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Wallaby Stew

Poor Dad he got five years or more as everybody knows
And now he lives in Maitland Jail with broad arrows on his clothes
He branded all of Brown's clean skins and never left a tail
So I'll relate the family's woes since Dad got put in jail

So stir the wallaby stew
Make soup of the kangaroo tail
I tell you things is pretty tough
Since Dad got put in jail

Our sheep were dead a month ago not rot but blooming fluke
Our cow was boozed last Christmas Day by my big brother Luke
And Mother has a shearer cove for ever within hail
The family will have grown a bit since Dad got put in jail

Our Bess got shook upon a bloke he's gone we don't know where
He used to act around the shed but he aint acted square
I've sold the buggy on my own the place is up for sale
That wont be all that isn't junked when Dad comes out of jail

They let Dad out before his time to give us a surprise
He came and slowly looked around and gently blessed our eyes
He shook hands with the shearer cove and said he thought things stale
So he left him here to shepherd us and battled back to jail


First published in the Bulletin in 1897. Written by Cecil Poole. See also 'When Dad Comes Out of Gaol' in this collection.

Printed in Stewart and Keesing Old Bush Songs From Dr Percy Jones' collection with this note "Sung sixty years ago by a Mr Hulbert. Mrs E. Joan Bowran, Tallangatta"

This tune from the singing of A.L.Lloyd who heard it while working on the Lachlan around 1930. Lloyd writes: "The tune is widely known among seamen to the words of "According to the Act".


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory