Australian Folk Songs

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Only a Hobo (1937)

Only a Hobo, looking for toil,
Or a place where he may rest,
Hungry and wretched is oft his case,
Hounded and driven from place to place.
Counting the odds that he has to face,
He roams on a fruitless quest.

Only a Hobo, wet to the skin.
No shelter for him is found,
While politicians with pay increased,
And stately homes where to dwell and feast.
The outcast Hobo, like any beast,
Must lie on the wet cold ground.

Only a Hobo, such an awful pest,
Evict him we must, but how,
In a railway truck, so oft espied,
When caught, his swag he must open wide,
A stolen car may be found inside
Or some station-master's cow.

Only a Hobo, I heard someone say,
Trudging along on his way,
Out on a journey to God knows where,
Months of this Hell, he has ceased to care,
Clothes all in rags, on the poorest fare,
Existing from day to day.

Only a Hobo, yes, a homeless tramp,
And thousands of such 'tis true,
Hardships and suffering quench their zeal,
A scanty dole, they must cadge or steal,
And few there are that compassion feel
For this hapless, workless crew.



From the Queensland Newspaper the Townsville Daily Bulletin 9 Oct 1937 p. 11.

Songs and poems like this were 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