Thursday, November 24, 2011

O'Mulligan's Wallaby Drive

Words:  Unknown
Tune:  Traditional (Villikins and His Dinah)

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Mister Peter O'Mulligan often had thought
That he hadn't been nearly so good as he ought
In dispensing good cheer to his neighbours and friends,
So he hit on a scheme that would make them amends

He said, "Molly, my darling, we'll go the whole hog,
You must lay in a stock of provisions and grog.
We'll invite all the neighbours and try to contrive
Just to give them an iligant wallaby drive".

He invited the Murphy's, both Johnny and Matt,
And old Sandy MacDougall from Tumbledown Flat,
There was Barney O'Grady, and Jones from the mill,
And old Paddy the Stockman, from Cabbage Tree Hill.

And they came with their wives and their sweethearts, and som
Came alone, and a few were unable to come.
But it did Molly's heart good to see them arrive
To Peter O'Mulligan's wallaby drive.

There was game in abundance and plenty of sport
And the old gum trees shook with the rattling report
Of old Paddy's big musket, as furious and fast
He blazed with his eyes shut at all that went past.

At the end of the day, when they counted the score,
Paddy hadn't shot one, while MacDougall had four.
Johnny Murphy was top, for he shot twenty-five
At Peter O'Mulligan's wallaby drive.

When the sun had gone down and the shooting was done,
There was dancing and feasting and flirting and fun.
Johnny Murphy got drunk, while his young brother Matt,
Courted Kitty MacDougall, from Tumbledown Flat.

While Peter himself, quite unknown to his lady,
Sat on the verandah with Biddy O'Grady
They danced till poor Jones was more dead than alive
At Peter O'Mulligan's wallaby drive.

O'Grady sought Biddy the moment he missed her,
And came on the pair as O'Mulligan kissed her
Their joy was diluted; O'Grady showed fight
While O'Mulligan's missus made Biddy look white.

In a moment the house was like Donnybrook Fair,
There were heads in the fireplace, and heels in the air.
And though Paddy, the stockman, to part them did strive,
He got floored - at O'Mulligan's wallaby drive.

Poor Kitty MacDougall lost all her false hair,
While O'Grady got scalped with the leg of a chair;
Johnny Murphy struck Paddy, who called him a liar
And, upsetting the lamp, set the whole house on fire.

There was fire in the parlour, a smoke in the hall,
And a blaze in the room that was cleared for the ball,
And the ladies who'd fainted, they had to revive
Or be baked - at O'Mulligan's wallaby drive.

Then they rallied round Peter, their friendship returning,
And they pulled down his house to prevent it from burning;
When the fire was put out, they all shouted "Goodnight"
And, then saddling their horses, were soon out of sight.

When the last one was gone, Mrs O'Mulligan rose
And she said, as she wiped a big tear from her nose,
"When ye want more divarsion to kape you alive,
I presume, faith! ye'll get up a wallaby drive".

Then, as phoenix-like Peter arose from the ashes
With his whiskers all singed, and his eyebrows and lashes,
He exclaimed, "By the ghost of Saint Patrick, I swear,
If I ever recover my eyebrows and hair,

That there's only one small piece of hunting I'll do,
Faith! I'll hunt for O'Grady and give him his due,
As for you, Divil take you!  I'll skin you alive,
If you evermore mention a wallaby drive.

From Singabout, (The Journal of Australian Folksong,  Published in Sydney by the Bush Music Club) 1960, Volume 4, Number 1.

Published with the following note:

Collected and recorded by William Crosdale, of South Yarra, from the singing of Jack (Bottle-O) Carter, who learned it as a boy around the Moree district.

The illustration to this post is a photograph of wallaby hunting on King Island around 1897.

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