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A Wandering Digger's Lament (1860)

When news came down from Snowy Creek,
That diggings had been found,
We started off that very week
With more than forty pound.

With hope so bright, to make our pile,
And find the golden ore,
We travelled full two hundred mile,
Two hundred mile and more.

The Snowy Mountains we did cross,
All hardships bravely bore,
Nor looked for failure, or a loss,
Its treasures to explore.

When we'd been there a week or two,
Our hopes soon died away,
For, indeed we found that very few
Could make the diggings pay.

First comers river claims had took,
Ground that was good at all,
The chances for a pile to look,
Indeed were very small.

To all new rushes off we'd go,
Where gold was ever found,
And so fled by a month or so,
But never hit good ground.

Yet still kept prospecting around,
Nor were down on our luck
For we knew that nuggets oft were found,
And big ones sometimes struck.

So thus two months passed o'er us fast,
No luck we ever had,
Till winter on us came at last,
It was indeed too bad.

Whereas, if in one spot we'd staid,
A paddock opened wide,
We might, indeed, have wages made,
A nugget, too, beside.
But driven out at last we were,
By snow and bitter cold,
Gone were the hopes that brought us there,
We never found the gold.

Soon had to tramp our weary way.
Back whence we first did come,
And cursed the day we came away-
Our cash it now was done.

So, reader, well remember this,
When you would fortune try,  
Prospecting oft a failure is,
Wherein luck doth seldom lie.

Take my advice, to work then set
When you've a prospect fair,
Nor waste your time in hopes to get
A better chance elsewhere.

-Border Post.


From the the Victorian newspaper the Ovens and Murray Advertiser Saturday 23 June 1860 p. 4.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory