Australian Folk Songs

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When Dad Comes Out Of Gaol

Our sheep were dead a month ago
Not chance, but blooming fluke;
The cow was boozed last Christmas Day,
By my big brother Luke;
The fence is rotting in the ground,
A fence to make you rail;
I tell you things is pretty mixed
Since Dad was put in gaol.

The kids can't take their fees to school,
They've neither boot nor shoe,
The store keeps sending its account,
But that is bootless, too;
The neighbours shake our blessed fowls
To eat, and never quail,
They won't be all that's gone to pot
When Dad comes out of gaol.

The horses paid the lawyer bloke
That tried to bounce the beak;
There's only one that's left us now,
And he was staked last week;
And as the trap had taken Dad,
The buggy went for bail,
So Dad will have to start per boot
When he comes out of gaol.

Our Bess got shook upon a chap,
He's cleared--we don't know where  
He acts in plays about the sheds,
But he ain't acted square;
I've sold the harness on me own,
The place is up for sale,
There won't be much that isn't jumped
When Dad comes out of gaol.

They've let Dad out before his time
To give us a surprise,
He looked around on the lot of us,
And gently blessed our eyes.
He shook hands with the shearer cove
And said he found things stale,
Then left him here to shepherd us,
And battled back to gaol.


From the the NSW newspaper the Narromine News and Trangie Advocate Friday 4 August 1933 p. 6.

Ron Edwards writes that this version was published in "the Bulletin, 22 May 1897; reprinted The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads 1993. Containing some extra verses".
See also 'Wallaby Stew' in this collection.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory