Words: Charles Thatcher
Tune: Rev. E Bradley
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A decided stop there's been of late
To the tide of emigration
And chaps at home would rather wait
Than boldly face privation
They've found out that a man must work
At mining like a nigger
And so Australia they shirk
Nor wish to be a digger.
What tales went home about the old -
They sounded quite romantic,
But when they came out and were sold,
It drove the new chums frantic:
Lean lawyers' clerks that pined for wealth,
Cut but a sorry figure,
With blistered hands and out of health,
They cursed the name of digger.
Pintpots were once filled from rich ground,
And in gold bags they sacked it,
Now strange to say in quartz tis found,
But it's harder to extract it:
To pick it up's the work of weeks,
And it requires great vigour.
And blasting rocks and damming creeks
Is done by every digger.
No more to Silver's in Cornhill
The gold-struck cockneys fly now.
Of bad reports they've had their fill,
And they're a deal more shy now:
Outfitters once sold clothes to fools,
And asked a tidy figure,
And shoved off lots of useless tools
To every new chum digger.
What lots of ships once crossed the foam,
With gals a tidy portion,
But the style in which they now write home,
I fancy is a caution:
With silk at seven bob a yard
They used to cut a figure,
But now they find it precious hard
To nail a lucky digger.
No one out here need toil in vain
If his mind to work he's giving,
In spite of hardships, it's quite plain,
Each one may get a living:
So in Australia stay a while,
And work away with vigour,
For many a one will make his pile
That's now a hard-up digger.
Another of Charles Thatcher's songs from the goldmining era in Australia, this to the tune of The Ratcatcher's Daughter. Ron Edwards notes its publication in The Colonial Minstrel (1864)
The illustration is a photograph of gold miners in the Daintree area of North Queensland in 1860.