Australian Folk Songs

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The Hobo's Song (1939)

Ho! for the rattle of empties
And the smoke that comes drifting back;
The clank, clank, clank, as wheels fly round--
And ballast up-flung from the track.

Ho! the signal turns from red to green,
A shrilly whistle starts the train--
The guard has given "Right away";
Then back from green to red again.

Ho! for the rumble of box-cars,
Out where the sparks and cinders fly;
The Hobo blood is in my veins--
To all the world I'll say good-bye.

To camp beneath the water tanks--
Get water from the engine tap--
A swab of waste to light a fire--
Hot billy tea and toast mayhap.

I've ridden the hard and grimy rods;
Have begged for a hand-out in vain--
Lain in the sun 'neath "Tarps." Ye gods,
But never, NEVER again.

'Tis only a safety valve blowing,
But I often long to turn back
And be lulled to sleep by the rhythm
Of the wheels on the endless track.

TOP T., Wagin.


From the Perth WA Newspaper the Western Mail 6 Apr 1939 p. 10.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory