Australian Folk Songs

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The Cockatoo Digger (1898)

He ain't a reg'lar digger, the same as me and you,
He uses square-nose shovels, and he digs his holes askew,
Big at top, and small at bottom 'nough to give a man the cramp ;
And he brings a coil of fencing wire for fixing up the camp:
He's a hunkin', hulkin' wapstraw ;
He's a talkin' cockatoo,
Full o' rotten the'ries,
And he follers me and you.

He makes a crazy cradle, tries to copy me and you,
But his sides are all uneven, so o' course the gold goes through ;
He talks o' washin' mullock, and the mullock he calls loam ;
Brings his farmin' on the diggin's, 'stead o' leaving it at home.
He's a loutin', spoutin' yokel,
Talks o' reefs that break and spue
Thinks he's talkin' minin'
The same as me and you.

He never finds no diggin's--that's left to me and you ;
While he's harrowin' and scratchin', we got all that to do :--
When we've done the prospectin', and found what is to find,
He comes and puts 'is pegs in -- and he does 'is peggin' blind.
For he doesn't know the bizness ;
He's a cocky through and through,
Never learned the diggin'
The same as me and you.

He works his claim peculiar, and not like me and you
That sinks and drives straightfor'ard till we clean her up and through.
He mullocks up his surface, and he drives at chance and guess,
For he don't know wash from headin's and his cleanin'-up's a mess.
For he ain't a reg'lar digger,
He's a scratchin' cockatoo
With cheek enough to come
Advisin' me and you.

He don't keep decent working hours the same as me and you ;
He brings his farmin' day hours, which leaves night with very few ;
He loses in his tailin's, doesn't save what gold he could--
So were glad to see him going home to say the field's no good.
He's a gruntin', grumbling cocky,
And we're sorry, but it's true--
He calls himself a digger,
The same as me and you.

PROSPECT GOOD, in the 'Bulletin.'


From the Bathurst NSW newspaper the National Advocate Friday 4 November 1898 p. 2.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory