Australian Folk Songs

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The Drover's Car (1929)

Chris Swiker was a drover man who loved an easy life,
And hardships on the overland unluckily were rife ;
And so, when starting cattle on the road from Bogganbar,
The squatter tempted him to buy an ancient motor-car.

He'd had enough of horses, and he'd had enough of traps,
He'd had enough of roughing it with ordinary chaps ;
Henceforth he'd trek in comfort over hill and over plain,
And in the old Mack flivver he would laugh at sun and rain.

The cattle were some days ahead before the car was trim
Enough in all its jolted parts and fit to carry him ;
And then one morning early he knocked down the station gate,
And bumped across the country al a most amazing rate.

He was singing joyous fragments of some droving songs he knew
As along the winding courses of the overland he flew.
When the night shut down he tarried at a tavern till the moon
Lit the last stage of the journey to the camp at Clegg's Lagoon.

It was drawing near to midnight when the camp-fire showed ahead,
There he tried to ease old Lizzie, but increased her speed instead,
And, desperate and flustered, pulled and twisted till at last
He saw his nervous cattle--then he honked a warning blast.

In a panic they stampeded ; through the squirming dust he sped ;
Picked a tent up like a cyclone, and near killed the cook in bed;
Then the flivver clanked and snorted towards the reflex of the moon.
And with a weird-like chugging splash plunged into Clegg's Lagoon.

But Swiker left before it sank, and saw his mob come back ;
Thenceforth he stuck to bridle-reins all down the cattle track.
His love of horses was supreme, he rode by sun and star,
Whilst Clegg's Lagoon for ever claimed the overlanding car.

E. S. Sorenson.


From the NSW Newspaper the Sydney Mail 15 May 1929 p. 63.

Edward Sylvester (Ed) Sorenson (24 September 1869 - 19 December 1939), was an Australian writer and poet. From 1885, he contributed both stories and verse to magazines, including The Bulletin, The Lone Hand, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Catholic Press.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory