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Peters the "Gun." (1938)
(A Shearing Ballad.)

(By "Bill Bowyang.")

Now, his looks were not really impressive,
Nor the ways of the shearer had he,
They were more of the dandy and less of
The style that a shearer should be.

But the "cracks" from some distant dominion,
When they tested his pace for a run,
Often times had to change their opinion,
Their opinion of Peters, the "Gun."

For his elegant style and precision
Kept him always in front of the rest--
Always first in the leading division,
Ev'ry time he was put to the test.

So the "cracks" had their confidence shaken
When they tried to outpace him,
For they found themselves sadly mistaken,
When they bumped against Peters, the "Gun."

He could shear his sheep faster and cleaner,
Whatever their breeding or type,
And he'd sew up a cut in a weener
While his pen-mate was lighting his pipe.

If the shafting ran hot in a bearing,
Or the engine slowed down through the run.
He would frown when his mate started swearing,
Would the pace-maker, Peters, the "Gun."

When the bleats of the terrified "woollies,"
As they crouched in the corners with fear,
Would arise with the roar of the pulleys
As each machine swung into gear.

Then the ladies who cherished ambitions,
"Just to see how the shearing was done,"
Would arrive and take up their positions,
Quite adjacent to Peters, the "Gun."

If he saw that his comb and his cutter
Were inclined to be dragging at all.
He would throw his machine in the gutter,
And take a fresh one from the wall.

But the ladies, in mute admiration,
Would cast him a smile through the run,
From his pen-door, their place of location,
The pen-door of Peters, the "Gun."

And day after day they'd assemble
When the driving belts multiplied strain,
Set the walls of the woolshed a-tremble,
Like a storm-driven ship on the main.

Their excuse was, "The woolshed they entered
To escape from the heat of the sun,"
But their gaze always seemed to be centred
On the elegant Peters, the "Gun."

When his strength and his youth shall be stricken
By the weight of the years that have been,
And his pulses no longer shall quicken
To the song of the shearing machine.

When the days of big tallies are ended,
And they limit the sheep to be done,
Some will still boast of how they extended
The redoubtable Peters, the "Gun."

Hughenden -- BERT DUNNE.


From the Queensland Newspaper the Townsville Daily Bulletin 25 Mar 1938 p. 5.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory