Monday, October 31, 2011

The Good Old Concertina

Words:  Henry Lawson
Tune:  Traditional (The Girl I Left Behind)

Twas merry when the hut was full of jolly girls and fellows,
We danced and sang until we burst the concertina's bellows.
From distant Darling to the sea; from the Downs to Riverina,
Has e'er a gum in all the West not heard the concertina?

'Twas peaceful round the campfire blaze, the long white branches o'er us;
We'd play the tunes of bygone days, to some good old bush chorus.
Old Erin's harp may sweeter be, the Scottish pipes blow keener;
But sing an old bush song for me to the good old concertina.

'Twas cosy by the hut-fire bright when the pint pot passed between us;
We drowned the voice of the stormy night with the good old concertina's.
Though trouble drifts along the years, and the pangs of care grow keener,
My heart is gladdened when I hear that good old concertina.

Recorded with Wheatstone treble and baritone English-system concertinas.

The Water Lily

Words:  Henry Lawson
Tune:  Priscilla Herdman

A lonely young wife
In her dreaming discerns
A lily-decked pool
With a border of ferns,
And a beautiful child,
With butterfly wings,
Trips down to the edge of the water and sings:
‘Come, mamma! come!
‘Quick! follow me—
‘Step out on the leaves of the water-lily!’
And the lonely young wife,
Her heart beating wild,
Cries, ‘Wait till I come,
‘Till I reach you, my child!’
But the beautiful child
With butterfly wings
Steps out on the leaves of the lily and sings:
‘Come, mamma! come!
‘Quick! follow me!
‘And step on the leaves of the water-lily!

And the wife in her dreaming
Steps out on the stream,
But the lily leaves sink
And she wakes from her dream.
Ah, the waking is sad,
For the tears that it brings,
And she knows ’tis her dead baby’s spirit that sings:
‘Come, mamma! come!
‘Quick! follow me!
‘Step out on the leaves of the water-lily!’

Notes from: The Songs of Henry Lawson (2nd Ed) by Chris Kempster.  Published with the following note:

This poem was first published in Lawson's mother's monthly journal, "The Dawn" with the line, "Suggested to the writer by a curious dream related to the writer by a lady friend".  In Lawson's imagination, the child had butterfly wings.

This tune from Priscilla Herdman's 1977 album, The Water Lily.

With thanks to Melissa Jones on viola.

I Am A Tolerant Man


I don't mind blokes who digs or stokes,
Who fettle or work on derricks;
I can even stand a German band,
But I draw the line at clerics.

Why strike me pink, I'd sooner drink
With a cove sent up for arson,
Than a rain-beseeching, preaching, teaching,
Blanky, cranky, parson.

I snort and jibe at the whole of the tribe,
Whatever their sect of class is -
From lawn-sleeved ranters to kerbstone canters,
From bishops to Army lasses.

Give me the blaspheming, scheming, screaming,
Barracking football garcons -
In preference, to the reverent gents,
The blithering, blathering parsons!

Words from John Lahey's Great Australian Folk Songs (1965) via Mudcat, where Bob Bolton notes that it is from the Western Australian goldfields.

This tune from Greg Hudson of the Blue Mountains.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Old Macquarie

Words: Unknown
Tune: Traditional (One More River To Cross)

Noah he built himself an ark
There's one more river to cross
He built it out of gumtree bark
There's one more river to cross

There's one more river and that's the old Macquarie
There's one more river,
There's one more river to cross

The animals went in one by one
They all wanted to have some fun

The animals went in two by two
The wombat and the kangaroo

The animals went in three by three
The little bug and the frisky flea

The animals went in four by four
The buffaloes they got stuck in the door

The animals went in five by five
Some had children and some had wives

The animals went in six by six
Some carried swags and some carried sticks

The animals went in seven by seven
Some talked of hell and some of heaven

The animals went in eight by eight
Some were early and some were late

The animals went in nine by nine
Some in a circle and some in a line

The animals went in ten by ten
They had so much fun they said 'let's do it again'

Perhaps you think there's another verse
But there isn't!

Collected by Warren Fahey in 1973 from Mrs Susan Colley at the Bathurst Home for the Aged. This version recorded in the Country Lodge Motel, Bathurst, October 27, 2011.

Here's a link to a version of the original

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Stockmen of Australia

Words: Unknown
Tune: Traditional (The British Grenadiers)

The stockmen of Australia, what rowdy boys are they,
They will curse and swear a hurricane if you come in their way.
They dash along the forest on black, bay, brown, or grey,
And the stockmen of Australia, hard-riding boys are they.

By constant feats of horsemanship, they procure for us our grub,
And supply us with the fattest beef by hard work in the scrub.
To muster up the cattle they cease not night nor day,
And the stockmen of Australia, hard-riding boys are they.

Just mark him as he jogs along, his stockwhip on his knee,
His white mole pants and polished boots and jaunty cabbage-tree.
His horsey-pattern Crimean shirt of colours bright and gay,
And the stockmen of Australia, what dressy boys are they.

If you should chance to lose yourself and drop upon his camp,
He's there reclining on the ground, be it dry or be it damp.
He'll give you hearty welcome, and a stunning pot of tea,
For the stockmen of Australia, good-natured boys are they.

If down to Sydney you should go, and there a stockman meet,
Remark the sly looks cast on him as he roams through the street.
From the shade of lovely bonnets steal forth those glances gay,
For the stockmen of Australia, the ladies' pets are they.

Whatever fun is going on, the stockman will be there,
Be it theatre or concert, or dance or fancy fair.
To join in the amusements be sure he won't delay,
For the stockmen of Australia, light-hearted boys are they.

Then here's a health to every lass, and let the toast go round,
To as jolly a set of fellows as ever yet were found.
And all good luck be with them, for ever and to-day,
Here's to the stockmen of Australia-hip, hip, hooray!

This jaunty number is another from Banjo Paterson's Old Bush Songs, coupled with the tune of The British Grenadiers by the inimitable Warren Fahey.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kelly Was Their Captain


Come all you wild colonial boys, and attention to me pay,
For in my song I will unfold the truth without delay.
'Twas of a famous outlawed band that roamed this country round,
Ned Kelly was their captain and no better could be found.

But the Governor of Victoria was an enemy of this man,
And a warrant he likewise put out to take his brother Dan.
But alas, one day, some troopers came, young Dan to apprehend,
And he like a tiger stood at bay, his mother to defend.

Five hundred pounds reward was made for Ned, wherever he was found,
And from place to place was hunted as if he was a hound.
Now driven to desperation to the bush brave Ned did take,
With Dan, Steve Hart and brave Joe Byrne, all for his mother's sake.

And although they deemed them outlaws, brave men they proved to be,
And vengeance ranked in every breast for Kelly's misery.
They burned his mother's vine-clad hut, which caused his heart to yearn,
And angered his companions, Dan, Steve Hart and brave Joe Byrne.

One day as Ned and his comrades in ambush were concealed,
They spied three mounted troopers and their presence did reveal.
They called to them, 'Surrender!' These words to them he said -
'Resist a man amongst you and I'll surely shoot you dead.'

Now Kennedy, Scanlon and Lonergan, in death were lying low,
When Ned amongst them recognised his old and viscious foe;
Then thoughts came of his mother with a baby at her breast,
And it filled his heart with anger, and the country knows the rest.

It was at the Wombat Ranges where Ned Kelly made his haunt,
And all those Victorian troopers at that name would surely daunt;
For months they lay in ambush until finally were betrayed,
By traitor Aaron Sherritt, and his life the treachery paid.

It was at the Glenrowan station where the conflict raged severe,
When more than fifty policemen at the scene then did appear.
No credit to their bravery, no credit to their name,
Ned Kelly terrified them all and put their blood to shame.

Bushwacker Broadside #12 from the Bush Music Club's publication, Six Authentic Songs from The Kelly Country. Collected by Alan Scott from Bill Shawcross of Lithgow.

Here are Gary Shearston's notes to his release of this song on his 1964 album, Folk Songs and Ballads of Australia:

KELLY WAS THEIR CAPTAIN: A song about Australia's best-known bushranger and his well-organised gang whose daring raids baffled the police and governments of New South Wales and Victoria for more than 18 months in the late 1800s. It is but one of dozens of poems and songs about the Kelly gang that have circulated throughout Australia for over 80 years. At the time of their origin many were declared "treason songs" and the authorities made efforts to suppress them. "Kelly was their Captain" is one of "Six Authentic Songs from the Kelly Country" collected and edited by John Meredith and published by the Sydney Bush Music Club in 1955. In summing up the legend of Ned Kelly author Clive Turnbull has written: "When a nation has bestowed upon a man the highest tribute in its power to give, in the phrase 'game as Ned Kelly', what remains to be said?"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Stringybark Cockatoo


I’m a broken-hearted miner, who loves his cup to drain,
Which often times has caused me to lie in frost and rain.
Roaming about the country, looking for some work to do,
I got a job of reaping off a stringy-bark cockatoo.

Oh, the stringy-bark cockatoo,
Oh, the stringy-bark cockatoo,
I got a job of reaping off a stringy-bark cockatoo.

Ten bob an acre was his price—with promise of fairish board.
He said his crops were very light, ’twas all he could afford.
He drove me out in a bullock dray, and his piggery met my view.
Oh, the pigs and geese were in the wheat of the stringy-bark cockatoo.

The hut was made of the surface mud, the roof of a reedy thatch.
The doors and windows open flew without a bolt or latch.
The pigs and geese were in the hut, the hen on the table flew,
And she laid an egg in the old tin plate for the stringy-bark cockatoo.

For breakfast we had pollard, boys, it tasted like cobbler’s paste.
To help it down we had to eat brown bread with vinegar taste.
The tea was made of the native hops, which out on the ranges grew;
’Twas sweetened with honey bees and wax for the stringy-bark cockatoo.

For dinner we had goanna hash, we thought it mighty hard;
They wouldn’t give us butter, so we forced down bread and lard.
Quondong duff, paddy-melon pie, and wallaby Irish stew
We used to eat while reaping for the stringy-bark cockatoo.

When we started to cut the rust and smut was just beginning to shed,
And all we had to sleep on was a dog and sheep-skin bed.
The bugs and fleas tormented me, they made me scratch and screw;
I lost my rest while reaping for the stringy-bark cockatoo.

At night when work was over I’d nurse the youngest child,
And when I’d say a joking word, the mother would laugh and smile.
The old cocky, he grew jealous, and he thumped me black and blue,
And he drove me off without a rap—the stringy-bark cockatoo.

From Old Bush Songs where Paterson notes:

"...“The Stringy-bark Cockatoo,” though rough in style and versification, is a splendid hit at the new squireens. A “cockatoo,” it should be explained, is a small settler, and the stringy-bark tree is an unfailing sign of poor land; and the minstrel was much worse treated when working for “The Stringy-bark Cockatoo” than when he was a “Squatter’s man.”

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Maid of Richmond Ferry


Near Richmond 'Flat there lives a maid
More fair than summer morn,
Who has completely turned my head,
And left me now forlorn:
This lass so neat, who smiles so sweet,
To wed is in no hurry;
Although she knows I languish for
The Maid of Richmond Ferry.

Now happy would this Digger be
To call this nymph his own !
If she should say, "my husband be,"
I'd live for her alone.
But this lovely lass, whom none surpass,
In love affairs does vary
So much, I've almost lost all hope
Of the Maid of Richmond ferry.

St.. Kilda is a charming spot,
And Collingwood is pretty,
Prahran and Windsor I admire,
And Hawthorne, for their beauty.
But Richmond is the spot most dear
For there I oft make merry
With lemonade, and ginger beer,
And the Maid of Richmond Ferry

From the collecting of Warren Fahey. Published in 1853 in the Armchair Magazine.

As best as I can discover, this song refers to one of the Burnley ferry services in Melbourne. On this basis, this post is illustrated with a picture entitled "Ferry paddling up the Yarra in Burnley (Richmond)"

I've set this piece to the tune commonly used for the Murrumbidgee Shearer.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Wallaby Brigade

Words: Unknown
Tune: George Frederick Root (Tramp, Tramp, Tramp)

You often have been told of regiments brave and bold,
But we are the bravest in the land;
We’re called the Tag-rag Band, and we rally in Queensland,
We are members of the Wallaby Brigade.


Tramp, tramp, tramp across the borders,
The swagmen are rolling up, I see.
When the shearing’s at an end we’ll go fishing in a bend.
Then hurrah! for the Wallaby Brigade.

When you are leaving camp, you must ask some brother tramp
If there are any jobs to be had,
Or what sort of a shop that station is to stop
For a member of the Wallaby Brigade.

Chorus: Tramp, tramp, tramp, &c.

You ask me if they want men, you ask for rations then,
If they don’t stump up a warning should be made;
To teach them better sense—why, “Set fire to their fence”
Is the war cry of the Wallaby Brigade.

Chorus: Tramp, tramp, tramp, &c.

The squatters thought us done when they fenced in all their
But a prettier mistake they never made;
You’ve only to sport your dover and knock a monkey over—
There’s cheap mutton for the Wallaby Brigade.

Chorus: Tramp, tramp, tramp, &c.

Now when the shearing’s in our harvest will begin,
Our swags for a spell down will be laid;
But when our cheques are drank we will join the Tag-rag
Limeburners in the Wallaby Brigade.

Chorus: Tramp, tramp, tramp, &c.

To knock a monkey over is to kill a sheep, monkey being
slang for sheep in many parts of the bush.

Note and lyrics from Paterson's Old Bush Songs.

Another parody of Root's Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the original being published in 1864.

The illustration to this post is a drawing entitled On A Hungry Track by Frank Mahoney with the caption:

Mutton, mutton everywhere
And not a bite to eat!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bulls of the Speewah

Words: R C Pearce (Bob Bloodwood)
Tune: Unknown

Oh all this talk of the Dawson scrub it fairly leaves me cold
For I tell you them bulls was dinkum cows in the Speewah days of old
More fiercer than the fiercest cat more cunning than the Blacks
I've known them tie branches to their tails to cover up their tracks

When leaving camp you must put out the fires you had last night
For them bulls carry firesticks in their teeth to set your yards alight
They have the bower-birds squared to bellow to put you off your course
They even have the dingoes trained to heel your bloody horse

I remember one day there was six of us to muster to Jackass yard
No finer stockmen in the land and used to riding hard
The boss was up on a raking bay called Casanover's Desire
And I kidded myself that I looked at home on a horse called Black Maria

We sighted a score or more of bulls contented as you please
Some was sharpening their horns on the sandstone rocks and some was skewering trees
Well we made them flaming cattle run as hard as they could lick
But every time I looked behind they seemed to be gaining quick

There was one roan bull about a yard behind bowled over my mare and me
So to to see if me comrades was alright I climbed the nearest tree
Well I'm up here and he's down there as if he'd like to stay
But seeing I've no further use for him I let him drift away

Then down I come and grab my mare (her feet's caught in the rein)
For I'm as keen as mustard now to help my mates again
They was heading straight for the Jackass yard it was clear the way they went
They'd torn big trees up by the roots and even the hills looked bent

When I come in sight of the that there yard I sat there goggle-eyed
For the bulls was camped outside the gate and the stockmen was inside
So when I hear talk of the Dawson days my mind goes back to when
Them wild bulls of the Speewah scrub used to muster up the men

Lyrics and notes from Mark Gregory's Australian Folk Song site via Mudcat:

From the poem Bulls of Speewah by R.C.Pierce (Bob Bloodwood) This version as sung by A.L.Lloyd in a concert at the Singers Club in London 1973. Chris Kempster transcribed the tune for this collection from a tape recording made of the concert by Mark Gregory.

I've been unable to source the tune. The above note suggests that it was either collected or written by AL Lloyd.

RC Pearce published many poems in his Smoko Time column in the North Queensland Register.

My Religion

Words: Unkown
Tune: John Thompson

Let Romanists all at the Confessional kneel,
Let the Jew with disgust turn from it,
Let the mighty Crown Prelate in Church pander zeal,
Let the Mussulman worship Mahomet.

From all these I differ—truly wise is my plan,
With my doctrine, perhaps, you’ll agree,
To be upright and downright and act like a man,
That’s the religion for me.

I will go to no Church and to no house of Prayer
To see a white shirt on a preacher.
And in no Courthouse on a book will I swear
To injure a poor fellow-creature.

For parsons and preachers are all a mere joke,
Their hands must be greased by a fee;
But with the poor toiler to share your last “toke”*
That’s the religion for me.

[Footnote: “Toke” is a slang word for bread.]

Let Psalm-singing Churchmen and Lutheran sing,
They can’t deceive God with their blarney;
They might just as well dance the Highland Fling,
Or sing the fair fame of Kate Kearney.

But let man unto man like brethren act,
My doctrine this suits to a T,
The heart that can feel for the woes of another,
Oh, that’s the religion for me.

Another from Banjo Paterson's Old Bush Songs.

The illustration to this post is a photograph of the Uniting Church at Aitkenvale in Townsville in the 1920s.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lonigan's Widow

Shel Silverstein

Now four jolly troopers from Mansfield town
Set out to hunt the Kelly boys down
They searched through the wombat for most of the week
And they camped on the banks of the Stringybark Creek

cho: But Lonnigan's widow, she's singin' no songs
She walks these red hills and cries all night long
They say that Ned Kelly ain't never done wrong
But tell that to Lonnigan's widow

Early that mornin' 'midst laughter and shoutin'
Kennedy and Scanlon they rode off a scoutin'
Left McIntyre to cook up the grub
While Lonnigan sang at the old washin' tub

They were cleanin' the camp and brewin' up tea
When up jumped Ned Kelly with his comrades three
A shout and a cry and a crack of a gun
Lonnigan staggers and Lonnigan's done

He's crawlin' he's cryin' he's clawin' the ground
His voice makes a pleading and pitiful sound
Of the way that he's dyin' nobody will speak
When thy tell of the glories of Stringybark Creek

So sing of Ned Kelly that lad of renown
The pride of Australia the scourge of the Crown
Sing of his bravery and God bless his head
And bury the truth as you bury the dead

A rare example of a song about Ned Kelly that paints him in a poor light.

Written by Silverstein for the 1970 movie "Ned Kelly" starring Mick Jagger. Sung on the soundtrack album by Waylon Jennings.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shearing in the Bar

Duke Tritton

My shearing days are over, though I never was a gun
I could always count my twenty at the end of every run
I used the old Trade Union shears, and the blades were always full
As I drove 'em to the knockers, and I clipped away the wool
I shore at Goorianawa and didn't get the sack
From Breeza out to Compadore, I always could go back
And though I am a truthful man, I find when in a bar
My tallies seem to double, but I never call for tar

Shearing on the western plains where the fleece is full of sand
And the clover burr and corkscrew grass, is the place to try your hand
For the sheep are tall and wiry where they feed on the Mitchell grass
And every second one of them is close to the cobbler class
And a pen chock full of cobblers is a shearers dream of hell
So loud and lurid are their words when they catch one on the bell
But when we're pouring down the grog, you'll have no call for tar
For a shearer never cuts 'em, when shearing in a bar

At Louth I caught the bell sheep, a wrinkled, tough wooled brute
Who never stopped his kicking till I tossed him down the chute
My wrist was aching badly, but I fought him all the way
Couldn't afford to miss a blow, I must earn my pound a day
So when I'd take a strip of skin, I'd hide it with my knee
Turn the sheep around a bit where the right bower couldn't see
Then try and catch the rousie's eye and softly whisper "tar"
But it never seems to happen when I'm shearing in the bar

I shore away the belly wool and trimmed the crutch and hocks
Opened up along the neck while the rousie swept the locks
Then smartly swung the sheep around and dumped him on his rear
Two blows to clip away the wig - I also took an ear
Then down around the shoulder and the blades were open wide
As I drove 'em on the long blow and down the whipping side
And when the fleece fell on the board, he was nearly black with tar
But this is never mentioned when I'm shearing in a bar

Now when the seasons ended and my grandsons all come back
In their buggies and their sulkies -I was always on the track
They come and take me into town to fill me up with beer
And I sit on a corner stool and listen to them shear
There's not a bit of difference - it must make the angels weep
To hear a mob of shearers in a barroom shearing sheep
For the sheep go rattling down the race with never a call for tar
For a shearer never cuts 'em when he's shearing in a bar

Then memories come a crowding and they wipe away the years
And my hand begins to tighten and I seem to feel the shears
I want to tell them of the sheds, the sheds where I have shorn
Full fifty years and sometimes more, before these boys were born
I want to speak of yarragin, Dunlop or Wingadee
But the beer has started working and I'm wobbling at the knees
So I'd better not start shearing, I'd be bound to call for tar
Then be treated as a blackleg when I'm shearing in a bar

Often recited as a poem.

The illustration to this post is a photograph of shearers by Kerry and Company, held in the Powerhouse Museum collection

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Colours of Australia

Enda Kenny

It’s a Cape Tribulation pastel sunrise
Whitsundays turquoise bay
Mustard yellow wattle or the bottlebrushes red
it’s the rain that falls from skies of brolga grey.
The creamy coloured steam of Isa's chimneys
The eucalypt of dusty green and grey
No brush could ever paint these colours in a lifetime
The colours of Australia today

It’s the haunted blackened embers of a bushfire
The orange of a field of burning cane
The green that turns to gold out on the wheat field
The pink and grey galah out on the plain.
It’s a thousand different shades of Mallee sunset
it’s colours that are never seen by day
The fish out on the reef, living coral beneath
The colours of Australia today.

It’s the dusty powdered ochre of the Dreamtime
Snow white Franklin River running wild
The lorikeet with colours of the rainbow
that looks like it’s been painted by a child.
It’s a jaundiced yellow river full of topsoil
When its trees have all been taken away
We’re paying for the past, all the colours fading fast
The colours of Australia today.

From Dublin-born songwriter, Enda Kenny. A beautiful evocation of Australia.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sixteen Thousand Miles From Home


Well I'm sixteen thousand miles from home, my heart is fairly aching
To think that I should humble so; to come out here stone-breaking.
On the road I took to Castlemaine I met a sub-contractor.
He eyed me and studied me as a parson or a doctor.
With me hooral looral tiddy falooral, tiddy falooral li do.

Now I told him I was out of work, I wanted some employment.
Said he "You do, you stink with scent, you've had to much enjoyment.
Go over onto yonder hill, get from that bloke a hammer,
And nine and six it is your pay - and mind you now, use good grammar!"
With me hooral looral tiddy falooral, tiddy falooral li do.

So I battered and whacked the whole of the day, at evening I grew spiteful
With the sight - I didn't know what to do, I hadn't broke my hatful.
Just then the boss he came along, said he, "You'll have to alter,
You'll be getting no run of the store, by God, you haven't earned your salt, Sir!"
With me hooral looral tiddy falooral, tiddy falooral li do.

So I chucked my hammer down on the heap, with that I did consider.
Well, I knocked the dust from off my boots and I battered my old black beaver.
Bad luck then to my mum and dad, they reared me up so lazy,
With a silver spoon I'm a regular loon; with hunger I'm very near crazy!
With me hooral looral tiddy falooral, tiddy falooral li do.

Well I'll go and join the army, I'll go and enlist the rifle
And if I get shot I'll forget the lot, all hunger and all trifle!
With me hooral looral tiddy falooral, tiddy falooral li do.

From John Meredith's Penguin Australian Folk Song Book.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wyndham Drovers


We're on the road with Liddy with five hundred head of fats
We push them along on the stoney ground and wheel them on the flats
And when the evening stars come out with laughter and with song
We round the cattle up and camp by some quiet billabong

Our cook's a ball of muscle when he's rustling up a feed
And Bob Delaney's home and dry when steadying the lead
And if the cattle run at night there's one chap out in front
Striking matches on the bullocks horns a bloke named Georgie Hunt

And when we get to Wyndham there's Tom Cole with his whip
To take the cattle over the hill and get them on the ship
And when the mob is all on board we'll have some blasted fun
We'll get Bob Kelly with his car to take us for a run

We'll try and dig Pat Riley up then to that bag of tricks
The pub that's kept by Teddy Clark they call the Double Six
We'll sing again them droving songs we sang along the track
Have a show on the screen for an hour or two then off again outback

Lyrics and the following notes from Mark Gregory's Australian Folk Songs site:

From the singing of A.L.Lloyd. Printed in Australian Tradition , Oct 1971
Wyndham - port town in northern WA
Lloyd describes Liddy as a well known drover of the area and Liddy's is also known as a bottle tree near Cockatoo Bore, the other side of Kununurra Fats - road bullocks
Tom Cole - contract musterer and station manager who settled in Wyndham in 1924
Georgie Hunt - drover on the VRD, Victoria River Downs in the Northern Territory
Teddy Clark's wife ran a pub called the Six Mile in about 1923
Filmshows were put on at the meatworks in Wyndham in those days.

The illustration to this post is a photograph of Tom Cusack, taken at the Wyndham Meatworks in 1982. Some of the story of his life and work can be found on the Kent Saddlery site.

The following information about this song's origin has been kindly provided by Jeff Corfield:

The original was a poem titled "On the road with Liddy" written in 1927 by William Linklater (alias Billy Miller or Billimilla) - a knock-about station hand/bookkeeper/drover in the Kimberley and NT from around late 1800s to mid 1930s. Billy Miller composed many poems - some no doubt original and others adaptations of others he'd heard on his travels - as was the time-honoured bush tradition. In this case however local old timers I knew in the east Kimberley all credited Miller with composing the original.

When I lived in Kununurra in the mid 1970s I did some research into his and other bush worker songs and poems. During this time Mary Durack sent me copies of several hand written poems Billy Miller had sent to her in the 1930s from where he was working at Elsey Station (NT) to Ivanhoe Station, East Kimberley where she and her sister Elizabeth were living at the time. I still have them.

Miller’s poems had wide currency in the region and some were published in his biography "Gather no Moss" written in conjunction with his nephew (I think) Roger Linklater. Others appeared in the old NT Northern Standard and several small local Kimberley newspapers during the early part of last century and spread from there, mainly by the mythical “bagman’s gazette” (bush telegraph). In addition to the Bert Lloyd song version another of his poems "The Depot Races" was recorded by none other than Barry Humphries on an album of Australian poems back in the 70s or 80s I think.

Not sure how Bert Lloyd picked it up and where the tune came from as while the poem was still known in East Kimberley in the 1970s the tune wasn't. Bert Lloyd never worked in the Kimberley or NT to my knowledge but it is possible he could have picked it up from itinerant workers in southern Australia as it would have been around when he worked there. Most likely though someone sent it to him in later years and he simply put a tune to it, as indeed he did for many of his so-called originally "collected" Aussie songs.

Here is Billy Miller's original FYI

I am travelling down with Liddy
With six hundred head of fats
We string them on the stoney ground
And feed them on the flats
And when the evening stars come out
With laughter and with song
We round the cattle up and camp
By some quiet billabong

Old Gus is a ball of muscle
When knocking up a feed
Bob De Lucy home and dried
Whem steadying the lead
When the bullocks rush at night
There is one man out in front
Striking matches on the bullock's horns
A bloke called Georgie Hunt

Our journey is nearing to an end
Here comes Tome Cole with his whip
To take the lead across the hill
And put them on the ship
And when the mob is in the yard
By God we will have some fun
We will get Malony in his car
To take us for a run

We'll try and dig Bob Cooper up
Then to that box of tricks
A tavern kept by Tessy Clarke
What bushmen call the Six
We'll sing again the droving songs
We sung along the track
Show on the screen a day or so
Then off again out back

No doubt any changes from the original are due to time honoured folk process thanks to that mythical outback rag the Bagman's Gazette.

Re the term "show on the screen" it actually does not refer to going to the picture show while in town, though it obviously derived from the advent of the travelling picture show in bush towns like Wyndham. It actually means to "play up" or "put on a show" on the grog in town before heading back out bush. The term was still current amongst some bush workers when I was there in the 1970s.

Other references above are basically correct. When living there I went right along the old stock routes from the NT border and south of Kununuara to the Wyndham meat works. Drovers from east or south of what is now Kununurra brought cattle into the Wyndham town common or "Chimoorlie's paddock, where Wyndham drover Tom Cole would take charge of them to literally take them across a saddle in the Bastion Range just behind Wyndham down into yards near the port for shipment south or to Philippines (on the famous Manillamen cattle boats) in the early days, or later into holding yards for the new meatworks built around 1917 where beef was tinned export prior to the age of refrigeration / freezers.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Brewer's Glee

Words: Unknown

Tune: Traditional (When the Kye Comes Home)/arranged John Thompson

Come all ye wealthy brewers that make colonial ale,
Let us mix the decoction that has such a ready sale:
come hither with your drugs; hope and barley are too dear.
And we'll mix the swipers up a dose of pure colonial beer.

Oh! the brewing of the beer,
Oh! the brewing of the beer.
Success to chemistry, and to the art of brewing beer.

First fill the vat with water, put some molasses in,
With vitroil and opium we may just as well begin;
Put in some camomile, it's a wholesome thing I hear
And may counteract the 'bacco that we'll now put in the beer.

Put in some alum, salt, and ginger, now to make it nice
And to pleasure the poor devils here's some grains of paradise;
And don't spare the nux vomica, tho' strychnine is dear
But we must use it to give a hoppy flavour to the beer.

Here is coculus indicus to make their heads go round,
Here's quassia and here's multum too — don't be nice to a pound,
Put nutgalls in to colour it, and potash too is clear,
And to hinder it from scouring put some jalap in the beer.

Let the farmer feed his cattle and his poultry and his grain,
We do not want his barley while we've fox-glove and herbane;
Give us copperas, and wormwood, and hartshorn, and don't fear
That lushingtons need ever go without colonial beer.

Oh! the brewing of the beer,
Oh! the brewing of the beer.
Success to chemistry, and to the art of brewing beer.

Warren Fahey has this one as from Sam Slick Magazine (October 1879), while Ron Edwards came across it in a Colonial Songster two years later.

While set to "When the Kye Comes Home", I've changed the tune slightly to taste.

A version appears on cloudstreet's 2010 album, The Circus of Desires.

Friday, October 14, 2011


George Papavgeris

Again the rains are late this year, again the fields are dry and crops are dead
Today the bank refused to give me an extension for the loan
No money in my pocket for the fare
No friendly face with me my dissapointment to share
In failure and in poverty you always feel alone.

My arms and back are strong, and I have worked all hours that the good Lord gave
But for my efforts I have had so very little in return
This soil is too unyielding to the plough
Too hard to soften with the sweat that trickles from my brow
The crop so weak that there is almost nothing left to burn.

It's not the setting sun that makes my face look red
You rich will never understand it
And if I walk as if my shoes were made of lead
It's the shame of coming back home emptyhanded.

My savings went to buy this land, but all it's good for is to bury me
Unless I find a way to make it pay that could be very soon
The future that I dreamed as a young man
Is withered like the crops beneath the unrelenting sun
The very one that makes this such a lovely afternoon.

So what would happen if I just went right on walking till I disappeared
And would they miss me if I had a mind the countryside to roam
They followed me with hopes for Paradise
The one thing I can't do right now is look them in the eyes
I wish this road would swallow me and never take me home.

A beautiful Australian song from the pen of a remarkable Greco-Briton, George Papavgeris.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Fine Fat Saucy Chinaman

Words: Charles Thatcher
Tune: Henry Russell (The Fine Old English Gentleman)

I'll sing a little ditty, which
I trust you'll not think flat.
Of a fine fat saucy Chinaman
Who lives on Ballarat,
Whose pigtail is wound round his nut
In a tremendous plait,
And who wears on most occasions
A mushroom-looking hat.

Like a fine fat saucy Chinaman,
One of the present time.

His tent is on the Red Hill, and
He's fossicking all day;
And though he takes what others leave,
Contrives to make it pay;
And sometimes gets big nuggets,
As I've heard people say,
For, by dint of perseverance,
He always pays his way.

But the people on the diggings
Complain of him in shoals -
They say he's always damaging
The splendid waterholes;
And when they catch him at it,
Into a rage they fly;
But, "Welly good no sabby,"
Is all John will reply.

There's an awful insurrection
In China now 'tis said;
He comes away, but finds here too
A price set on his head;
But as the ten pound poll tax
He swears he will not stand,
He goes on shore at Adelaide,
And tramps it overland.

Now John with all his many faults,
Leads an industrious life;
The greatest drawback that he has
Is that he has no wife;
And as he is a bachelor,
Of course he never pops
To spend his tin in any of
The millinery shops.

Now as he's getting lots of gold,
I've not the slightest doubt
That ultimately Chinese girls
By thousands will come out,
Of all sizes and complexions
To please both great and small,
For John says that without a wife,
He can't get on at all.

From the Goldrush Songster.

The largest foreign contingent on the goldfields in Australia was made up of the 40,000 Chinese who made their way to Australia.

In 1861, Chinese immigrants made up 3.3 per cent of the Australian population, the greatest it has ever been. These Chinese were nearly all men (38,337 men and only eleven women!) and most were under contract to Chinese and foreign businessmen. In exchange for their passage money, they worked on the goldfields until their debt was paid off. Most then returned to China. Between 1852 and 1889, there were 40,721 arrivals and 36,049 departures.

The illustration to this post is a photograph from the State Library of Queensland collection, Chinese gold digger starting for work, ca. 1860s.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Five and a Zack


I've been a few miles I've crossed a few stiles
I've been round the world there and back
But one place I struck between here and hard luck
They stung me for five and a zack

The timekeeper there with his sanctified air
Is Salvation Army lance-jack
On his cornet he'll bleat when they play in the street
But he stung me for five and a zack

The job's at an end I'm camped in the bend
I hate the whole duck-shoving pack
It's not that I'm broke or in need of a smoke
But they stung me for five and a zack

May that time-keeper stand in an Aunt Sally band
And blow till his eyeballs turn black
May each note in his cornet turn into a hornet
And sting him for five and a zack

When my time comes I'll go to that hot place below
And never intend to come back
On my tombstone you'll find these words underlined
They stung me for five and a zack

From Manifold's The Penguin Australian Song Book

The illustration to this post is a photograph of the Australian Womens Salvation Army Band from 1906.

"Zack" was a slang term used mostly in Australia and New Zealand for a Sixpence.

The term is thought to have originated with the Scottish pronunciation of Sixpence - being "Saxpence", with a thick Scottish accent.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Song of the Squatter

Words: Robert Lowe
Tune: Traditional (Villikins and his Dinah)

The Commissioner bet me a pony — I won;
So he cut off exactly two-thirds of my run;
For he said I was making a fortune too fast,
And profit gained slower the longer would last.

He remarked as devouring my mutton he sat,
That I suffered my sheep to grow sadly too fat;
That they wasted waste land, did prerogative brown,
And rebelliously nibbled the droits of the Crown;—

That the creek that divided my station in two
Showed that Nature designed that two fees should be due.
Mr. Riddle assured me ’twas paid but for show;
But he kept it and spent it; that’s all that I know.

The Commissioner fined me because I forgot
To return an old ewe that was ill of the rot,
And a poor wry-necked lamb that we kept for a pet;
And he said it was treason such things to forget.

The Commissioner pounded my cattle because
They had mumbled the scrub with their famishing jaws
On the part of the run he had taken away;
And he sold them by auction the costs to defray.

The Border Police they were out all the day
To look for some thieves who had ransacked my dray;
But the thieves they continued in quiet and peace,
For they’d robbed it themselves — had the Border Police!

When the white thieves had left me the black thieves appeared,
My shepherds they waddied, my cattle they speared;
But for fear of my licence I said not a word,
For I knew it was gone if the Government heard.

The Commissioner’s bosom with anger was filled
Against me because my poor shepherd was killed;
So he straight took away the last third of my run,
And got it transferred to the name of his son.

The son had from Cambridge been lately expelled,
And his licence for preaching most justly withheld!
But this is no cause, the Commissioner says,
Why he should not be fit for a licence to graze.

The cattle that had not been sold at the pound
He took with the run at five shillings all round;
And the sheep the blacks left me at sixpence a head —
“A very good price,” the Commissioner said.

The Governor told me I justly was served,
That Commissioners never from duty had swerved;
But that if I’d a fancy for any more land
For one pound an acre he’d plenty on hand.

I’m not very proud! I can dig in a bog,
Feed pigs or for firewood can split up a log,
Clean shoes, riddle cinders, or help to boil down
Or whatever you please, but graze lands of the Crown.

Written by the remarkable Robert Lowe, later Viscount Sherbrooke.

The illustration to this post is the painting, "Robert Lowe, 1st Viscount Sherbrooke", by George Frederic Watts (died 1904), given to the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1895.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tomorrow I'm Losing My Darling.

Words: Unknown
Tune: Samuel Lover (Rory O'More)

I'm very unhappy, tho' nothing I've done.
I'll tell you the cause of my sorrow;
To-morrow my darling is leaving the run,
She goes from the station to-morrow.
The missus and she had a bit of a row
About something or other this morning;
The missus she started abusing her so,
My darling at last gave her warning.

Oh, bother the missus, and bother her tongue,
And bother her snapping and snarling;
Through wagging her jaws, without any cause,
To-morrow I'm losing my darling.

She went in the kitchen and kicked up a row,
She said that my darling was lazy;
My poor little darling had nothing to say —
She thought that the missus was crazy.
'Tis jealousy, boys, was the cause of it all,
For my darling had done well her duty;
The missus, confound her, is scraggy and tall,
My darling a plump little beauty.

I went in the office and picked up a book,
And sadly was turning the pages,
When the missus came in, and said she, with a look,
"Pay up this young woman her wages."
"It cannot be done, ma'am," said I with a grin,
"Your husband his cheque-book has taken:"
To tell an untruth was not much of a sin,
Especially when your heart is aching.

The boss is expected home by the next mail,
And the missus, confound her and dang her,
Of course with her husband is sure to prevail;
What woman would not in her anger?
My darling is packing as fast as she can,
She vows she will go in the morning,
Was ever a man tormented as I am?
My heart will seek solace in mourning.

Collected by Paterson in Old Bush Songs.

The origin of the tune is far removed from this tale of a lover's frustration. These notes from The Fiddler's Companion:

Colonel Roger “Rory” O’More (c. 1620-1655) was a minor Irish noble and the titular King of Laois, who rose to fame as the scourge of the English during the reign of Charles I. The jig was composed by Samuel Lover and became the "hit tune" of 1837. Although initially a dance tune (a popular Scottish country dance is called "Rory O'More"), it was absorbed as a common march in the Victorian era British army and can be found in martial manuscript books dating from the 1850's (Winscott). “Rory O’More” also appears in English fiddler’s manuscripts from the same era (see Ellis Knowles and Joshua Gibbons, referenced below). The melody was picked up by morris dancers from the village of Adderbury, Oxfordshire, in England's Cotswolds and used as a rural dance vehicle sometimes called by morris musicians as “Haste to the Wedding” and played in the key of ‘F’.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dungenyul Song


I met an old man called Rovrie
I was talking to him the other day
When I asked what was his opinion
To me these words he did say

"Now I'm just a common old swaggie
I wonder, like some people say,
But I like me grog and my dungenyul--
I guess I was brought up that way.

"Now beer is all froth and all bubble,
And whisky will make a man moan
And plonk's just another word for trouble
But the dungenyul is out on its own."

From Singabout, Volume 5, Number 2, October 1964, with the following note:

Dungenyul = methylated spirits

Collected by Barbara Gibbons from Chris Woodland who learnt it from Aboriginal friends in Bourke, N.S.W.

Though poisonous, methylated spirits is cheaper than drinking alcohol and so its misuse is not unknown.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kangaroo Pups


Father caught a kangaroo
Brother caught another too
Mother took the babies home,
Rim, ram, roam

Hippity, hoppity, kangaroo pups
Kangaroo pups, kangaroo pups
Hippity, hoppity, kangaroo pups
Kangaroo pups for sale.

Father caught 'bout eight or ten
Brother caught another then,
Mother took the babies home
Rim, ram, roam

Father caught em by the score
Brother caught a dozen more
Mother took the babies home
Rim, ram, roam

See em munchin' all the the food
Father's gettin' mighty rude
Eaten out o' house an' home.
Rim, ram, roam

From The Wildflower Songsheet of Australian Ballads.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wallaby Joe

Words: Unknown
Tune: Henry Bishop (The Mistletoe Bough)

The saddle was hung on the stockyard rail,
And the poor old nag stood whisking his tail,
For there never was seen such a regular screw
As old Wallaby Joe, of Bellagaroo;
Whilst the shearers all said, as a matter of course,
That Wallaby Joe was a fine cut of a horse;
But the stockmen cried, as they laughed aside,
He’d hardly do for a blackboy to ride.

Oh! poor Wallaby Joe.
Old Wallaby Joe of Bellagaroo

“I’m weary of galloping now,” he cried,
And my bones all ache in my poor old hide
For my eyes are dim, and my back is sore,
And I feel that my legs can't stand much more.”
Now Bill was a man who took care of his nag,
And put under his saddle an old sugee bag,
And off he went with a whip in his hand
To run in a mob of the O and bar brand.

Now stockman Bill camped out that night,
And he hobbled his horse in a sheltered bight;
Nex morn, of old Joe he found not a track,
So he had to walk home with his swag on his back.
And the shearers all cried, as they laughed at his woe
"Won't you sell us the chance of Old Wallaby Joe"
But Bill being riled, said, "I'm hanged if I do"
"For I'll wattle the ribs of that wretched old screw"

Now as years flew by, and Bill grew old,
It came into his head to go looking for gold;
So off he went with his pick and his spade
For digging, says he, shall now be my trade
It chanced as a gully he happened to cross
He came on the bones of his poor old horse;
The hobbles being jammed in a root below
Had occasioned the death of poor Wallaby Joe.

From John Meredith's notebooks in the National Library of Australia, transcribed from the The Queenslanders New Colonial Campfire Song Book (or to give it its full title:

First Number
Price 2s.
New Colonial
Camp Fire Song Book
containing popular songs of the day and new songs
Never before printed
an Old Explorer
(or any other man)
November 25th, 1865.

a book compiled and in part written by George Loyau.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Bushman

Words: Unknown
Tune: Traditional (The Wearing of the Green)

When the merchant lies down, he can scarce go to sleep
For thinking of his merchandise upon the fatal deep;
His ships may be cast away or taken in a war,
So him alone we’ll envy not, who true bushmen are.

Chorus: Who true bushmen are,
Who true bushmen are,
So him alone we’ll envy not, who true bushmen are!

When the soldier lies down, his mind is full of thought
O’er seeking that promotion which so long he has sought;
He fain would gain repose for mortal wound or scar,
So him also we’ll envy not, who true bushmen are.

Chorus: Who true bushmen are, &c.

When the sailor lies down, his mind he must prepare
To rouse out in a minute if the wind should prove unfair.
His voyage may be stopped for the want of a spar,
So him also we’ll envy not, who true bushmen are.

Chorus: Who true bushmen are, &c.

When the bushman lies down, his mind is free from care,
He knows his stock will furnish him with meat, wear and tear.
Should all commerce be ended in the event of a war,
Then bread and beef won’t fail us boys, who true bushmen are.

Chorus: Who true bushmen are, &c.

Then fill, fill your glasses, a toast I’ll give you, then,
To you who call yourselves true-hearted men.
Here’s a health to the soldier and e’en the jolly tar,
And may they always meet as good friends as we bushmen are.

Chorus: Who true bushmen are,
Who true bushmen are,

And may they always meet as good friends as we bushmen are.

From Paterson's Old Bush Songs

The illustration to this post is by Edgar May (1867-1920) from the National Library of Australia collection.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The wreck of the Dandenong


Oh, wild and furious blew the blast
And the clouds were hanging round
When the Dandenong from Melbourne sailed
For Newcastle port was bound
With eighty-three poor souls on board
Through the storm she cleaved her way
And it's sad to relate of the terrible fate
'Twas just off Jervis Bay

While steaming through the briny waves
Her propelling shaft gave way
And the waters they came pressing in
Which filled them with dismay
All hands on board did all they could
Till at length all hope was gone
And they hoisted a signal of distress
On board of the Dandenong

It was not long until a barque
A brisk and lively crew
Came bearing down and the Captain said
"We'll see what we can do!"
Came bearing down with might and main
In spite of wind or wave
They did all they could as Christians would
Those precious lives to save

While some in boats they tried to reach
That kind and friendly barque
And numbers of their lives were saved
And then the night came on pitch dark
What mortal man then could do more
When the storm increased on strong
And the rest now sleep in the briny deep
Along with the Dandenong.

From John Meredith's papers in the National Library of Australia with the note:

Collected from Mrs Byrnes, late of Spring Hill. Recorded by John Meredith 1954.

This from the The Argus, 14th September 1876 :



“The heavy southerly gale which raged with almost hurricane force along the east coast on Sunday has been most disastrous to the shipping which encountered it, and it is probable that we have not yet heard the full result of the damage done. It was only yesterday we had to record the great loss suffered by the racing community in the death of several valuable racehorses aboard the A.S.N. Co.’s steamer City of Melbourne, which ran into the gale, and now we have intelligence of the total loss of the s.s. Dandenong, belonging to Captain W. Howard Smith, which left here on Friday last with a full complement of passengers for Sydney. In addition to the loss of the vessel, it was also announced that at least 17 persons had been drowned, and it was feared that 40 more had met with a like fate. At first the news was disbelieved, but as telegram after telegram was received, the sceptics were forced to believe. The first announcement was made by the posting outside The Argus office of the following telegram from our Sydney correspondent : -

“ ‘Sydney, Wednesday.

“ ‘The Dandenong has broken her shaft, and was full of water, off Jervis Bay. A barque took off 28 persons; 17 were drowned, and 40 were still on board the Dandenong when the barque had to run for it. The Dandenong has not since been heard of, and it is supposed that she has foundered.’

“About the same time a telegram was received by Messrs. W. Howard Smith and Co., and posted at their office, Market-street : - ‘Newcastle, Wednesday. - Barque Albert William arrived here with 28 passengers and 12 crew of the Dandenong. The chief officer of the Dandenong reports that the shaft broke, and the ship was disabled off Jervis Bay. She was last seen at half-past 8 on Monday night. The chief and second officers are saved, but the captain and about 40 passengers and crew are supposed to be lost. The crew go on board the Cheviot as passengers to Sydney to-night.’

“Telegrams kept coming through in rapid succession, and from these it appears that the s.s. Dandenong, under the command of Captain J. Irwin, left Melbourne on Friday afternoon on her usual voyage to Sydney and Newcastle. In addition to her crew of 28 men, she had 27 passengers in the saloon and 28 in the steerage. She had a fine northerly wind down the bay, and it continued so until 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, when it suddenly chopped round to the eastward, and rapidly increased in violence until it was blowing a gale, and was gradually veering to the south, causing a nasty cross sea to run. The wind increased in violence during Sunday and the ship laboured heavily, shipping great quantities of water, but she was making good progress, and no fears were entertained of her not weathering the gale, which was now blowing with hurricane force. At 1 a.m. on Monday, however, when she was off Cape St. George, the headland forming Jervis Bay, the engines suddenly stopped, and almost immediately after the chief engineer reported to the captain - who had never left the deck throughout the gale - that the engines had broken down. Captain Irwin at once hauled his ship to the wind on the starboard tack, and attempted to stand off the land to the eastward. The gale still increased in violence, and it was impossible to show a rag of sail to keep her to the wind, and she consequently laboured heavily in the trough of the sea. To add to the danger the ship began to make water rapidly, and it was then discovered that the shaft of the screw had snapped in two, and had by some means damaged the hull in the after compartment. The pumps were promptly manned, the passengers and crew working in relays, while a party under the chief officer attempted to stop the leak using the mattresses and bedding from the cabins. This attempt, however, proved useless, and then, with a view of lightening the ship, and so cause her to labour less violently, Captain Irwin gave orders to throw overboard some of the cargo from the main hold. The water, however, was still rapidly increasing in the hold, and it was evident that she was fast settling down in the water. The sea was running so high that it was but little use launching the boats - with which the Dandenong was well supplied - as they would most certainly have been swamped. At about 2 p.m. on Monday a vessel hove in sight, and signals of distress having been hoisted, she soon bore down to her assistance, and proved to be the barque Albert William, from Wallaroo bound to Newcastle with copper ore. With great difficulty and danger one of the Dandenong’s boats was lowered, which, under the charge of Mr. Lawson, the chief officer, took several of the passengers on board, and proceeded alongside the barque. As thet neared her, however, they got into the trough of the sea, and the ship striking her heavily at once swamped her, and only the chief officer, two of the crew, and a child were saved. Another boat was lowered from the steamer, and this successfully placed its cargo of passengers on board the barque, but when attempting to complete a second trip she was smashed alongside, and only two of those on board of her were rescued. A third boat was lowered from the Dandenong, and in charge of Mr. M’Ewan, the second officer, assayed the difficult journey, but on going alongside the barque she met with the same fate, but most of those in her succeeded in saving their lives. By this time darkness was setting in, and it became impossible to tranship nay more persons until daylight. The captain of the Albert William, however, promised to keep by her until morning and then attempt to take off the 40 souls remaining on board. He had, however, but little hopes that she would live through the night, as the gale showed no signs of abating, and she was labouring so heavily that he expected her to founder instantly. A good look-out was kept for her during the first watch, but between 8 and 9 o’clock the steamer’s lights suddenly disappeared, and it was then supposed she had gone to the bottom. The Albert William remained hove-to all night, but when daylight came, there was nothing to be seen of the Dandenong, and she stood away on her course for Newcastle. Although she had to pass Sydney Heads on her way, for some unknown reason, the captain contented himself with merely showing his number, and gave no notice of the unfortunate occurrence. Had this been done the disaster would have been known at least 12 hours earlier, and steamers could have been promptly sent from Sydney to the scene of the wreck, in the hopes of yet finding some trace of the unfortunate vessel.

“As soon as the disaster became known, the New South Wales Government despatched the Government steamer Thetis to the scene of the wreck, and also telegraphed to Wollongong, Kiama, Terrara, Marura, and Jervis Bay to send out any assistance available. Commodore Hoskins, commanding the Australian squadron, also gave instructions to H.M.S. Sappho to proceed to the spot and search for the wreck. The steamers Yarra Yarra, from Sydney, and Tasmania, from Wollongong, also proceeded on the same errand during the day; while the manager of the Bulli Coal Company sent similar instructions to despatch their steamer Bulli from Bulli.

“As soon as the first intimation of the disaster was received in Melbourne Mr. Kerford communicated with the Commissioner of Trade and Customs in order to ascertain whether it was advisable to send away the Victoria. Mr. Anderson, however, pointed out that the scene of the wreck was only about 90 miles from Sydney, and that it would take 48 hours before the Victoria could reach the spot. The New South Wales Government were, however, communicated with, and an offer was at once made to send the Victoria if it was considered necessary. The Premier of New South Wales promptly replied, thanking Sir James M’Culloch for his offer, but declining it on the ground that plenty of steamers were available in Sydney.

“It is stated that when the morning broke on the Albert William - and nothing was in sight it was presumed that the Dandenong had found a watery grave - the scenes on board were most heartrending. Parents had been separated from their children, and in one case a little child had lost father, mother, brothers, and sister, and she alone was the surviving one out of a family of eight.

“Mr. M’Ewan, the second officer of the Dandenong, appears to bear a somewhat charmed life, as he was the third officer of the ill-fated ship British Admiral, that was lost on King’s Island in 1873, when nearly all the crew and passengers were drowned. In addition to the valuable general cargo the Dandenong had on board, she was also carrying 160 high-class stud sheep, which had been purchased by New South Wales and Riverina buyers at the recent annual ram sales held by Messrs. Powers, Rutherford, and Co., and Messrs. Ettershank, Eaglestone, and Co.

“The Dandenong was well-known as a regular trader between this port and Sydney, and was purchased at home by the owner, Captain W. Howard Smith, who brought her out here. She was a staunch and strongly constructed iron screw steamer, of 743 tons, builder’s measurement, and was built in 1867 at Palmer’s Ironworks, Jarrow-on-Tyne, the same yard from which were launched the Barrabool and Queensland. She was of the following dimensions : - Length, 291 feet; beam, 28ft. 2in.; and depth of hold, 15ft. 7in.; and her hull was in three water tight compartments. The Dandenong arrived here early in January, 1868, to run in conjunction with the You Yangs to Sydney and Newcastle, and during her career on the coast she proved herself a very handy vessel, and di good service for her owner. She had made 206 trips, and was on her 207th when this disaster occurred. Her engines were of 90-horse power nominal, and she was fitted up on deck with steam appliances for the rapid discharge and taking in of cargo. Like the rest of the boats of her line, she was kept in the most efficient order, and her passenger accommodation had been altered and improved some time ago. The value placed upon her by the owner is L20,000, but she is only covered by insurance to the extent of L14,000. The insurances are with the Adelaide Marine and the Southern, but these companies, it is understood, have divided the risk with other offices.

“The following is a list of the passengers who left here for Sydney in the Dandenong : - Saloon. - Mrs. Whitworth. Mrs. Brodie, Mrs. M’Connachy, Mrs. Wakefield, Miss E. Smith, Miss Hilliard, Miss E. Murray, Miss M. Murray, Miss Agnes Wakefield, Miss Annie Wakefield, Miss Fitzsimmons, Miss Green, Sister St. Joseph, Messrs. Winship, Ash, G. Chambers, M’Dougall, Wakefield, T. J. Malley, H. H. Steele, Wright, W. Murray, Hartley, Master Whitworth, and Masters J. Wakefield, T. Wakefield, and F. Wakefield. Steerage. - Mrs. Blair, Mrs. Grey, Mrs. Ward, Mrs. M. Brown, and Mrs. Edmonds and two children, Messrs. Dare, Ferguson, Davis, Blair, J. M’Ghee, Payne, M’Grath, Golding, W. Barter, M’Dougall, J. Osborn, Honey, E. Walter, R. Walter, Matthews, J. Murray, M. Brown, and W. Langston.

“The following is the list of passengers saved : - Saloon. - Captain M’Dougall, Mr. F. Ash, Mr. J. Hartley, J. Whitworth, Mr. G. Chambers, Sister St. Joseph, Miss E. Murray, Miss Mary Murray, Miss Anne Green, Miss Mary Fitzsimmons, Miss Agnes Wakefield, Miss E. Smith. Steerage. - Mr. E. Walters, Mr. R. Walters, Mr. Samuel Golding, Mr. Wm. Blair, Mr. J. Osborn, Mr. J. Honey, Mr. J. M’Grath, Mrs. M. Brown, Mrs. Blair and child, Mrs. Edmonds and two children, and Mrs. Ward. The following is a list of the crew on board : - J. Irwin, captain; - Lawson, chief officer; C. M’Ewan, second mate; Jas. Forger, chief engineer; John Dykes, second engineer; Robert Hooks, chief steward; Fred. Jewell, second steward; John Wilson, officer’s boy; Thos. Hollson, fore cabin steward; Anna Saul, stewardess; John Wilson, cook; Wm. Young, lamp trimmer; David Mord, Jas. Anderson, John Bruhn, Josh de Franze, John Ekland, Charles Christie, Lawrence Williams, Charles Lingoist, - Alfred, and - Humphreys, able seamen; Jeremiah Bunting, Jogn Johnson, Wm. Lloyd, and Martin Dwyer, firemen; George Habbinder, Wm. Edbrooke, and Francis Hay, trimmers.

“The following are the members of the crew saved. Mr. Lawson, chief officer; Mr. C. M’Ewan, second officer; Mr. John Dykes, second engineer; Anna Saul, stewardess; James Anderson, John Bruhn, John Ekland, Charles Christie, Charles Lingoist, - Alfred, - Humphreys, able seamen; and George Habbinder, trimmer.

“Captain M’Dougall, one of the passengers saved, has had a recent experience of shipwreck, as he was master of the Water Lily that was lost a few months since at Port MacDonnell, S.A. Mr. Wakefield, who has been lost with his wife and his family, is a relation of the accountant of the Melbourne and Hobson’s Bay Railway Company; and Mrs. M’Connachy, who has also been lost, is the wife of the captain of the barque Moneta, which recently arrived here from New York, and was proceeding to Sydney to join her husband. As the Moneta had not yet arrived, it will be sad news for the captain when he reaches port to learn the death of his wife.

“There is still a possibility - though but a slight one - that some more of the passengers and crew have been saved by means of the other boats, but the search which is being made will soon decide the matter.

“Much sympathy is felt for Mr. Howard Smith, the owner of the Dandenong, whose recent losses in connexion with the collision between the Queensland and Barrabool add weight to this fresh disaster.

More contemporary newspaper reports can be found here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Dog's Party


The dogs all had a party
They came from near and far
And some dogs came by aeroplane
And some by motor car
And when they arrived
Each one had a look
And each had to take his arsehole off
And hang it on a hook

And hardly were they seated there
Each mother, son and sire,
When a dirty little yellow dog
Began to holler ´Fire!´
Out they rushed in panic
They didn't stop to look
Each dog he grabbed an arsehole
From off the nearest hook

And that's the reason why you see
On walking down the street
Each dog will stop and swap a smell
With every dog he meets
And that's the reason why a dog
Will leave a good fat bone
To go and smell an arsehole
In the hope it is its own

John Meredith's collected version, via Ron Edwards (the first verse and fragments of the rest being collected from Allan Miller of Mossman in 1972). A joke old enough to have developed many versions.

Ron notes that many of both his and John Meredith's informants claim Henry Lawson as the author, however there is no evidence that this is the case.