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The Western Overland (1896)
By Clancy's Mate.

Oh we'll down the rails to-morrow,
And we'll let the cattle free,
For this life upon the station
It is wearisome to me ;
For I long to be in saddle With the stockwhip in my hand,
Tailing up the stringing cattle
On the Western Overland.

It's a month since mustering ended,
Since we brought the cattle back
By the Cooper's shadowy river,
By the Cooper's grassy track ;
To the paddocks at the station Where the fattening grasses grow,
Where they'll spell until to-morrow--
Then a driving we will go.

And we've mustered for the Western,
Where the drovers long to go,
For they love the bush-lands shady
And the bright and golden glow ;
Of the clear bright skies above them
And the distant hills of blue--
And the rivers, yes, I love them
As all cattle drovers do.

And the drovers--there's a dozen,
All noted men and tried,--
There's Harvey from the Lachlan
Who is famous far and wide,
And Dalton (he's a native)
Of the sunbaked Castlereagh,
And Hogan's been a shearer
And a ringer in his day.

There's the boss, he'll drive the waggon
And will lend the cook a hand,
As he's done in other seasons
When upon the Overland,
And he's known by all the drovers
For they call him " Speewa Joe"
And he's been a mate of Clancy--
Clancy of the Overflow.

He and Clancy drove together
Down the Cooper years ago,
And his mind is full of Clancy,
Though he's growing old and slow,
And his beard has long been whitened,
And his back is crooked and bent,
For the old man many seasons
On the Overland has spent.

And he loves to go a-droving,
For the stock-whip's fiery crack
And the hoof-beats sound like thunder
On the dry and dusty track,
And the long white horns are gleaming
Out against the dull grey sand,
And the old man's in his glory
Droving on the Overland.

* * * *

There's a time when droving's weary,
When the glare of " brassy " skies
Shimmers on the plains extended,
And the dust begins to rise,
And when water's scarce and failing,
And the grass is short and bare,
Then the Overland's a terror
To the lads a-droving there.

There's a time when droving's easy--
When we cross the border line,
To the pleasant hills and gullies
Of the glorious western clime,
And the shanties by the roadside,
With their " pisen " close at hand,
Beckon to the men that travel
On the Western Overland.

* * *

Winding down the sloping gully,
Creeping up the hillside steep,
Crossing o'er the swamps and marshes,
Fording through the shallow creek,
Grazing in the bends of rivers,
Camping where the timber stands,
Till our driving days are ended
On the Western Overland.



From the Melbourne newspaper the Free Lance Thursday 30 July 1896, p. 11.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory