Australian Folk Songs
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  Freedom on the Wallaby

Australia's a big country an' Freedom's humping bluey
An' Freedom's on the Wallaby Oh dont you hear her cooey
She's just begun to boomerang she'll knock the tyrants silly
She's going to light another fire and boil another billy

Our fathers toiled for bitter bread while loafers thrived beside them
But food to eat and clothes to wear their native land denied them
And so they left their native land in spite of their devotion
And so they came or if they stole were sent across the ocean

Then Freedom couldn't stand the glare of Royalty's regalia
She left the loafers where they were and came out to Australia
But now across the mighty main the chains have come to bind her
She little thought to see again the wrongs she left behind her

Our parents toiled to make a home hard grubbing twas and clearing
They wasn't troubled much by lords when they was pioneering
But now that we have made the land a garden full of promise
Old Greed must crook his dirty hand and come and take it from us

So we must fly a rebel flag as others did before us
And we must sing a rebel song and join in rebel chorus
We'll make the tyrants feel the sting of those that they would throttle
They needn't say the fault is ours if blood should stain the wattle


Written by Henry Lawson and printed in the Worker in Brisbane (May 16th 1891). This was Lawson's comment on the use of the military to put down the Shearers Strike. It was read out in the Queensland parliament with calls for his arrest for sedition. One of a number of Lawson's poems that took to the bush and grew itself a tune. Chris Kempster uses the traditional tune for the chorus and his own variant for the verse.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory