Australian Folk Songs

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

The Musical Boundary Rider (1936)
(By E.R.I.)

Dan, the boundary tider, was musically inclined,
In his hut upon the station several instruments you d find.
With him music was a passion that he said was most intense,
And it always was his boast that he could play tunes on a fence.

He always kept his fences strained just like a banjo string,
And when he touched the wires they resounded with a "ping."
He could play all sorts of music, even to a Highland fling.
He'd make those wires moan and hum and drone like anything.

Sometimes, when he was working, he often felt that he
No longer could endure it without some melody.
Then out across the paddocks there would float a silver song,
And we'd know old Dan was playing, just across the billabong.

And often on our homeward way we'd pause beside a stream,
And we'd hear those wires hummingwith the notes of "Jessie's Dream,"
Or maybe "Annie Laurie" would float oui across the plain,
Or perhaps the "Volga Boatman," or some simple, sweet refrain.

If you happened on this station you were lucky, if by chance.
You struck the time when Dan was playing for the shearers' yearly dance.
He was sweet upon the cornet, and a dandy on the lyre,
But I think he reached his topmost when he played upon the wire.


From the Queensland Newspaper the Queensland Country Life Thursday 10 December 1936 p. 6.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory