Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Hut That's Upside Down


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Me name is Bobby Ambelet, to Glasgow I belong,
I've just stepped in among you all to sing to you a song
I've travelled about the counteree to places of renown.
But now I'm anchored hard and fast
In the hut that's upside down.

The cook he danced the Highland fling,
Oh, laddie plays the lute;
The little boy from Burraway,
He played upon the flute.
Scotty sings "The Mulberry Tree"
And all dull care is flown,
We're happy as larks out in the park,
In the hut that's upside down.

The shearing, it has now begun, the machines are doing well,
The little shears, they go "click-click", and the wool rolls off pell-mell,
The tramway runs around the board, the boys are flying 'round,
And the cook is lashing the brownie out,
In the hut that's upside down.

At night we pass the hours away at euchre, nap and bluff,
Some will rhyme to kill their time, while others blow their stuff,
There was prime roast beef for dinner, and the duff was served around;
We're getting as fat as poisoned pups
In the hut that's upside down.

The other night I went to read and went to sleep quite sound,
I thought the hut was all "a-jee" and I was on the ground,
When I awoke to my surprise, the boys were standing round,
And gave three cheers for Willie the cook,
In the hut that's upside down.

From Authentic Australian Bush Ballads, edited by John Meredith and Alan Scott for the Bush Music Club.

Collected from Mary and Tom Byrnes and published with the following note:

A shearer's song composed at the time when machine shearing was first introduced. It gives a good description of life in the men's hut after the day's work was over.

The illustration to this post is a wood engraving, SHEARERS' HUT AT NIGHT TIME (December 26, 1884) from the State Library of Victoria collection.

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