Australian Folk Songs

songs | books | records | articles | glossary | links | search | responses | home

Hand Outs (1930)

Hand Outs

When you feel your legs are hollow with the hunger of the track,
And a gnawing empty feeling sags the front part of your back ;
When your tucker sack or tummy thinks the gate to it is shut,
And your vitaminic boiler thinks your tucker chute is cut ;
When you get a surly knock back half a mile in off the pad,
And your brain goes spinning dizzy with the meals you haven't had,
When the bush trees jazz and wobble to the rhythm of your tramp,
And you see a "soldier's supper" looming at your evening camp ;
It is then a decent "hand out" makes your dial slip back in smiles,
And the world seems not too rotten as you measure up the miles ;
While each, mouthful hits the bottom with a satisfying thud,
And you feel that when you're finished you would like to chew the cud ;
It is then, old thing, the "hand out" is a bounty good and grand--
(And the folk who give and get it are the ones who understand)--
It is worth while being hungry--(when your pantry's being stocked)--
When your stomach knows for certain that your gullet isn't blocked ;
It is then the good old "hand out" gets some eulogistic frills,
And you glorify the giver as your emptiness it fills ;
It is then the kindly "hand out" is a banquet good and rare,
And your vitaminic boiler knows your tucker trap is there.
Oh, it's then you get a feeling that out back is not too bad,
When a "hand out" you're outside of fills the inside hole you had.



From the Queensland Newspaper the Central Queensland Herald 3 Apr 1930 p. 2.

Songs like this one are much more common right through the Great Depression than has formerly been recognised, but a number of Australian Newspapers ensured their popularity in those tough times.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory