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A Carpenters Lament (1890)

My mate and myself are two,
Including the dogs we are four,
We live in a place called Cabbage Tree Hut,
A frame and a sack for a door.
We work in the wood line ourselves,
The dogs do the best that they can,
Usually nothing, or sleeping about--
What a vantage they have over man.

Our hours are from daylight to dark,
To do all that can be done ;
Short time for cooking or anything else,
' Smoko ' or spells we have none :
From morning to night it is saw,
And hammer, and gauge, and plane,
Cut tenons, and mortice, and all sorts of things--
Is not carpent'ring a weary game?

What a lonesome place our ' Bush ' is,
We can't go to the ' Royal ' or ' Vic.,'
Three miles from a ' pub ' what a glorious rub !
Worse luck if we fellows got sick.
'Twouldn't be so bad, I'm quite sure,
If a bottle or two we had here,
But we haven't, and there is the mischief
Not even a drop of good beer.

Our bed is just six feet by six,
Our table just four feet by three,
Two pannikins; plates, two knives and two forks,
A frying pan, and two billies for tea,
A package of candles: one bar of soap,
Two tins for the salt and the pepper,
A bass full of tools, twp pencils and rules,
Completes our stock to the letter.

Our shanty is not too well built,
And the wind blows so keenly at night,
The fire is all out I'm afraid,
And the candle will scarce keep alight,
The deuce take the bush work, I say
Now ain't it a jolly fine treat--
The billy capsized, no baker, today,
And the dog has run off with the meat.


From the NSW newspaper the Illustrated Sydney News Thursday 1 May 1890, p. 16.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory