Australian Folk Songs
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 Lime Juice Tub

When shearing comes lay down your drums
Step on the board you brand new chums
With a ra-dum ra-dum rub-a-dub-dub
Send him home in a lime juice tub

Chorus (optional)
Here we are in New South Wales
Shearing the sheep as big as whales
With leather necks and daggy tails
And hides as tough as rusty nails

Now you have crossed the briny deep
You fancy you can shear a sheep
With a ra-dum ra-dum rub-a-dub-dub
We'll send you home in lime juice tub

There's brand new chums and cockies sons
They fancy that they are great guns
They fancy they can shear the wool
But the buggers can only tear and pull

They tar the sheep till they're nearly black
Roll up roll up and get the sack
Once more we're away on the Wallaby Track
Once more to look for the shearing oh

The very next job they undertake
Is to press the wool but they make a mistake
They press the wool without any bales
Shearing's hell in New South Wales

And when they meet upon the road
From off their backs throw down their load
And at the sun they'll take a look
Saying I reckon it's time to breast the cook

We camp in huts without any doors
Sleep upon the muddy floors
With a pannikin of flour and a sheet of bark
To wallop up a damper in the dark

Its home its home I'd like to be
Not humping my drum in this country
Its sixteen thousand mile I've come
To march along with the blanket drum


From the singing of A.L.Lloyd. An early and very complete version appeared in the Bulletin 1898 where it was called 'The Whaler's Rhyme'. John Meredith collected a version from Cyril Ticehurst who had been a butcher in Grenfell, and who chanted rather than sang it. Lime Juice Tub is slang for a British ship. A.L.Lloyd heard it while working on the Lachlan River in the early 1930's. He writes: "This song was much sung in the woolsheds while the men were actually shearing".


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory