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Nine Miles from Gundagai

I'm used to punching bullock teams across the hills and plains
I've teamed outback these forty years in blazing droughts and rains
I've lived a heap of troubles down without a blooming lie
But I cant forget what happened to me nine miles from Gundagai

Twas getting dark the team got bogged the axel snapped in two
I lost my matches and my pipe ah what was I to do
The rain came on twas bitter cold and hungry too was I
And the dog sat in the tucker box nine miles from Gundagai

Some blokes I know have stacks of luck no matter how they fall
But there was I lord luvva duck no blessed luck at all
I couldn't make a pot of tea nor get my trousers dry
And the dog sat in the tucker box nine miles from Gundagai

I can forgive the blinking team I can forgive the rain
I can forgive the dark and cold and go through it again
I can forgive my rotten luck but hang me till I die
I cant forgive that blooming dog nine miles from Gundagai

But that's all dead and past and gone I've sold the team for meat
And where I got the bullocks bogged now there is an asphalt street
The dog ah well he took a bait and reckoned he would die
I buried him in that tucker box nine miles from Gundagai


In Australian Tradition Jan 1967 John Meredith wrote a piece entitled 'Along the Road to Gundagai - but how many miles?'. In it he explores the origins of this song and its relatives. He is of the opinion that it derives from 'Bullocky Bill' which was printed in the Gundagai Times in 1857. Meredith writes "Over thirty of our old bush songs and ballads are about Gundagai - the struggles of her people and the troubles and fun that the bullockies and the shearers had there in the second half of the last century". He dates 'Nine Miles from Gundagai' from the 1880's. As Meredith points out the song could hardly have lived so long if the dog had merely sat in the tucker box. Whatever the case it's the dog that has a memorial outside Gundagai. Gundagai journalist and poet Jack Moses published a collection of his poems in 1938. Both the collection and first poem are called 'Nine Miles from Gundagai' but only last verse matches any of the song.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory