Australian Folk Songs

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The Overlander

There's a trade you all know well--
It's bringing cattle over--
I'll tell you all about the time
When I became a drover.
I made up my mind to try the spec,
To the Clarence I did wander,
And bought a mob of duffers there
To begin as an overlander.

Pass the wine cup round, my boys;
Don't let the bottle stand there,
for to-night we'll drink the health
Of every overlander.

Next morning counted the cattle,
Saw the outfit ready to start,
Saw all the lads well mounted,
And their swags put in a cart.
All kinds of men I had
From France, Germany, and Flanders;
Lawyers, doctors, good and bad,
In the mob of overlanders.

Next morning I set out
When the grass was green and young,
And they swore they'd break my snout
If I did not move along.
I said, " You're very hard;
Take care, don't raise my dander,
For I'm a regular knowing card,
The Queensland overlander."

'Tis true we pay no license,
And our run is rather large;
Tis not often they can catch us,
So they cannot make a charge
They think we live on store beef,
But no, I'm not a gander;
When a good fat stranger joins the mob,
" He'll do," says the overlander.

One day a squatter rode up,
Says he, " You're on my run;
I've got two boys as witnesses,
Consider your stock in pound."
I tried to coax, then bounce him,
But my tin I had to squander,
For he put threepence a head
On the mob of the overlander.

The pretty girls in Brisbane
Were banging out their duds,
I wished to have a chat with them,
So steered straight for the tubs,
Some dirty urchins saw me,
And soon they raised my dander,
Crying, " Mother, quick ! take in the clothes,
Here comes an overlander !"

In town we drain the wine cup,
And go to see the play,
And never think to be hard up
For how to pass the day.
Each has a sweetheart there,
Dressed out in all her grandeur--
Dark eyes and jet black flowing hair,
"She's a plum," says the overlander.


From The Queenslander Saturday 28 July 1894.

Flotsam and Jetsam.
Songs of the Bush.

[We purpose giving, under this heading, as many of the well-known Australian bush songs as can be gathered together. There are many such songs that have never appeared in print, but have been handed on from man to man as news was circulated before the days of newspapers, and in many cases the names of the authors are unknown or doubtful. We shall be glad to receive copies of any favourite bush songs which our readers can supply, with (if known) names of authors and the tunes to which they are usually sung. When two or more versions of one song are received the one which is apparently most correct will be used. The names, or noms de plume, of senders will be published with the verses.]


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory