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Billy Barlow in Cobar

(With Apologies to Tibbs, the Shearers' Poet.)

I have wandered these fields in a vain search for work
From Cobar to Nymagee, Nyngan and Bourke.
Louth and Wilcannia, Menindee as well,
And the sheds having, cut out, I'm having a spell,
O Dear, Lackaday, O,
It's a waterless warren, says Billy Barlow

The shearing is settled--as well as the sheep ;
The squatters have lost them--like Little Bo Peep.
And the hair they call wool, and the quantity too
Is as scarce as the funds of the A.W.U.
O Dear, Lackaday, O,
Good luck to Macdonell, says Billy Barlow

How I mused while away on the 'Leather Lunged League';
Would I get a J.P. ship by any intreague?
Was my claim entertained by Premier See ?
Ah ! no, he's forsaken both Dogger and me.
O Dear, Lackaday, O,
It's a bonus for smooging, says Billy Barlow

My cobber who carries his billy and pup
Has been selling his sweep on the last Melbourne Cup,
But he's now sweeping cells--what a more retrograde --
All through chewing the lug of ' The Devil's Brigade '
O Dear, Lackaday, O,
No justice for grafters, says Billy Barlow

Though recently joining an Ambulance Class,
My tutor, 'Ned Blood,' says I'm certain to pass,
For when spending his ' deener ' I am never afraid
To bob up serenely and render 'first aid.'
O Dear, Lackaday, O,
It's the trade mark for Cobar says. Billy Barlow

A seat in the Council I now see in view,
As Duffy, Francisco, and Monahan do ;
And the Laborers' Platform which our foes cannot bear
We will ram down their throttles when Robertson's Mayor.
O Dear, Lackaday, O,
We'll make Cobar a seaport, says Billy Barlow

Kind wishes Collou, Fernandez likewise,
Your razors and curry bring tears to my eyes.
Tra ! lal le to you Gus Goodenaaben vegates,
We shall soon meet again if allowed by the fates.
O Dear, Lackaday, O,
I remain, yours for Labour, Sweet William Barlow.


From the NSW newspaper the The Cobar Herald of Saturday 15 November 1902 p. 4.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory