Monday, January 31, 2011

One of the Has-Beens

To the tune of "Pretty Polly Perkins of Paddington"

I'm one of the has beens a shearer I mean
I once was a ringer and I used to shear clean
I could make the wool roll off like the soil from the plough
But you may not believe me for I cant do it now

CHORUS: I'm as awkward as a new chum and I'm used to the frown
That the boss often shows me saying keep them blades down

I've shore with Pat Hogan, Bill Bright and Jack Gunn
Tommy Leighton Charlie Fergus and the great roaring Dunn
They brought from the Lachlan the best they could find
But not one among them could leave me behind

It's no use complaining I'll never say die
Though the days of fast shearing for me have gone by
I'll take the world easy shear slowly and clean
And I merely have told you just what I have been

Another one learnt from the Brisbane sessions of the early 80s. Published in Stewart and Keesing "Old Bush Songs". Notes and lyrics for this one from the venerable Mudcat.


  1. Wow, those days go by fast! There's loads of songs here already! Well done, John, great project. Nic

  2. Duke Tritton used to sing this one at the Bush Music Club in Sydney...great song. Onyer John.

  3. I've always loved this song since I first heard it on a Bushwackers LP in the early 80s. I wrote a new set of lyrics for it, and recorded it in 1983. Louis McManus provided accompaniment for me, and I included it on my cassette album, 'Back Door Ballads'.

    'The Donna' is Mt.Donna Buang, a beautiful but somewhat maligned mountain not far from Melbourne. Its principal crime is that it it not high enough to attract reliable snow cover during winter - at least not in these times of global warming.

    Don't Knock the Donna

    Well, it's not all that high, and it's not all that far,
    And it's not quite as cold as the high mountains are.
    The view is not quite as splendid, and the snow's not as deep,
    But the way folk despise it, well, it just makes me weep.

    For it has fauna, and it has flora, in all shapes and shades.
    It has towering dense forests, and deep ferny glades.
    When the cold wind is filled with a eucalypt tang
    And the clouds tumble past, give me Donna Buang!

    Both wombats and kookaburras take it for their abode.
    I've seen lyre-birds, too, by the side of the road.
    At dusk on the summit, it's a magical show,
    With the bright lights of Warburton shining brightly below.

    Oh, the trendies drive their Porsches to Buller and Falls,
    And they say the Donna's just for wogs throwing snowballs.
    While the pretty people practice their ski-turns so neat,
    At the Donna, the kids toboggan on a big plastic sheet.

    Well, it's a long drive to Jindabyne, Mt. Beauty or Wang,
    But it's only about an hour to Donna Buang.
    You can head away after work for a sunset divine,
    And be back in time for the Don Lane Show at half past nine!

    So...don't knock the Donna, or view it with scorn.
    If it comes up in conversation, I beg you, don't yawn.
    Like Vegemite and lamingtons, meat pies and meringue,
    It's a national treasure, Mt. Donna Buang!

    © Stephen Whiteside 1983