Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Am A Squatter Bold And Free


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I am a squatter bold and free,
A man of thews and sinews
No stockman harder rides than me,
Nor longer out continues

My fleecy coats are thousands ten,
My horned heads, ten hundred,
I and twenty shepherd men,
From local life are sundered.

No church, shop, tavern near the place,
No letter bag goes through it,
No lovely woman's smiling face
For I can't afford to do it.

From Ron Edwards, Big Book of Australian Folk Song with the following notes:

I AM A SQUATTER BOLD AND FREE does not appear to have been collected before, although a few northern bushmen, including Mick Ryan of Cooktown, can recall having heard in the early days, around the turn of the century. It was collected by Wendy Lowenstein and me from Stan Boyd of Cooktown on 27 November, 1969.

At the time of taping the tune, he recalled learning it as a small child in Coen, northern Queensland. The reference to shepherds in relation to sheep and cattle would suggest that the song dates from the 1850s or even earlier.

The illustration to this post is from Bonzle:

W. Alderson, head stockman on Stoneland Station, prepares to mount his horse. His dog sits alongside.

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