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My Flinders River Girl (1939)

Once I loved a shearer's daughter on a station to the West.
She was just a common waitress but a cut above the rest,
She was young and she was pretty, and her rosy lips were full.
This was on the Flinders River where the Jumbucka grow the wool.
Oh, I took the old rum bottle and broke it on a gum,
For the Flinders river maidens never like the smell of rum,
Then l heard I had a rival and I asked her was it true,
And she hung her head and answered, "Yes, his nibs, the Jackeroo."

Well, of course I'd often seen him hanging round her through the day,
When he should have been attending to his duties miles away,
Such a cheeky little beggar but as any fool could see
He'd be just a dainty morsel in a knuckle up with me.
So I said to him next morning, 'You audacious little cow,
Let the girl come out and watch us and I'll fight you for her now,
I was certain that would bluff him for I'd always held the view
That the softest snap of any was the new chum Jackeroo.

Well, it didn't, for be answered he blinked his beady eyes,
"If she's willing Ifs a bargain, and the winner takes the prize,"
So we put the case before her, and she clapped her hands in glee,
"You can fight It out between you, boys, and I'll be referee."
But we lost no time in talking and straightaway agreed to go
To a spot the girl suggested on the river flat below,
I disliked the situation for in any case I knew
That we'd have to bring the doctor to attend the Jackeroo.

Then we cleared a space around us on the battle ground to be,
While we took our brief instructions from our handsome referee,
She said, "Now make it willing, but you must pay due regard
To the stralghtout rules of boxing and the rabbit punch is barred."
Well, I thought I had a melon when he faced me by the creek,
Be was barely eight stone seven and his arms looked thin and weak.
He looked so small and weedy, and he seemed so frightened too
That I thought "It's Just a smack or so, then, Good-bye Jackaroo."

But he lost no time in showing how a jackeroo could fight,
He was handy with the left sad he was handy with the right,
He'd dance away so lightly every time I tried to close,
And he nearly always caught me such a stinger on the nose;
He gave me such a lesson in the art of self-defence
That I wondered If the girl was worth the bother and expense.
Oh, my face was cut and bleeding and my eyes were black and blue,
For there's no doubt he was clever was that cheeky Jackeroo.

But he dropped his eyes a moment to avoid a patch of mud,
And I grabbed him up and slung him in the Flinders River flood,
Well, we rescued and revived him, and he said, "You've won the bride,
You can take her now and keep her, and I hope' you're satisfied,"
So I put my arm around her but she pulled back with a scowl.
"Don't you be in a hurry, he's the winner on a foul,"
'Twas In vain I coaxed and pleaded for she stoutly held the view
That I'd lost the fight completely when I fouled the Jackeroo.

When I said I thought that everythlng was fair in love and war
She declared she'd never witnessed such a dirty trick before;
Were they married? Yes, of course, and lived as happy as oould be,
And I heard he got promoted but I didn't wait to see.
Well, at least I hope they're happy, but I wonder after all,
When they link their arms together and the past events recall,
Do they ever ask each other was the verdict just end true
When I fought that losing battle with the new chum Jackeroo.

Hughanden BERT DUNNE.


From the Queensland Newspaper the Townsville Daily Bulletin 12 Jun 1939, p. 5.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory