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conducted by "Bill Bowyang"

The Drover

I have crossed the Diamantina
When the river was In flood,
And my stock-horse bore me gamely
Through the river and the mud.

I have crossed the Queensland border
With a thousand head at steers,
And I've travelled over country
Where it hadn't rained for years.

I have seen the plain a desert
And the starving cattle die,
Where the Mitchell Grass was waving
Three months later, three feet high.

Yes, I've done a lot of droving
On the Innaminka track,
And I like to hear the music
Of the stock-whips as they crack.

Other men may love the cities,
But a bushman's life for me.
And I'm happy with a damper
And a billycan of tea.

I am making down the peg line
With a mob for Broken Hill.
For a thousand head of cattle
Are in charge of Mulga Bill.



From the Queensland newspaper the Townsville Daily Bulletin Saturday 6 April 1929 p. 14.

The Peg Line
The government led the way, linking 3 chain of such wells in
the mid 1860s from Burra through the original Paratoo and later
Mutooroo runs. This provided a stock route for teamsters and
drovers from the country on the Darling to Adelaide purveyors
and markets until such time as the Adelaide Broken Hill railway
line was completed in 1887. Each well in the chain of wells, known
as the Peg Line, was equipped with a steam pump or horse works,
pumping water into great square tanks made of stone with lime
mortar, walls feet thick, capacity something like 25,000 gallons.
Four-inch cast iron outlets ran water into giant troughs one hundred
yards long.
(The Premier and the Pastoralist: William Morgan and Peter Waite. Kent Town, S. Aust: Wakefield Press, 2011, pp. 53-54.)


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory