Australian Folk Songs

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On the Banks of the Riverine (1951)

If you think theme songs and signature tunes are as new as radio, you're wrong. At least a reader says so.
He sent in this verse which he says was the shearers' theme song way back in 1888.

Hark, the dogs are barking !
I can no longer stay.
The chaps have gone lamb-marking--
I hear the Squatters say.

And it's me for the muddy Yanko,
And the places in between.
To meet the Vic. side shearers
On the banks of Riverine--

And I'll cut my curly locks, love,
And go along with you.
I'll dress in moleskin trousers,
And be a shearer, too !

I'll help to keep your tally,
And at shearing you will shine.
And I'll wash your greasy moleskins
On the banks of Riverine.

No, dear you're waist's too slender,
And your fingers are too small
To shear those sandy cobblers,
So wolly and so tall.

And your meagre constitution
Is not equal unto mine,
To digest that ram stag mutton
That they eat in Riverine.


From the NSW newspaper the Riverine Grazier Tuesday 20 November 1951, p. 6.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory