Australian Folk Songs
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 Tomahawking Fred

Now some shearing I have done, and some prizes I have won
Through my knuckling down so close on the skin
But I'd rather tomahawk every day and shear a flock
For that's the only way I make some tin

I am just about to cut for the Darling
To turn a hundred out I know the plan
Give me sufficient cash, and you'll see me make a splash
For I'm Tomahawking Fred, the lady's man

Put me on a shearing floor, and it's there I'm game to bet
That I'd give to any ringer ten sheep start
When on the whipping side far away from them I slide
Just like a bullet or a dart.

Of me you might have read for I'm Tomahawking Fred
My shearing laurels are known both near and far
I'm the don of Riverine, midst the shearers cut a shine
And our tar-boys say I never call for tar

Wire in and go ahead, for I'm Tomahawking Fred
In a shearing shed, my lads, I cut a shine
There is Roberts and Jack Gunn, shearing laurels
But my tally's never under ninety-nine


In his Big Book of Australian Folk Song Ron Edwards writes "Tomahawking Fred has also been printed under the titles Fashionable Fred and Some Shearing I Have Done. It was originally printed in one of the books written by Jack Bradshaw ('the last of the bushrangers'), and later appeared in the fifth edition of Paterson's Old Bush Songs. Only one tune appears to have been collected to this. It was noted by Norm O'Connor and Mary Jean Officer in 1961 (see Tradition, vol. 12, no. 1), but this had an incomplete text, so I have used the original one here. Edgar Waters has noted that the ballad is based on a popular music-hall song of the last century, Fashionable Fred".


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory