Australian Folk Songs
songs | books | records | articles | glossary | links | search | responses | home
Jimmy Shearer (1899)
A Song--Written for the "Worker."
I'll sing of what occurred out West
In eighteen seventy-nine, Sirs,
When Jimmy Shearer was one day
A little touched by wine, Sirs,
That is, it wasn't quite champagne
Which made poor Jimmy queer, Sirs,
He wasn't over flush those days,
'Twould only run to beer, Sirs.
The heat upon that Christmas day
Brought out the perspiration ;
And so he thought he'd seek the shade
Down near the railway station.
That is, he would have gone down there,
For Jimmy was no young 'un,
But the railway hadn't come that far,
It stopped at Bogantungan.
So, as there was no railway then,
But only bullock teams, Sirs,
He camped beneath a shady tree
And went off into dreams, Sirs,
About how eight bob was the pay
For every score of sheep, Sirs,
That is, he would have dreamt all this,
But he couldn't go to sleep, Sirs.
So when he found he could not sleep,
Some bad words he did utter,
And cut a fill of baccy up
With a Wolseley's patent cutter.
That is, he would have used this means,
But solely was prevented,
'Cos shearing by machinery,
It hadn't been invented.
Well, Jimmy, as he lay and smoked,
Held with himself communion,
And all at once he gave a start,
And cried, "I'll join the Union."
He looked for Kewley all around,
But could not find that grafter,
You see, there was no Union then,
It wasn't born till after.
Just then appeared upon the road
A rider on a cob, Sirs,
Who came right up to Jimmy, there,
And said "D'ye want a job ?" Sirs.
Four-ten a week he offered him--
That is, not quite, you bet, Sirs,
In those days squatters didn't pay
Such rates, nor do they yet, Sirs.
The squatter passed away and then
Appeared unseemly rabbles.
Whom Jimmy recognised as scabs,
All eating poisoned apples.
"Get from my sight," he called aloud.
Your presence is a crime, Sirs,
We are not in the eighties yet,
You're ghosts before your time, Sirs."
So Jimmy camped there all the night
Till he regained his senses,
And as his purse was empty, he
Saved all hotel expenses.
He dreamed he'd won the Melbourne Cup,
Owned Merriwee and Dewey,
And when he woke he took the track
And went off humping bluey.
Now let me wish a merry time
To each and every hearer,
And may they meet with better luck
Than that of Jimmy Shearer.
Our Andy shall be Premier soon,
So prophesies my song, Sirs,
And if he don't, why then he won't !
And so I shan't be wrong, Sirs.
Flinders River. S.L.
NotesFrom the Brisbane Newspaper the Worker 16 December 1899 p. 26.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory