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The Shearer's Song (1868)

Tramp, tramp along, 'neath the rain or sun,
We shearers rough and ready,
Are away to our stations, our work's begun,
And we mean to be willing and steady,
We take up our pens, not to write but to shear,
Scarce a word will pass from a lip,
We have need for our work, but have nothing to fear
And our motto is "Clip, clip, clip !"

Our day's work done, to the hut we go
And yarn out the tales of old,
The stories are sometimes rather slow
About early times of the gold.
We sing our songs and our pipes we smoke,
As each man greets his crony,
And we're never badly off for a joke
Whilst munching our "puffaloni."

Whether rightly spelt I don't mean to say
But the grub is good, I swear it !
So that we get some every day
We can manage to " grin and bear it."
Some of us talk of the gallant ship
That brought us over the ocean,
But the chiefest theme is the clip, clip, clip,
With arms and wrists in motion.

We have good faith in our overseer,
And we know he counts out truly,
A mistake in him we seldom fear,
And his work is done right duly.
When he comes to the shed to have a look round
He will find us all a-smiling,
And he'll see for a certainty, I'll be bound,
That we keep the " pot a biling."

So all day long do we clip and clip,
'Till our starting shed is done ;
And take our cheques by way of " tip"
And are off with the early sun,
And away we trudge with pipe and swag,
To the stations we all know well ;
(Some stupid fellows will sometimes lag,
With results I need not tell.)

Whether ours are " washed," or " in grease"
It don't matter to us a button,
We have only to take the precious fleece
From off the back of the mutton.
About " boiling down" we do not care,
Though " lambing down" I've heard of,
But if everything is fair and square
In grumbling there won't be a word of.

We get wrong sometimes, as we very well know,
And knock down our cheques like fools,
But each year doth show it will not be so,
For we're coming to better rules.
Then a cheer for the flocks, and their masters too,
And God speed the wool-laden ship,
And the seasons that bring us the work to do,
And the hands that will clip, clip, clip,



From the Victorian Newspaper the Avoca Mail Saturday 3 October 1868 p. 3.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory