I might hope to retrace,To be done with the bush and the rovingAnd settle once more in my place.With a heart that was well nigh to breaking,In the long, lonely rides on the plain,I thought of […]

A Bunch Of Roses

Story type: Poetry

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Roses ruddy and roses white,What are the joys that my heart discloses?Sitting alone in the fading lightMemories come to me here to-nightWith the wonderful scent of the big red roses. Memories come as the daylight fadesDown on the hearth where the firelight dozes;Flicker and flutter the lights and shades,And I see the face of a […]

He came from ‘further out’,That land of heat and droughtAnd dust and gravel.He got a touch of sun,And rested at the runUntil his cure was done,And he could travel. When spring had decked the plain,He flitted off againAs flit the swallows.And from that western land,When many months were spanned,A letter came to hand,Which read as […]

Black Swans

Story type: Poetry

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As I lie at rest on a patch of cloverIn the Western Park when the day is done,I watch as the wild black swans fly overWith their phalanx turned to the sinking sun;And I hear the clang of their leader cryingTo a lagging mate in the rearward flying,And they fade away in the darkness dying,Where […]

I’m travellin’ down the Castlereagh, and I’m a station hand,I’m handy with the ropin’ pole, I’m handy with the brand,And I can ride a rowdy colt, or swing the axe all day,But there’s no demand for a station-hand along the Castlereagh. So it’s shift, boys, shift, for there isn’t the slightest doubtThat we’ve got to […]

Did you ever hear tell of Chili? I was readin’ the other dayOf President Balmaceda and of how he was sent away.It seems that he didn’t suit ’em — they thought that they’d like a change,So they started an insurrection and chased him across the range.They seemed to be restless people — and, judging by […]

How Gilbert Died

Story type: Poetry

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There’s never a stone at the sleeper’s head,There’s never a fence beside,And the wandering stock on the grave may treadUnnoticed and undenied,But the smallest child on the WatershedCan tell you how Gilbert died. For he rode at dusk, with his comrade DunnTo the hut at the Stockman’s Ford,In the waning light of the sinking sunThey […]

Scene: On Monaro.DRAMATIS PERSONAE:Shock-headed blackfellow,Boy (on a pony).Snowflakes are fallingSo gentle and slow,Youngster says, ‘Frying Pan,What makes it snow?’Frying Pan confidentMakes the reply —‘Shake ’em big flour bagUp in the sky!’‘What! when there’s miles of it!Sur’ly that’s brag.Who is there strong enoughShake such a bag?’‘What parson tellin’ you,Ole Mister Dodd,Tell you in Sunday-school?Big feller God!He […]

‘Only a pound,’ said the auctioneer,‘Only a pound; and I’m standing hereSelling this animal, gain or loss.Only a pound for the drover’s horse;One of the sort that was never afraid,One of the boys of the Old Brigade;Thoroughly honest and game, I’ll swear,Only a little the worse for wear;Plenty as bad to be seen in town,Give […]

The Two Devines

Story type: Poetry

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It was shearing-time at the Myall Lake,And there rose the sound thro’ the livelong dayOf the constant clash that the shear-blades makeWhen the fastest shearers are making play,But there wasn’t a man in the shearers’ linesThat could shear a sheep with the two Devines. They had rung the sheds of the east and west,Had beaten […]

Over The Range

Story type: Poetry

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Little bush maiden, wondering-eyed,Playing alone in the creek-bed dry,In the small green flat on every sideWalled in by the Moonbi ranges high;Tell us the tale of your lonely life,‘Mid the great grey forests that know no change.‘I never have left my home,’ she said,‘I have never been over the Moonbi Range. ‘Father and mother are […]

Lost

Story type: Poetry

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‘He ought to be home,’ said the old man, ‘without there’s something amiss.He only went to the Two-mile — he ought to be back by this.He WOULD ride the Reckless filly, he WOULD have his wilful way;And, here, he’s not back at sundown — and what will his mother say? ‘He was always his mother’s […]

Let us cease our idle chatter,Let the tears bedew our cheek,For a man from TallangattaHas been missing for a week. Where the roaring flooded MurrayCovered all the lower land,There he started in a hurry,With a bottle in his hand. And his fate is hid for ever,But the public seem to thinkThat he slumbered by the […]

Only A Jockey

Story type: Poetry

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‘Richard Bennison, a jockey, aged 14, while riding William Tell in his training, was thrown and killed. The horse is luckily uninjured.’— Melbourne Wire. Out in the grey cheerless chill of the morning light,Out on the track where the night shades still lurk;Ere the first gleam of the sungod’s returning light,Round come the race-horses early […]

The widow sought the lawyer’s room with children three in tow,She told the lawyer man her tale in tones of deepest woe.Said she, ‘My husband took to drink for pains in his inside,And never drew a sober breath from then until he died. ‘He never drew a sober breath, he died without a will,And I […]

Been There Before

Story type: Poetry

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There came a stranger to Walgett town,To Walgett town when the sun was low,And he carried a thirst that was worth a crown,Yet how to quench it he did not know;But he thought he might take those yokels down,The guileless yokels of Walgett town. They made him a bet in a private bar,In a private […]

It was the man from Ironbark who struck the Sydney town,He wandered over street and park, he wandered up and down.He loitered here, he loitered there, till he was like to drop,Until at last in sheer despair he sought a barber’s shop.”Ere! shave my beard and whiskers off, I’ll be a man of mark,I’ll go […]

The Amateur Rider

Story type: Poetry

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HIM going to ride for us! HIM —with the pants and the eyeglass and all.Amateur! don’t he just look it — it’s twenty to one on a fall.Boss must be gone off his head to be sending our steeplechase crackOut over fences like these with an object like that on his back. Ride! Don’t tell […]

I had ridden over hurdles up the country once or twice,By the side of Snowy River with a horse they called ‘The Ace’.And we brought him down to Sydney, and our rider Jimmy Rice,Got a fall and broke his shoulder, so they nabbed me in a trice —Me, that never wore the colours, for the […]

On Kiley’s Run

Story type: Poetry

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The roving breezes come and goOn Kiley’s Run,The sleepy river murmurs low,And far away one dimly seesBeyond the stretch of forest trees —Beyond the foothills dusk and dun —The ranges sleeping in the sunOn Kiley’s Run. ‘Tis many years since first I cameTo Kiley’s Run,More years than I would care to nameSince I, a stripling, […]

Our New Horse

Story type: Poetry

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The boys had come back from the racesAll silent and down on their luck;They’d backed ’em, straight out and for places,But never a winner they struck.They lost their good money on Slogan,And fell, most uncommonly flat,When Partner, the pride of the Bogan,Was beaten by Aristocrat. And one said, ‘I move that instanterWe sell out our […]

Conroy’s Gap

Story type: Poetry

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This was the way of it, don’t you know —Ryan was ‘wanted’ for stealing sheep,And never a trooper, high or low,Could find him — catch a weasel asleep!Till Trooper Scott, from the Stockman’s Ford —A bushman, too, as I’ve heard them tell —Chanced to find him drunk as a lordRound at the Shadow of Death […]

On Western plains, where shade is not,‘Neath summer skies of cloudless blue,Where all is dry and all is hot,There stands the town of Dandaloo —A township where life’s total sumIs sleep, diversified with rum. It’s grass-grown streets with dust are deep,‘Twere vain endeavour to expressThe dreamless silence of its sleep,Its wide, expansive drunkenness.The yearly races […]

It was somewhere up the country, in a land of rock and scrub,That they formed an institution called the Geebung Polo Club.They were long and wiry natives from the rugged mountain side,And the horse was never saddled that the Geebungs couldn’t ride;But their style of playing polo was irregular and rash —They had mighty little […]

Saltbush Bill

Story type: Poetry

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Now this is the law of the Overland that all in the West obey,A man must cover with travelling sheep a six-mile stage a day;But this is the law which the drovers make, right easily understood,They travel their stage where the grass is bad,but they camp where the grass is good;They camp, and they ravage […]

The roving breezes come and go, the reed beds sweep and sway,The sleepy river murmurs low, and loiters on its way,It is the land of lots o’ time along the Castlereagh. . . . . . The old man’s son had left the farm, he found it dull and slow,He drifted to the great North-west […]

I bought a run a while ago,On country rough and ridgy,Where wallaroos and wombats grow —The Upper Murrumbidgee.The grass is rather scant, it’s true,But this a fair exchange is,The sheep can see a lovely viewBy climbing up the ranges. And She-oak Flat’s the station’s name,I’m not surprised at that, sirs:The oaks were there before I […]

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed aroundThat the colt from old Regret had got away,And had joined the wild bush horses — he was worth a thousand pound,So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and farHad mustered at the […]

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of betterKnowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,Just ‘on spec’, addressed as follows, ‘Clancy, of The Overflow’. And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected,(And […]

You never heard tell of the story?Well, now, I can hardly believe!Never heard of the honour and gloryOf Pardon, the son of Reprieve?But maybe you’re only a JohnnieAnd don’t know a horse from a hoe?Well, well, don’t get angry, my sonny,But, really, a young un should know. They bred him out back on the ‘Never’,His […]

Fed Up

Story type: Poetry

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I ain’t a timid man at all, I’m just as brave as most,I’ll take my chance in open fight and die beside my post;But riding round the ‘ole day long as target for a Krupp,A-drawing fire from Koppies — well, I’m fair fed up. It’s wonderful how few get hit, it’s luck that pulls us […]

Santa Claus

Story type: Poetry

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Halt! Who goes there? The sentry’s callRose on the midnight airAbove the noises of the camp,The roll of wheels, the horses’ tramp.The challenge echoed over all —Halt! Who goes there? A quaint old figure clothed in white,He bore a staff of pine,An ivy-wreath was on his head.‘Advance, oh friend,’ the sentry said,Advance, for this is […]

Jock!

Story type: Poetry

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There’s a soldier that’s been doing of his shareIn the fighting up and down and round about.He’s continually marching here and thereAnd he’s fighting, morning in and morning out. The Boer, you see, he generally runs;But sometimes when he hides behind a rock,And we can’t make no impression with the guns,Oh, then you’ll hear the […]

On The Trek

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, the weary, weary journey on the trek, day after day,With sun above and silent veldt below;And our hearts keep turning homeward to the youngsters far away,And the homestead where the climbing roses grow.Shall we see the flats grow golden with the ripening of the grain?Shall we hear the parrots calling on the bough?Ah! the […]

The Boers were down on Kimberley with siege and Maxim gun;The Boers were down on Kimberley, their numbers ten to one!Faint were the hopes the British had to make the struggle good,Defenceless in an open plain the Diamond City stood.They built them forts from bags of sand, they fought from roof and wall,They flashed a […]

The Last Parade

Story type: Poetry

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With never a sound of trumpet,With never a flag displayed,The last of the old campaignersLined up for the last parade. Weary they were and battered,Shoeless, and knocked about;From under their ragged forelocksTheir hungry eyes looked out. And they watched as the old commanderRead out, to the cheering men,The Nation’s thanks and the ordersTo carry them […]

Johnny Boer

Story type: Poetry

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Men fight all shapes and sizes as the racing horses run,And no man knows his courage till he stands before a gun.At mixed-up fighting, hand to hand, and clawing men aboutThey reckon Fuzzy-wuzzy is the hottest fighter out.But Fuzzy gives himself away — his style is out of date,He charges like a driven grouse that […]

‘Where ‘ave you been this week or more,‘Aven’t seen you about the war?Thought perhaps you was at the rearGuarding the waggons.’ ‘What, us? No fear!Where have we been? Why, bless my heart,Where have we been since the bloomin’ start?Right in the front of the army,Battling day and night!Right in the front of the army,Teaching ’em […]

What have the cavalry done?Cantered and trotted about,Routin’ the enemy out,Causin’ the beggars to run!And we tramped along in the blazin’ heat,Over the veldt on our weary feet.Tramp, tramp, trampUnder the blazin’ sun,With never the sight of a bloomin’ Boer,‘Cause they’d hunted ’em long before —That’s what the cavalry done! What have the gunners doneBattlin’ […]

That V.C.

Story type: Poetry

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‘Twas in the days of front attack,This glorious truth we’d yet to learn it —That every ‘front’ had got a back,And French was just the man to turn it. A wounded soldier on the groundWas lying hid behind a hummock;He proved the good old proverb sound —An army travels on its stomach. He lay as […]

Out Of Sight

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They held a polo meeting at a little country town,And all the local sportsmen came to win themselves renown.There came two strangers with a horse, and I am much afraidThey both belonged to what is called ‘the take-you-down brigade’. They said their horse could jump like fun, and asked an amateurTo ride him in the […]

The sheep were shorn and the wool went downAt the time of our local racing:And I’d earned a spell — I was burnt and brown —So I rolled my swag for a trip to townAnd a look at the steeplechasing. ‘Twas rough and ready — an uncleared courseAs rough as the blacks had found it;With […]

The fields of youth are filled with flowers,The wine of youth is strong:What need have we to count the hours?The summer days are long. But soon we find to our dismayThat we are drifting downThe barren slopes that fall awayTowards the foothills grim and greyThat lead to Old Man’s Town. And marching with us on […]

In The Stable

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What! You don’t like him; well, maybe — we all have our fancies, of course:Brumby to look at you reckon? Well, no: he’s a thoroughbred horse;Sired by a son of old Panic — look at his ears and his head —Lop-eared and Roman-nosed, ain’t he? — well, that’s how the Panics are bred.Gluttonous, ugly and […]

Driver Smith

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‘Twas Driver Smith of Battery A was anxious to see a fight;He thought of the Transvaal all the day, he thought of it all the night —‘Well, if the battery’s left behind, I’ll go to the war,’ says he,‘I’ll go a-driving an ambulance in the ranks of the A.M.C. ‘I’m fairly sick of these here […]

The long day passes with its load of sorrow:In slumber deepI lay me down to rest until to-morrow —Thank God for sleep. Thank God for all respite from weary toiling,From cares that creepAcross our lives like evil shadows, spoilingGod’s kindly sleep. We plough and sow, and, as the hours grow later,We strive to reap,And build […]

When you’re lying in your hammock, sleeping soft and sleeping sound,Without a care or trouble on your mind,And there’s nothing to disturb you but the engines going round,And you’re dreaming of the girl you left behind;In the middle of your joys you’ll be wakened by a noise,And a clatter on the deck above your crown,And […]

‘I’ll introdooce a friend!’ he said,And if you’ve got a vacant penYou’d better take him in the shedAnd start him shearing straight ahead,He’s one of these here quiet men. ‘He never strikes — that ain’t his game;No matter what the others tryHE goes on shearing just the same.I never rightly knew his name —We always […]

Do They Know

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Do they know? At the turn to the straightWhere the favourites fail,And every atom of weightIs telling its tale;As some grim old stayer hard-pressedRuns true to his breed,And with head just in front of the restFights on in the lead;When the jockeys are out with the whips,With a furlong to go;And the backers grow white […]

Any Other Time

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All of us play our very best game —Any other time.Golf or billiards, it’s all the same —Any other time.Lose a match and you always say,‘Just my luck! I was ‘off’ to-day!I could have beaten him quite half-way —Any other time!’ After a fiver you ought to go —Any other time.Every man that you ask […]

Wargeilah town is very small,There’s no cathedral nor a club,In fact the township, all in all,Is just one unpretentious pub;And there, from all the stations round,The local sportsmen can be found. The sportsmen of Wargeilah sideAre very few but very fit:There’s scarcely any sport been triedBut what they held their own at itIn fact, to […]

Tar And Feathers

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Oh! the circus swooped downOn the Narrabri town,For the Narrabri populace moneyed are;And the showman he smiledAt the folk he beguiledTo come all the distance from Gunnedah. But a juvenile smart,Who objected to ‘part’,Went in ‘on the nod’, and to do it heCrawled in through a crackIn the tent at the back,For the boy had […]

The Last Trump

Story type: Poetry

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‘You led the trump,’ the old man saidWith fury in his eye,‘And yet you hope my girl to wed!Young man! your hopes of love are fled,‘Twere better she should die! ‘My sweet young daughter sitting there,So innocent and plump!You don’t suppose that she would careTo wed an outlawed man who’d dareTo lead the thirteenth trump! […]

It’s Grand

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It’s grand to be a squatterAnd sit upon a post,And watch your little ewes and lambsA-giving up the ghost. It’s grand to be a ‘cockie’With wife and kids to keep,And find an all-wise ProvidenceHas mustered all your sheep. It’s grand to be a Western man,With shovel in your hand,To dig your little homestead outFrom underneath […]

The news came down on the Castlereagh, and went to the world at large,That twenty thousand travelling sheep, with Saltbush Bill in charge,Were drifting down from a dried-out run to ravage the Castlereagh;And the squatters swore when they heard the news,and wished they were well away:For the name and the fame of Saltbush Bill were […]

The mountain road goes up and down,From Gundagai to Tumut Town. And branching off there runs a track,Across the foothills grim and black, Across the plains and ranges greyTo Sydney city far away. . . . . . It came by chance one day that IFrom Tumut rode to Gundagai. And reached about the evening […]

As the nations sat together, grimly waiting —The fierce old nations battle-scarred —Grown grey in their lusting and their hating,Ever armed and ever ready keeping guard,Through the tumult of their warlike preparationAnd the half-stilled clamour of the drumsCame a voice crying, ‘Lo! a new-made nation,To her place in the sisterhood she comes!’ And she came […]

Hard Luck

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I left the course, and by my sideThere walked a ruined tout —A hungry creature evil-eyed,Who poured this story out. ‘You see,’ he said, ‘there came a swellTo Kensington to-day,And if I picked the winners well,A crown at least he’d pay. ‘I picked three winners straight, I did,I filled his purse with pelf,And then he […]

The London lights are far abeamBehind a bank of cloud,Along the shore the gaslights gleam,The gale is piping loud;And down the Channel, groping blind,We drive her through the hazeTowards the land we left behind —The good old land of ‘never mind’,And old Australian ways. The narrow ways of English folkAre not for such as we;They […]

For the honour of Australia, our mother,Side by side with our kin from over sea,We have fought and we have tested one another,And enrolled among the brotherhood are we. There was never post of danger but we sought itIn the fighting, through the fire, and through the flood.There was never prize so costly but we […]

By the far Samoan shore,Where the league-long rollers pourAll the wash of the Pacific on the coral-guarded bay,Riding lightly at their ease,In the calm of tropic seas,The three great nations’ warships at their anchors proudly lay. Riding lightly, head to wind,With the coral reefs behind,Three Germans and three Yankee ships were mirrored in the blue;And […]

‘You come and see me, boys,’ he said;‘You’ll find a welcome and a bedAnd whisky any time you call;Although our township hasn’t gotThe name of quite a lively spot —You see, I live in Booligal. ‘And people have an awful downUpon the district and the town —Which worse than hell itself they call;In fact, the […]

‘Twas the horse thief, Andy Regan, that was hunted like a dogBy the troopers of the Upper Murray side,They had searched in every gully — they had looked in every log,But never sight or track of him they spied,Till the priest at Kiley’s Crossing heard a knocking very lateAnd a whisper ‘Father Riley — come […]

A Walgett Episode

Story type: Poetry

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The sun strikes down with a blinding glare,The skies are blue and the plains are wide,The saltbush plains that are burnt and bareBy Walgett out on the Barwon side —The Barwon river that wanders downIn a leisurely manner by Walgett Town. There came a stranger — a ‘Cockatoo’ —The word means farmer, as all men […]

‘Tis strange that in a land so strong,So strong and bold in mighty youth,We have no poet’s voice of truthTo sing for us a wondrous song. Our chiefest singer yet has sungIn wild, sweet notes a passing strain,All carelessly and sadly flungTo that dull world he thought so vain. ‘I care for nothing, good nor […]

With eyes that searched in the dark,Peering along the line,Stood the grim Scotchman, Hector Clark,Driver of ‘Forty-nine’,And the veldt-fire flamed on the hills ahead,Like a blood-red beacon sign. There was word of a fight to the north,And a column hard-pressed,So they started the Highlanders forth,Without food, without rest. But the pipers gaily played,Chanting their fierce […]

Now the stock have started dying, for the Lord has sent a drought;But we’re sick of prayers and Providence — we’re going to do without;With the derricks up above us and the solid earth below,We are waiting at the lever for the word to let her go.Sinking down, deeper down,Oh, we’ll sink it deeper down:As […]

Anthony Considine

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Out in the wastes of the West countrie,Out where the white stars shine,Grim and silent as such men be,Rideth a man with a history —Anthony Considine. For the ways of men they are manifoldAs their differing views in life;For some are sold for the lust of goldAnd some for the lust of strife:But this man […]

You see, the thing was this way — there was me,That rode Panoppoly, the Splendor mare,And Ikey Chambers on the Iron Dook,And Smith, the half-caste rider, on Regret,And that long bloke from Wagga — him what rodeVeronikew, the Snowy River horse.Well, none of them had chances — not a chanceAmong the lot, unless the rest […]

Now this was what Macpherson toldWhile waiting in the stand;A reckless rider, over-bold,The only man with hands to holdThe rushing Rio Grande. He said, ‘This day I bid good-byeTo bit and bridle rein,To ditches deep and fences high,For I have dreamed a dream, and IShall never ride again. ‘I dreamt last night I rode this […]

With The Cattle

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The drought is down on field and flock,The river-bed is dry;And we must shift the starving stockBefore the cattle die.We muster up with weary heartsAt breaking of the day,And turn our heads to foreign parts,To take the stock away.And it’s hunt ’em up and dog ’em,And it’s get the whip and flog ’em,For it’s weary […]

Far to the Northward there lies a land,A wonderful land that the winds blow over,And none may fathom nor understandThe charm it holds for the restless rover;A great grey chaos — a land half made,Where endless space is and no life stirreth;And the soul of a man will recoil afraidFrom the sphinx-like visage that Nature […]

‘Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,The grinning shop assistant […]

‘The opening of the railway line! — the Governor and all!With flags and banners down the street, a banquet and a ball.Hark to ’em at the station now! They’re raising cheer on cheer!“The man who brought the railway through — our friend the engineer!” ‘They cheer HIS pluck and enterprise and engineering skill!‘Twas my old […]

The stranger came from Narromine and made his little joke —‘They say we folks in Narromine are narrow-minded folk.But all the smartest men down here are puzzled to defineA kind of new phenomenon that came to Narromine. ‘Last summer up in Narromine ’twas gettin’ rather warm —Two hundred in the water-bag, and lookin’ like a […]

The Pearl Diver

Story type: Poetry

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Kanzo Makame, the diver, sturdy and small Japanee,Seeker of pearls and of pearl-shell down in the depths of the sea,Trudged o’er the bed of the ocean, searching industriously. Over the pearl-grounds, the lugger drifted — a little white speck:Joe Nagasaki, the ‘tender’, holding the life-line on deck,Talked through the rope to the diver, knew when […]

‘Twas Saltbush Bill, with his travelling sheep, was making his way to town;He crossed them over the Hard Times Run, and he came to the Take ‘Em Down;He counted through at the boundary gate, and camped at the drafting yard:For Stingy Smith, of the Hard Times Run, had hunted him rather hard.He bore no malice […]

It was while we held our races–Hurdles, sprints and steeplechases–Up in Dandaloo,That a crowd of Sydney stealers,Jockeys, pugilists and spielersBrought some horses, real heelers,Came and put us through. Beat our nags and won our money,Made the game by no means funny,Made us rather blue;When the racing was concluded,Of our hard-earned coin denudedDandaloonies sat and broodedThere […]

Tommy Corrigan

Story type: Poetry

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(Killed, Steeplechasing at Flemington.) You talk of riders on the flat, of nerve and pluck and pace,Not one in fifty has the nerve to ride a steeplechase.It’s right enough while horses pull and take their fences strong,To rush a flier to the front and bring the field along;But what about the last half-mile, with horses […]

A Ballad Of Ducks

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The railway rattled and roared and swungWith jolting carriage and bumping trucks.The sun, like a billiard red ball, hungIn the Western sky: and the tireless tongueOf the wild-eyed man in the corner toldThis terrible tale of the days of old,And the party that ought to have kept the ducks. “Well, it ain’t all joy bein’ […]

Now, this is just a simple tale to tell the reader howThey civilised the Maori tribe at Rooti-iti-au. . . . . . The Maoris are a mighty race–the finest ever known;Before the missionaries came they worshipped wood and stone;They went to war and fought like fiends, and when the war was doneThey pacified their […]

An angel stood beside the bedWhere lay the living and the dead. He gave the mother–her who died–A kiss that Christ the Crucified Had sent to greet the weary soulWhen, worn and faint, it reached its goal. He gave the infant kisses twain,One on the breast, one on the brain. “Go forth into the world,” […]

Grey dawn on the sand-hills–the night wind has driftedAll night from the rollers a scent of the sea;With the dawn the grey fog his battalions has lifted,At the call of the morning they scatter and flee. Like mariners calling the roll of their numberThe sea-fowl put out to the infinite deep.And far over-head–sinking softly to […]

‘Twas to a small, up-country town,When we were boys at school,There came a circus with a clown,Likewise a bucking mule.The clown announced a scheme they hadSpectators for to bring–They’d give a crown to any ladWho’d ride him round the ring. And, gentle reader, do not scoffNor think a man a fool–To buck a porous-plaster offWas […]

The Corner Man

Story type: Poetry

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I dreamed a dream at the midnight deep,When fancies come and goTo vex a man in his soothing sleepWith thoughts of awful woe–I dreamed that I was a corner-manOf a nigger minstrel show. I cracked my jokes, and the building rangWith laughter loud and long;I hushed the house as I softly sangAn old plantation song–A […]

By the winding Wollondilly where the weeping willows weep,And the shepherd, with his billy, half awake and half asleep,Folds his fleecy flocks that linger homewards in the setting sun,Lived my hero, Jim the Ringer, “cocky” on Mylora Run. Jimmy loved the super’s daughter, Miss Amelia Jane McGrath.Long and earnestly he sought her, but he feared […]

The Pannikin Poet

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There’s nothing here sublime,But just a roving rhyme,Run off to pass the time,With nought titanic inThe theme that it supports,And, though it treats of quarts,It’s bare of golden thoughts–It’s just a pannikin. I think it’s rather hardThat each Australian bard–Each wan, poetic card–With thoughts galvanic inHis fiery soul alight,In wild aerial flight,Will sit him down […]

The Protest

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I say ‘e isn’t Remorse!‘Ow do I know?Saw ‘im on Riccarton courseTwo year ago!Think I’d forget any ‘orse?Course ‘e’s The Crow! Bumper Maginnis and I,After a “go”,Walkin’ our ‘orses to dry,I says, “Hello!What’s that old black goin’ by?”Bumper says “Oh!That’s an old cuddy of Flanagan’s–Runs as The Crow!” Now they make out ‘e’s Remorse.Well, but […]

Not On It

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The new chum’s polo pony was the smartest pony yet–The owner backed it for the Cup for all that he could get.The books were laying fives to one, in tenners; and you betHe was on it. The bell was rung, the nags came out their quality to try,The band played “What Ho! Robbo!” as our […]

Oh, there’s some that breeds the Devon that’s as solid as a stone,And there’s some that breeds the brindle which they call the “Goulburn Roan”;But amongst the breeds of cattle there are very, very fewLike the hairy-whiskered bullock that they bred at Gundaroo. Far away by Grabben Gullen, where the Murrumbidgee flows,There’s a block of […]

We’re away! and the wind whistles shrewdIn our whiskers and teeth;And the granite-like grey of the roadSeems to slide underneath.As an eagle might sweep through the sky,So we sweep through the land;And the pallid pedestrians flyWhen they hear us at hand. We outpace, we outlast, we outstrip!Not the fast-fleeing hare,Nor the racehorses under the whip,Nor […]

I wooed her with a steeplechase, I won her with a fall,I made her heartstrings quiver on the flatWhen the pony missed his take-off, and we crashed into the wall;Well, she simply had to have me after that! It awoke a thrill of interest when they pulled me out for deadFrom beneath the shattered ruins […]

Pioneers

Story type: Poetry

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They came of bold and roving stock that would not fixed abide;They were the sons of field and flock since e’er they learnt to ride,We may not hope to see such men in these degenerate yearsAs those explorers of the bush–the brave old pioneers. ‘Twas they who rode the trackless bush in heat and storm […]

Here in my mountain home,On rugged hills and steep,I sit and watch you come,O Riverina Sheep! You come from fertile plainsWhere saltbush (sometimes) grows,And flats that (when it rains)Will blossom like the rose. But, when the summer sunGleams down like burnished brass,You have to leave your runAnd hustle off for grass. ‘Tis then that–forced to […]

It chanced out back at the Christmas time,When the wheat was ripe and tall,A stranger rode to the farmer’s gate–A sturdy man and a small. “Rin doon, rin doon, my little son Jack,And bid the stranger stay;And we’ll hae a crack for Auld Lang Syne,For the morn is Christmas Day.” “Nay now, nay now,” said […]

When an attorney is called before the Full Court to answer for any alleged misconduct it is not usual to publish his name until he is found guilty; until then the matter appears in the papers as “In re a Gentleman, One of the Attorneys of the Supreme Court”, or, more shortly, “In re a […]

(1886) Bring me a quart of colonial beerAnd some doughy damper to make good cheer,I must make a heavy dinner;Heavily dine and heavily sup,Of indigestible things fill up,Next month they run the Melbourne Cup,And I have to dream the winner. Stoke it in, boys! the half-cooked ham,The rich ragout and the charming cham.,I’ve got to […]

There’s a sunny Southern land,And it’s there that I would beWhere the big hills stand,In the South Countrie!When the wattles bloom again,Then it’s time for us to goTo the old Monaro countryAt the melting of the snow. To the East or to the West,Or wherever you may be,You will find no placeLike the South Countrie.For […]

This is the story the stockman told,On the cattle camp, when the stars were bright;The moon rose up like a globe of goldAnd flooded the plain with her mellow light.We watched the cattle till dawn of dayAnd he told me the story of Mongrel Grey. . . . . . He was a knock-about station […]

(A ballad concerning the amalgamation of the legal professions.) Oh, Mr. Gilhooley he turned up his toes,As most of us do, soon or late;And Jones was a lawyer, as everyone knows,So they took him Gilhooley’s Estate. Gilhooley in life had been living so free‘Twas thought his possessions were great,So Jones, with a smile, says, “There’s […]

There is waving of grass in the breezeAnd a song in the air,And a murmur of myriad beesThat toil everywhere.There is scent in the blossom and bough,And the breath of the SpringIs as soft as a kiss on a brow–And Spring-time I sing. There is drought on the land, and the stockTumble down in their […]

Now look, you see, it’s this way like,You cross the broken bridgeAnd run the crick down till you strikeThe second right-hand ridge. The track is hard to see in parts,But still it’s pretty clear;There’s been two Injin hawkers’ cartsAlong that road this year. Well, run that right-hand ridge along–It ain’t, to say, too steep–There’s two […]

It was over at Coolgardie that a mining speculator,Who was going down the township just to make a bit o’ chink,Went off to hire a camel from a camel propagator,And the Afghan said he’d lend it if he’d stand the beast a drink.Yes, the only price he asked him was to stand the beast a […]

Mulligan’s Mare

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Oh, Mulligan’s bar was the deuce of a placeTo drink and to fight, and to gamble and race;The height of choice spirits from near and from farWere all concentrated on Mulligan’s bar. There was “Jerry the Swell”, and the jockey-boy Ned,“Dog-bite-me”–so called from the shape of his head–And a man whom the boys, in their […]

The Lost Drink

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I had spent the night in the watch-house–My head was the size of three–So I went and asked the chemistTo fix up a drink for me;And he brewed it from various bottlesWith soda and plenty of ice,With something that smelt like lemon,And something that seemed like spice. It fell on my parching palateLike the dew […]

Beyond the land where Leichhardt went,Beyond Sturt’s Western track,The rolling tide of change has sentSome strange J.P.s out back. And Saltbush Bill, grown old and grey,And worn with want of sleep,Received the news in camp one dayBehind the travelling sheep That Edward Rex, confiding inHis known integrity,By hand and seal on parchment skinHad made him […]

There’s some that ride the Robbo style, and bump at every stride;While others sit a long way back, to get a longer ride.There’s some that ride like sailors do, with legs and arms, and teeth;And some ride on the horse’s neck, and some ride underneath. But all the finest horsemen out–the men to Beat the […]

Well, I’ve waited mighty patient while they all came rolling in,Mister Lawson, Mister Dyson, and the others of their kin,With their dreadful, dismal stories of the Overlander’s camp,How his fire is always smoky, and his boots are always damp;And they paint it so terrific it would fill one’s soul with gloom,But you know they’re fond […]

Waltzing Matilda

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(Carrying a Swag.) Oh! there once was a swagman camped in the Billabong,Under the shade of a Coolabah tree;And he sang as he looked at his old billy boiling,“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.” Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling,Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?Waltzing Matilda and leading a water-bag–Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me? […]

Wilt thou love me, sweet, when my hair is greyAnd my cheeks shall have lost their hue?When the charms of youth shall have passed away,Will your love as of old prove true? For the looks may change, and the heart may range,And the love be no longer fond;Wilt thou love with truth in the years […]

T.Y.S.O.N.

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Across the Queensland border lineThe mobs of cattle go;They travel down in sun and shineOn dusty stage, and slow.The drovers, riding slowly onTo let the cattle spread,Will say: “Here’s one old landmark gone,For old man Tyson’s dead.” What tales there’ll be in every campBy men that Tyson knew;The swagmen, meeting on the tramp,Will yarn the […]

Bottle-O!

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I ain’t the kind of bloke as takes to any steady job;I drives me bottle cart around the town;A bloke what keeps ‘is eyes about can always make a bob–I couldn’t bear to graft for every brown.There’s lots of handy things about in everybody’s yard,There’s cocks and hens a-runnin’ to an’ fro,And little dogs what […]

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 […]

Song Of The Wheat

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We have sung the song of the droving days,Of the march of the travelling sheep;By silent stages and lonely waysThin, white battalions creep.But the man who now by the land would thriveMust his spurs to a plough-share beat.Is there ever a man in the world aliveTo sing the song of the Wheat! It’s west by […]

Song Of The Pen

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Not for the love of women toil we, we of the craft,Not for the people’s praise;Only because our goddess made us her own and laughed,Claiming us all our days, Claiming our best endeavour–body and heart and brainGiven with no reserve–Niggard is she towards us, granting us little gain;Still, we are proud to serve. Not unto […]

Come all you little rouseabouts and climb upon my knee;To-day, you see, is Christmas Day, and so it’s up to meTo give you some instruction like–a kind of Christmas tale–So name your yarn, and off she goes. What, “Jonah and the Whale”? Well, whales is sheep I’ve never shore; I’ve never been to sea,So all […]

Brumby’s Run

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Brumby is the Aboriginal word for a wild horse. At a recent trial a N.S.W. Supreme Court Judge, hearing of Brumby horses, asked: “Who is Brumby, and where is his Run?” It lies beyond the Western PinesTowards the sinking sun,And not a survey mark definesThe bounds of “Brumby’s Run”. On odds and ends of mountain […]

My son, if you go to the races to battle with Ikey and Mo,Remember, it’s seldom the pigeon can pick out the eye of the crow;Remember, they live by the business; remember, my son, and go slow. If ever an owner should tell you, “Back mine”–don’t you be such a flat.He knows his own cunning, […]

I’d reckon his weight at eight-stun-eight,And his height at five-foot-two,With a face as plain as an eight-day clockAnd a walk as brisk as a bantam-cock–Game as a bantam, too,Hard and wiry and full of steam,That’s the boss of the English Team,Reverend Mullineux. Makes no row when the game gets rough–None of your “Strike me blue!”“You’s […]

The Shepherd

Story type: Poetry

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(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. Chorus I saw him but a […]

(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 strayOn the far Barcoo, where they eat nardoo, a thousand miles away. Chorus Then give your horses […]

The Overlander

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There’s a trade you all know well-It’s bringing cattle over-I’ll tell you all about the timeWhen 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 thereTo begin as an overlander. Chorus Pass the wine cup round, my boys;Don’t let the bottle stand […]

(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. Chorus The stockyard’s broken down, and the woolshed’stumbling in;I’ve written to the […]

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. Chorus 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 […]

My Religion

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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 […]

Bourke’s Dream

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Lonely and sadly one night in NovemberI laid down my weary head in search of reposeOn my wallet of straw, which I long shall remember,Tired and weary I fell into a doze.Tired from working hardDown in the labour yard,Night brought relief to my sad, aching brain.Locked in my prison cell,Surely an earthly hell,I fell asleep […]

[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 […]

River Bend

Story type: Poetry

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(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, etc. In the burning sand we pine,No one asks us to have a wine,‘Tis […]

Wallabi Joe

Story type: Poetry

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(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 screwAs 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 […]

(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 rateThat by his rams, his ewes, his lambs, Australia was made great-Like a fine Australian squatter, one of the olden […]

Mustering Song

Story type: Poetry

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(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.” Chorus So early in the morning, so early in the morning,So early in the morning, before the break of […]

Be ye stockmen or no, to my story give ear.Alas! for poor Jack, no more shall we hearThe crack of his stockwhip, his steed’s lively trot,His clear “Go ahead, boys,” his jingling quart pot. Chorus For we laid him where wattles their sweet fragrance shed,And the tall gum trees shadow the stockman’s last bed. Whilst […]

The sun peers o’er you 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 throngUntil they chime in the rude rough rhyme of the wild […]

A club there is established here, whose name they say is LegionFrom 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 […]

My name is old Jack Palmer,I’m a man of olden days,And so I wish to sing a songTo you of olden praise.To tell of merry friends of oldWhen we were gay and young;How we sat and sang togetherRound the Old Keg of Rum. Chorus Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!How […]

Come, all you jolly natives, and I’ll relate to youSome 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 […]

The Stockman

Story type: Poetry

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(Air: “A wet sheet and a flowing sea.”) A bright sun and a loosened rein,A whip whose pealing soundRings forth amid the forest treesAs merrily forth we bound-As merrily forth we bound, my boys,And, by the dawn’s pale light,Speed fearless on our horses trueFrom morn till starry night. “Oh! for a tame and quiet herd,”I […]

The Swagman

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Kind friends, pray give attentionTo this, my little song.Some rum things I will mention,And I’ll not detain you long.Up and down this countryI 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 […]

(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. Chorus For we’re going, going, going to Gunnedah so far,And we’ll soon […]

Sam Holt

Story type: Poetry

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(Air: “Ben Bolt.”) 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 smokedIn the gunyah down there by the lake,And the grubs that she roasted, and the lizards she stewed,And the damper […]

Hawking

Story type: Poetry

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(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 wiseAnd waste no time in talking,Procure some bags of damaged ragsAnd make your fortune hawking. Chorus Hawk, hawk, hawk.Our bread to win, we’ll […]

The Bushman

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(Air: “Wearing of the Green.”) When the merchant lies down, he can scarce go to sleepFor 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 […]

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, etc. By constant feats of horsemanship, they procure for us our grub,And […]

[By A New Chum] (Air: “So Early in the Morning.”) When first I came to Sydney CoveAnd up and down the streets did rove,I thought such sights I ne’er did seeSince first I learnt my A, B, C. Chorus Oh! it’s broiling in the morning,It’s toiling in the morning,It’s broiling in the morning,It’s toiling all […]

(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, […]

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 […]

(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: Chorus “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. […]

Shadows of the twilight fallingOn 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 […]

My Mate Bill

Story type: Poetry

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That’s his saddle on the tie-beam,And them’s his spurs up thereOn the wall-plate over yonder-You ken see they ain’t a pair. For the daddy of all the stockmenAs ever come mustering hereWas killed in the flaming mulga,A-yarding a bald-faced steer. They say as he’s gone to heaven,And shook off all worldly caresBut I can’t sight […]

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 […]

(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 downfallIn our regretful strain,Lamenting on the days gone byNe’er to return again. When first I went a-washing sheepThe year was sixty-one,The master was a worker […]

Dark over the face of Nature sublime!Reign’d tyranny, warfare, and every crime;The world a desert-no oasis greenA man-loving soul on its surface had seen;Then mercy above a mandate sent forthAn 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. Chorus First isle […]

The Free Selector

Story type: Poetry

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(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 wonNow the Land Bill has passed and the good time has comeNow the Land Bill, etc. No more with our swags through the bush need we roamFor […]

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 […]

Immigration

Story type: Poetry

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[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, […]

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. Chorus To my bullocks then I sayNo matter where you stray,You will never be impounded any more;For you’re running, running, running on the […]

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. Chorus Oh, the stringy-bark cockatoo,Oh, the stringy-bark cockatoo,I got a job of reaping off a stringy-bark […]

(Air: “Wearing of the Green.”) If you want a situation, I’ll just tell you the planTo 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 […]

Bold Jack Donahoo

Story type: Poetry

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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. Chorus Then come, my hearties, […]

(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. Chorus For the boss is getting rusty and the ringer’s […]

[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 bobberyAbout our tricks we have […]

‘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. Chorus Come, all my hearties, we’ll roam the mountains high,Together we will plunder, together we will die.We’ll […]