Australian Folk Songs

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The Drover's Song (1940)

Grease the saddles and the bridles,
Shoe all the fat stock nags
Fix the fasteners and the hobbles,
Sew up the old pack bags
Open up the gate, off we wander,
the old Jig jog along.
O'er blue ranges westward yonder,
Down to a billabong.

Oh, yippy yippy yep, hi yoh,
A droving we must go.
To the West out far where the big mobs are,
With "woop there," "wurp there," whoa !"
Oh, yippy yippy yep, hi yoh,
A droving we must go,
And we'll sing this song as we jog along,
With "woop there," "wurp there," whoa !"

Out where the Flinders is flowing,
West to the setting suns,
Far where Mitchell grass is growing
O'er plains and cattle runs ;
Sleeping saddles for our pillows,
Old Mother Earth our bed,
Horse bells ringing down the valleys
Glowing of camp fires red.

Dust rising high on the stock routes,
Where lean brown stockmen go,
Moving cattle in the stockyards
Where Finders waters flow ;
Crack of stockwhips in the distance,
Like rifle shots afar,
Big mobs' bellows sounding loudly
Out where the big runs are.

Rushing cattle in the storm night,
Red lightning's vivid flash,
Stampeded cattle thro' the gidyea,
Thro' which we madly dash ;
Steady leaders on the claypan,
The riders bending low.
Swing the mob to order safely,
With "woop there, wurp there whoa !"

South where Southern cross is shining,
We wend the long Barcoo,
Past the opal gougers mining,
Down to old Oontoo;
Cross the Darling River flowing,
Its cooling waters wade,
Down past Murray vineyards growing
To far off Adelaide.

On the Murray in the moonlight,
With fair-haired girls in tow,
Lovelight shining in their eyes bright,
That lean brown stockmen know ;
Wedding bells will soon be ringing
The stockman's wedding march,
Drovers joining la the singing,
With stockwhip for an arch.

Mt. Surprise.


From the Queensland Newspaper the Northern Miner 22 Jun 1940 p. 5.

In this song we can see the influence of American Hillbilly and Country and Western ballads that was growing in Australia through the depression years. There is however a commitment to use the popular imported form to fit a local story. The final romantic verse is of course typical of the the times during the fears and hopes of the Second World War.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory