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There was a wild colonial boy, Jack Donahoe by name,
Of poor but honest parents he was born in Castlemaine.
He was his father's dearest hope, his mother's pride and joy,
O, fondly did his parents love the wild colonial boy.
He was scarcely sixteen years of age when he left his father's home,
A convict to Australia, across the seas to roam,
They put him in the iron gang in the Government employ,
But never an iron on earth could hold the wild colonial boy.
And when they sentenced him to hang to end his wild career,
With a loud shout of defiance, bold Donahoe broke clear.
He robbed the wealthy silvertails, their stock he did destroy,
But no trooper in the land could catch the wild colonial boy.
Then one day when he was cruising near the broad Nepean's side,
From out the thick Bringelly bush the horse police did ride.
"Die or resign, Jack Donahoe" they shouted in their joy,
"I'll fight this night with all my might!" cried the wild colonial boy.!"
Thus he fought six rounds with the horse police before the fatal ball,
Which pierced his heart and made him start, caused Donahoe to fall,
And then he closed his mournful eyes, his pistol an empty toy,
Crying, "Parents dear, O say a prayer for the wild colonial boy."
Come all my hearties, we'll range the mountainside
Together we will plunder, together we will ride
We'll scour along the valleys and gallop o'er the plains
We'll scorn to live in slavery, bowed down in iron chains
This version of this much-loved and many-varied song is that collected by Malcolm Ellis, with what is commonly the chorus used as a final verse. Mudcat has a long and informative discussion of this song in its pages on Bold Jack Donahue. Well worth a look.
Of the many tunes available, I have gone with my personal preference and used a variation of the traditional tune that Mick Jagger sang on the soundtrack of the 1970 film, Ned Kelly.
The illustration to this page is a drawing by EC May entitled, The Bushranger Pursued.