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The Troubles of the Drover (1879)
... Oh ! all ye coal miners and smiths and factory men, with your
eight hours' work, eight hours' play, and 8s a day, and half-days
on Saturday, and Sunday that you are sure of, who can always leave
work at a stated hour, drink your glass of ale and go home to a
good supper and bed. Yet ye are not content, but must getup unions,
and call for more, and cause woe and desolation amongst families.
Little, little do ye know the toil and anxiety and hardshlps that
drovers have to endure.
Two men with 200 cattle, snatching a meal how they can, their work
never ends. The night divided into two watches, after being in the
saddle from 1 o'clock in the morning. At dark, he may not yet lie
down ; he must keep his watch until 1 o'clock again, when his
companion relieves him; and thus it goes on, wet or dry, hot or cold;
if it is wet, 'tis misery indeed, and the cattle generally more
troublesome. Often and often have they to swim their cattle over
dangerous rivers in good time, and in drought their troubles are
Ye dandified bank clerks, sucking lawyers, and citymen with all your
times of public holidays, who imagine you are killed if detained one
or two hours over time, and fancy bush life a bed of roses, little do
you know of the troubles of the drover...
... I am a poor hand at writing my views, Mr. Editor, and a clever man
would have expressed all he felt in fewer words. I hope you are one of
those who side with me, and will pardon my rushing into print or trying
to do so, for it is with you to decide whether this is published. Your
paper generally helps the right; I hope that it will recognise this as a
cause to uphold, and that you will assist in evary way an editor can.
Your obedient servant, DROVER.
Paterson, January 24, 1879.
From the NSW Newspaper the Australian Town and Country Journal Saturday 8 February 1879 p. 19.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory