Australian Folk Songs

songs | books | records | articles | glossary | links | search | responses | home

The Lay of the Colonial Experience Man (1887)

Leave me here, 'tis almost midday,
And the cattle will not roam.
Leave me here, and, when you want me,
Crack the stockwhip and I'll come.
Leave, oh, leave me here a little,
Till I let my feelings gush
Far away to pleasant Sydney,
Pent up in the beastly bush.

Wherefore on to learn experience
Called colonial was I born?
I, whose taste was beer and billiards,
Boating, oysters and Cremorne?
Swellington, by me take warning;
Keep, oh, keep thy office stool;
He who knows not on which side
His bread is buttered is a fool.

Swellington, methinks I see thee,
In a very filthy shirt,
Carrying home a lot of lambkins
Covered o'er with mud and dirt.
Here you'll have to rise at daybreak
And set off upon your course,
Over hill and through each valley,
Looking for each working horse.

All day long you're driving bullocks,
Tailing horses, minding lambs,
Boiling kettles, baking dampers,
Finding sheep or driving rams.
Who will take me back to Sydney?
Garb me in a decent suit?
For I know that just at present
I am looking like a brute.

George-street! shall I once more see thee?
Stroll once more thro' the Domain,
Feel my Annie's well-gloved fingers
Pressing on my arm again?
Hark, that horrid stockwhip calls me,
I must shut my feelings up,
Go and yard those horrid cattle
Ere I can go home to sup.


From the Queensland newspaper the Queensland Figaro and Punch Saturday 31 December 1887 p. 9 S.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory