Australian Folk Songs

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

Water in the Bore (1892)


Take any squatters' paper up
From Brisbane to Barcoo,
Artesian water and the bore
Pervade it through and through.
At balls and parties it's rehearsed
In parlour, pub, and store,
Oh, so and so's a lucky dog,
There's water in his bore.

A jackeroo or squatter meet
In bush, or pub, or town,
Who hasn't struck artesian yet--
He'll pass you with a frown.
By his demeanour you will see
His heart within is sore,
You sympathise, poor wretch, with him,
He's got an empty bore.

The squatter frowns when up you ride
And pass your ration bags,
He looks as though he'd like to tear
The blooming things to rags.
But if you ask him for a job
He'll fume and rave and roar,
He's doing nothing now at all
But putting down a bore.

Or meet a " lizard " coming in
To get his week's supply,
He wears a proud and mighty air
And shows it in his eye.
You mention that the day is hot
He'll move his head, no more ;
You'd think he owned the blooming lot--
The station and the bore.

But when at length the water's struck
A wondrous change there'll be,
They grow as sweet as sugarloaf,
And open, kind, and free.
The rations--sugar, flour and tea
Into your bag they'll pour,
They're only so because you know
The water's in the bore.

They'll tell you all the latest news,
They'll call you Dick or John,
They'll tell you it was foolish--oh !
That strike of ninety-.
You'd fancy by their pleasant pitch
They're union to the core,
They're only so because you know
There's water in the bore.

I do not wish the squatters' ill,
Indeed I wish them joy,
But often trouble at the thought
If e'er the bore goes dry.
You know I'm but surmising this,
I wish them luck galore ;
May each and every one of them
Strike water in their bore.

OWEN MAGUIRE, Hughenden.


From the Wagga NSW newspaper the Worker Saturday 24 September 1892, p. 4.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory