Australian Folk Songs

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M.S.S. "LOST." (1936)

(By "Bill Bowing.)
(With Apologies to Banjo Paterson)

He ought to be home, said the hobos
Unless he has missed the train,
He only went to the Tully,
It's time he returned again.

He would jump the Midnight Horror,
He would play the hero's role,
And if he's not back by Friday
How will he get the dole ?

He always recoiled from bumming,
It rebelled against his pride,
On rare occasions, far between,
A honest hay's work he tried.

Though he wasn't a bad poor beggar,
He would share his only crust,
And assist his foot sore comrades,
As they trailed their feet through dust.

But to the Camp side in the evening,
The hobo conies no more,
To sit around the fire side,
And hear the yarns in store.

His broken body's battered,
Beside the Railway Track,
His beaten billy in his hand,
His swag torn off his back.

His nose bag lies around the bend,
So learns the saddened host,
Another Ragged Rattler jumper
Has given up the Ghost.

And now around the camp fires,
The living "bums" debate,
Has he passed through hell's portals,
Or through the pearly gate.

Or will St. Peter say to him,
"Heaven's running at a loss,
I am only working here,
You'd better see the Boss."

But the Boss is sympathetic,
To all hobos from their birth,
He'll open up the pearly gate,
"You've had vour hell on earth."

"I've deserted not my comrades,
On their graves I placed a wreath,
A wreath of love and friendship,
For the one that's underneath.

I've guarded hobos night and day
As they passed from off the track,
On a trail that has no winding,
And there ain't no coming back."


From the Queensland Newspaper the Townsville Daily Bulletin 26 Jun 1936 p. 4.

Songs and poems like this were much more common right through the Great War and the Great Depression than has formerly been recognised, but a variety of Australian Newspapers ensured their popularity in those tough times.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory