Australian Folk Songs
songs | books | records | articles | glossary | links | search | responses | home
(Jim the Ringer in the Pastoralists' Review.)
'Way out upon the Speewa,
When the trouble first began ;
We struck a scheme to elevate
The ill-used working-man.
We got them all to come and form
A new society ;
To propagate the principles
Of Edward Bellamy.
Our aims were very lofty, and
Our principles were grand :
We swore to hunt the squatters out
And confiscate their land.
We'd rave about " Oppressors,"
And the workers' brotherhood,
We'd pat each other on the back
Till we all felt too good.
I'm writing now the minutes
Of a famous meeting that
We held at Slimy Jimmy's pub.
One night at Whalers' flat,
When Sawney Kaye from Blackall
To our societ-ee
Read his celebrated essay
Upon Edward Bellamy.
He told how we the world should change
And new foundations lay,
And everybody in the land
Should toil eight hours a day.
And all the wealth and property
We'd seize and confiscate,
For neither should be owned by one,
But all belong to State.
And he'd roar out terms like " TYRANTS,"
As loud as he was able,
And every time he'd blurt them out
His fist would bang the table.
He called employers " Reptiles"
And " Oppressors," and the like,
And said that they should tremble
When the time was ripe to strike.
Then Slimy Jim who owned the pub,
Asked Kaye, " Could it be true
That working-men with property
Should lose their money too ?
For if it happened to be so
He'd tell them straight that he
Would see them all in Blazes first
With Edward Bellamy."
For he said that he had understood
When he first joined the crowd,
That working-men their bit of stuff
To keep should be allowed,
While the wealth of all the capit'lists
No matter who they be,
Should be divvied by the followers
Of Edward Bellamy.
Then Sam the Whaler took the floor
And asked if " Mister' Kaye
Really meant that working-men as well
Should toil eight hours a day ?
If such indeed should prove the case
The prospects were too dim
Of a future stats of happiness
For working men like him."
Then Blyme Bill got up and said
" That pained he was to see
How very selfish were some men
In this society ;"
And he remarked to Happy Jack
Who was listening adjacent,
That as poor Paddy says in plays,
Their sentiments weren't " ' dacent.' "
Then Irish Whalen glaring round
To a point of order rose,
And landed Blyme as he talked
A smack across the nose,
" For," he yelled, " his pa was Irish
And he was Irish still,
And he would take no insults
From men like Blyme Bill."
Then Charlie Wright from Number Ten
Got up to make them friends,
When a blurher caught him near the place
Where in dolls the sawdust ends ;
So he rolled beneath the table
And gently disappeared,
And dreamt of home and mother
Until the room was cleared.
And yells and shouts were flying round,
And blows were flying thicker,
When the chairman promptly stopped the row
By saying:--" Boys, let's liquor !"
So he then adjourned the meeting
And told them all to come
And drown our new society
In good colonial rum.
And that is all I have to tell
Of that famous meeting, when
We tried, out on the Speewa,
To reorganise the the men.
Our members now are all dispersed,
They're on the wallaby,
I'm only left to tell you how
We boomed up Bellamy.
From the NSW newspaper the Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser Saturday 22 October 1892, p. 8 S.
Is this the earliest song that mentions the Speewa? -- Australia's mythical centre for tall tales and rhymes.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory