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Wallaby Brigade

You often have been told of regiments brave and bold
But we are the bravest in the land
We're called the Tag-rag Band and we rally in Queensland
We are members of the Wallaby Brigade

Tramp, tramp, tramp across the borders
The swagmen are rolling up I see
When the shearing's at an end we'll go fishing in a bend
Then hurrah for the Wallaby Brigade

When you are leaving camp you must ask some brother tramp
If there are any jobs to be had
Or what sort of a shop that station is to stop
For a member of the Wallaby Brigade

You ask if they want men you ask for rations then
If they don't stump up a warning should be made
To teach them better sense why "Set fire to their fence"
Is the war cry of the Wallaby Brigade

The squatters thought us done when they fenced in all their run
But a prettier mistake they never made
You've only to sport your dover and knock a monkey over
There's cheap mutton for the Wallaby Brigade

Now when the shearing's in our harvest will begin
Our swags for a spell down will be laid
But when our cheques are drank we will join the Tag-rag rank
Limeburners in the Wallaby Brigade


First published in the Queenslander in 1894 The 'Wallaby Brigade' and the 'Tag-rag Band' are terms for the army of itinerant workers who tramped the bush of Australia between the gold rush years of the 1850's and the First World War. The song is in Paterson's Old Bush Songs


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory