Australian Folk Songs
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Oh who hasn't heard of Euabalong Ball
Where the lads of the Lachlan the great and the small
Come bent on diversion from far and from near
To shake off their troubles for just once a year
Like stringy old wethers the shearers in force
All rushed to the bar as a matter of course
While waltzing his cliner the manager cursed
For someone had caught him a jab with his spurs
There were cliners in plenty some two or three score
Some weaners some two-tooths and it maybe some more
With their fleeces all dipped and so fluffy and clean
The finest young shearlings that ever was seen
The boundary riders was frisking about
And the well-sinkers seemed to be feeling the drought
If the water was scarce well the whisky was there
What they didn't swallow they rubbed in their hair
There was music and dancing and going the pace
Some went at a canter some went at a race
There was bucking and gliding and staggering and sliding
And to vary the gait some couples colliding
Oh Euabalong Ball was a wonderful sight
With the two-tooths so frisky the whole flaming night
And many there'll be who regret to recall
The polkas they danced at Euabalong Ball
Printed in Stewart and Keesing Old Bush Songs under the title 'The Wooyeo Ball' with the note: "From Rob Webster's The First Fifty Years of Temora This song was dated 1888, and the place named was Euabalong". (See Wooyeo Ball in this collection). Euabalong Ball is also in Manifold Penguin Australian Song Book with the note: "Learnt from Australian students abroad, circa 1935".
This version from the singing of A.L.Lloyd who wrote to Oscar Mendleson "By the way, a very minor matter. The version of Euabalong Ball. (p.125 of your book, A WALTZ WITH MATILDA, and quoted in good faith from Manifold's Penguin book) wasn't 'learnt from Australian students c. 1935'....but was learnt from a gramophone record of mine issued in 1953 in USA called AUSTRALIAN BUSH SONGS. I heard this song in incomplete form in Condoblin, N.S.W. in 1930, brushed it up, and completed it to suit myself, attaching it to Euabalong, and improved the tune. The original place name was Wooyeo. I altered it to Euabalong because that was near where I was working at the time." (From Ron Edwards Australian Folk Song Index p.686)
Euabalong is a town on the Lachlan River, while there is no mention of 'Wooyeo' in modern gazettes. There is a 'Whoey Tank' however, some 17 kilometres from Euabalong, and the surrounding district is called 'Whoey Shire'.
In September 1999 I received the following email from Bob Small
"When I was a lad, Wooyeo Homestead was about fifteen kilometres north of Lake Cargelligo and about the same distance from Euabalong (If you swam your horse across the river). Probably about twenty Ks. by road. In the last century it was the main station covering all that area but is now totally cut up.
Wooyeo Homestead, fifty years ago, was a huge building, mostly made of shingleback logs. From my memories of it, there would have been somewhere around thirty rooms in the building. In those days, even though it was old, it was still in very good condition.
A little bit more of history. Wooyeo woolshed was situated just off the Lake Cargelligo, Euabalong Road, 10 Kilometres from Lake Cargelligo and about 6 Ks. from the Wooyeo homestead. It was a massive building, in its hey day there were fifty one stands. It was still there in the early sixties and still being used as a woolshed, although only on a two or three stand basis. At that stage it was in a very poor condition and was going downhill fast.
When I was a lad, many of the older generation spoke of the great woolshed dances that were held in the Wooyeo woolshed. They would have been speaking about the 1920s and before. "
In April 2003 I received the following email from Fred Thompson
"I recently went to the Lake Cargelligo area, chasing up past and current relatives that lived in the area. While there I took this photograph of the Wooyeo Woolshed. Although I did not find out much about the Wooyeo Ball, the woolshed's hayday was in the 1880-90's, when Wooyeo Station covered an area that took in the site of the present day Lake Cargelligo. The Wooyeo Woolshed is on private property and due to the amount of time I had for my visit to the lake, I could not gain info leading to access. Its location is 7km from the Lake Cargelligo P.O. on the Euabalong Rd on the right hand side near the first big curve heading out of town. A small road off to the left at the start of the curve is exacly opposite."
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory