Australian Folk Songs
songs | books | records | articles | glossary | links | search | responses | home

 Dying Fettler

A strapping young fettler lay dying
With a shovel supporting his head
The ganger and crew round him crying
As he let go his pick handle and said

Wrap me up in a tent or a fly boys
And bury me deep down below
Where the trolleys and trains won't molest me
To show there's a navvy below

There's tea in the old battered billy-can
Place the dogs spikes out in a row
And we'll spike to the next merry meeting
To show there's a navvy below

Hark, there's the wail of a trolley
Far, far away it seems
It sounds like the inspector is coming
And hopes to see us all here

So back to your shovels my boy-lads
And bend your backs backs with a will
For this inspector has no kind of judgement
To know there's a navvy below


In his Big Book of Australian Folk Song Ron Edwards writes "The Dying Fettler was collected at Lappa Junction, N.Q., 21 August 1966. will be readily recognised as a parody on The Dying Stockman. It was sung by Vic Leonard, who in turn had learned it from Frank Stock of Koorboora, a now extinct mining centre". See 'The Dying Stockman' in this collection.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory