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Old Bullock Dray

Now the shearing is all over, and the wool is coming down
I mean to get a wife, my boys, when I go down to town
For everything has got a mate that brings itself to view
From the little paddy-melon to the big kangaroo

So roll up your blankets and let us make a push
I'll take you up the country and show you the bush
I'll be bound such a chance you won't get another day
So roll up and take possession of the old bullock dray

I'll teach you the whip and the bullocks how to flog
You'll be my off-sider when we're fast in the bog
Hitting out both left and right and every other way
Making skin and blood and hair fly round the old bullock dray

Good beef and damper, of that you'll get enough
When boiling in the bucket such a walloper of duff
Our mates, they'll all dance and sing upon our wedding day
To the music of the bells around the old bullock dray

There'll be lots of piccaninnies, you must remember that
There'll be Buckjumping Maggie and Leather-belly Pat
There'll be Stringybark Peggy and Green-eyed Mike
Yes, my colonial, as many as you like

Now that we are married and have children five times three
No one lives so happy as my little wife and me She goes out a-hunting to while away the day
While I take down the wool upon the old bullock dray


First published in the Queensland Figaro and Punch 9 November 1887. This version comes from the Queenslander in 1894.

Printed in Paterson's Old Bush Songs
Paterson notes

A paddymelon is a small but speedy marsupial, a sort of poor relation of the great kangaroo family. An offsider is a bullock driver's assistant, one who walks on the offside of the team and flogs the bullocks when the occasion arises. The word afterwards came to mean an assistant of any kind.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory