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Just Start The Billy Boiling, Lads (1899)

Come, all you dusty Border men that work the Apsley road.
Just start the billy boiling, lads, and dump your little load;
The overseer is waiting, and he's ticking off the cheques
To feed a squad of tramping men and dusty Border wrecks.
So gather round the shanty door, pluck up, and never mind
The dusty leagues of redness you have tramped and left behind.

The station hands are dropping in, and leaving one by one
The dim and distant ranges sleeping westward in the sun ;
Across the dewy uplands where the truant breezes play
There comes the muffled stamping of a packhorse down the way.
So leave the wooden shanty, lads, and strike the camping ground,
And keep the billy boiling while you pass the damper round.

The stars begin to muster where the morning thunders roll'd ;
Above the pink horizon fleecy skies are fringed with gold ;
Across the phantom paddocks and along the winding track
The silent station trapper tramps behind his yelping pack.
Just start the banjo going boys, and rouse him with a song.
For cook is nearly ready, and the billy won't be long.

The station lights are flashing now among the wattle trees,
And o'er the rolling uplands comes the sleepy roving breeze ;
The drovers' camp is quiet, too; it's time for turning in,
For day has closed with darkness where the night will surely win.
So roll up in the bluey, boys, and light the stumpy clay,
And spin the good old station yarns about the Border way.


From the South Australian Newspaper the Evening Journal 9 Sep 1899 p. 5.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory