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The Wild Colonial Boy

It's of a wild colonial boy Jack Doolan was his name
Of poor but honest parents he was born in Castlemaine
He was his father's only hope his mother's pride and joy
And so dearly did the parents love their wild colonial boy

Then come along my hearties and we'll roam the mountains high
Together we will plunder together we will die
We'll wander o'er the valleys and we'll gallop over plains
And we'll scorn to live in slavery bound down in iron chains

Twas in eighteen hundred and sixty five he started his wild career
With a heart that had no danger no foeman did he fear
He stuck up the Royal Mail beach coach and robbed Judge MacEvoy
With a tremble hand gave up the gold to the wild colonial boy

As John rode out one morning and riding slowly on
When listening to the little birds they sweetly sang their song
He spied three mounted troopers Kelly Davis and Fitzroy
All riding up to capture the wild colonial boy

Surrender now Jack Doolan You see there's three to one
Surrender in the Queen's name It's of a victory won
He fired at trooper Kelly and he brought him to the ground
And returning right to Davis he received a mortal wound


From the singing of Sally Sloane, collected by John Meredith. 'The Adventures of Jack Donohoe' c. 1847 is in Cambridge University Library, reprinted in Hugh Anderson's Farewell to Old England.
Donovan, Dowling, Dowlan, Dolan, Doolan, Davis, Dollard, Dubbin, Duggan as well as Donahoe with first name Jack or John have all appeared in what are called the Donohoe ballads.
The 18 year old Irish transport John Donohoe arrived at Sydney Cove in 1825. 3 years later he convicted of highway robbery and sentenced to death. He escaped and waged a guerrilla war against the wealthy for more than 2 years in the country around Sydney. On September 1st 1830 he was ambushed by a police party near Cambelltown and shot dead, his companions Webber and Warmsley escaping into the bush. In his Old Bush Songs , Banjo Patterson wrote "it will be noticed that the same chorus is sung to both 'The Wild Colonial Boy' and 'Bold Jack Donahoo'. Several versions of both songs were sent in, but the same chorus was always made to do duty for both songs."

Searchable archives of Irish transports are now available on at The National Archives of Ireland


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory