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Shearing Song (1924)

(Writen for "Country Life," by I. T. Hassall.)

When the elarly grass is sprlngln',
Comes the west wind softly slngln',
Of the sheep in Riverlna that are waitin' to be shorn,
Singin', "Roll up to the shearln',
Leave your farm within the clearln'
Leave your wife and leave your children, and the place where you were born."

So we shouldered old Matilda,
Tramped away towards the Jilder,
Down along the Murrumbldgee till we found an empty shed
Then our hearts were light as feathers,
Till the big merino wethers,
That were yarded for the fleecin' made us wish that we were dead.

But the ewes were fat as butter,
And the flashin' comb and cutter,
Slid along with lightnln' swiftness as we went up the long blow,
All the plckers-up were sweatln'.
Only tar-boys idly frettln',
Hand and eye in together, and the pace was far from slow.

Every night when work was finished,
And the pile of food diminished--
We had struck it mighty lucky in the matter of a cook--
We would argue out the tally,
By the firelight in the galley,
Sing, and dance to concertinas till the the walls and rafters shook.

When from shed to shed we shifted,
Farther west, we always drifted,
Till we cut out all the stations from Narrandera to Hay ;
And the pace was sure a stinger,
As we followed up the ringer,
And our pocket-books grew weighty at near sixty bob a day.

But the season soon is over
And the spirit of the rover,
Fades before the burnin' instinct, as we board the eastern train,
And we'll think no more of sheerin',
And our farms within the clearln',
Till the west wind comes a-slngln' in the spring-time once again.


From the NSW Newspaper the Country Life Stock and Station Journal 29 Aug 1924 p. 8.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory