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Shearing at Castlereagh

A Poem by Banjo PatersonŠPaterson 1895

The bell is set a ringing, and the engine gives a toot,
There's five and thirty shearers here are shearing for the loot,
So stir yourself, you penners up, and shove the sheep along,
The musterers are fetching them a hundred thousand strong,

And make your collie dog speak up-what would the buyers say
In London if the wool was late this year from Castlereagh ?
The man that " rung " the Tulbo shed is not the ringer here,
The stripling from the Cooma side can teach him how to shear.

They trim away the ragged locks, and up the cutter goes.
And leaves a track of snowy fleece from brisket to the nose;
It's lively how they peel it off with never stop nor stay
They're racing for the ringers place this year at Castlereagh.

The man that keeps the cutter sharp is growling in his cage,
He's always in a hurry, and he's always in a rage.
" You clumsy fisted mutton-heads, you turn a fellow sick :
You pass yourself as shearers, you were born to swing a pick.

Another broken cutter here, that's two you've broke to-day ;
It's awful how such crawlers come to shear at Castlereagh."
The youngsters picking up the fleece enjoy the merry din ;
They throw the classer up the fleece, he throws it to the bin ;

The pressers standing by the rack are waiting for the wool.
There's room just for a couple morn, the press is nearly full;
Now jump upon the lever, lads, and heave, and heave away;
Another bale of golden fleece is branded Castlereagh.


From Queanbeyan Age Saturday 9 November 1895.

Shearing at Castlereagh.
The following seasonable little gem is selected from a book of poems, "Gumleaf Lyrics," by A. B. Patterson, (" Banjo,") only recently issued.

Two verses of this ballad were recorded from Duke Tritton by folk song collector John Meredith (see Folk Songs of Australia p. 275.)


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory