Australian Folk Songs

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The Man Hunt


Hurrah ! hurrah ! He's started,
Now mount, men, and away ;
With pistols cock'd and loaded,
We'll pounce upon our prey.
We'll seek within the tunnel,
And we'll search behind the mound ;
For no unlicensed footstep
May tread the sacred ground.

See ! see ! the wretch is stealing
Round yon secluded nook,
And now he flies before us
With terror in his look :
Like a frighted deer he's bounding,
And panting hard for breath,
But 'ere he shall escape us
We'll hunt him to the death.

Put spurs into your horses,
Ride hard ! ride hard ! there's need
For fear has lent his footsteps
A superhuman speed.
But what avails his efforts,
Although his pace be fleet;
Can any starving digger
With chargers fresh compete ?

Hurrah! hurrah! he's growing
More weak at every bound,
Hurrah! he's fallen heavily,
Exhausted to the ground;
In agony the sweat-drops.
Are falling from his brow ;
We can gloat upon his torments,
For we have him safely now.

Bring forth, bring forth the handcuffs,
Tho' his trembling lip be pale ;
And we'll march him like a felon,
In triumph to the gaol.
He may pine within the prison
For the term the law hath said,
And his wife and little children
May starve or beg their bread.

Oh ! the tale will reach Old England,
And will she glory then,
When she hears how British soldiers
Go hunting British men ?
Oh never ! she will rather
Place shame's eternal brand
On every man who lent his voice
To curse this golden land.


I discovered this Gold Diggers song in the National Library of Australia TROVE project of online digitalised Australian Newspapers. It was published in 1853 in the NSW newspaper the Goulburn Herald Saturday 12 March 1853 p. 2 and reprinted in the Melbourne newspaper The Argus Friday 1 April 1853 p. 9.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory