Australian Folk Songs

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

The Squatter's Lament (1859)
(A long way after the ship on fire)
Air Optional.
New words to an old song.
Tune, Old Dog, Tray.

Twas in the early spring,
When the grass was just the thing,
And the lambs they were coming by the hundred every day,
When shelpherds thin and pale,
Came with many a dismal tale,
Of Jimbucks which the dogs took away.
Now 'twas not what the dingoes had eaten,
Nor yet what the beasts took away,
But they bit and snapped around
Till every inch of ground
Was covered with the sheep they'd slay.

Chorus :--
So don't think the life of a squatter
Is quite so easy as they say ;
Nor the profits half so great,
But hear what I relate
Of what happened to my old dog Tray.


As the stories were quite true,
You know it woulld not do
To lose all your sheep in this queer sort of way ;
So I took my little box,
Which, well secured with locks
Had same strychnine in it well stored away,
But alas my old sheep dog was watching--
A good dog, thought he'd had his day ;
He saw me take the meat,
And looked out for a treat
What a swiindle for my old dog Tray.

Chorus :
So don't think, &c.,


Now, to make it quite the thing,
I got it bit of string,
And hung up the meat in a tempting sort of way,
That wild dogs coming by,
Might be induced to try,
What would soon put a stop to their play.
But alas Tray sniffed all may traps out ,
And eat all that came in his way ,
But it soon begun to work,
For he commenced to jerk,
But I fancied it was only his play.

Chorus :
So don't think, &c.,


His hind legs stiffened out.
And he flung himself about,
A turning up his eyes as though for to say
That there meat front off the hammock
Is a cramping of my stomach ;
'Tis a settler for your old dog Tray.
I hurricd him off to to the water,
But he stiffened most onkimmon on the way
, And ere I reached the swamp,
He'd another fit of cramp
Which a STIFF UN my old dog Tray.

So don't think, &c.,


Now all you squatter folk,
When erea dog you smoke
A coming round your yards by night or by day,
Take warning by his fate,
And make secure your bait,
Or you're safe to lose your old dog Tray.
But this aint the whole of the mischief ;
While I with my dog was away,
The dingoes rushed my flocks,
Which with another boxed,
And were scabbed through my old dog Tray.

Chorus : So don't think the life of a squatter
Is quite so easy as they say,
For shortly I was fined,
'Though that I did not mind,
But the dipping burnt the wool all away.

Corrosive Supplement,
Mount Gambler, July Ist, 1859.


From the Victorian Newspaper the Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser Wednesday 6 July 1859 p. 3.

See also


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory