Australian Folk Songs

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

The Lay of the Queensland "Cockatoo." (1895)


I sing of the Queensland "cockatoo,"
Who comes from I know not where, do you ?
Who lives on dumper and beef and spuds,
And half his time has but scanty "duds."
Do you know him? I think you do.

I do not sing of that noble bird,
With the golden crest, whose screech is heard
Ere the sun has gilded the mountain tops
And drunk from the flowers the dewy drops.
He needs no song of mine.

O ! no, but I sing of the luckless man
Who from morn till eve, as best he can,
Extract's his bread from the fresh-turned sod,
And breathless waits on the prophet's nod,
Tho' the rain he would gladly hail.

Successive Governments come and go,
But there's still no end to the "cocky's" woe;
His wheat won't keep or his corn won't grow;
While pigs are a "glut," and butter's "low;"
At least, so the statesmen say.

You see, in "Protection" they don't believe,
And can't for the life of them all conceive
Why he can't with Adelaide wheat compete
Grow tobacco, onions, and sugar beet--
And merrily pay his way.

But they carry sugar at lowest rates,
And the difference add to the "cocky's" freights,
While they boast of "commercial" railway lines
He vainly seeks for the faintest signs
Of the help that must surely come.

But, hold awhile ! Let us shift the scene :
Of what is we're sick, and of what has been,
So in pity's sake we'll change the key
And take a peep at what is to be--
In "progressive" dairying.

No more for his milk will he threepence get,
But two-pence half-penny's all, you bet.
While "sheds," and "coolers," and "better cows"
Are things that will make him knit his brows.
But listen further yet.

He must study "Shelton on winter feeds,"
Be posted up in the milking breeds,
By "Babcock" swear, and have 3 per cent
Of fat in his milk, or he'll soon be sent
To----, well we won't say where.

In short, he must be like a Western rabbit-
Of persevering, progressive habit
Or else his neighbors will point and say,
He's a fallen star from the "Milky" Way,
And smile and pass him by !

J. W. B. A.

Swanfels, January 21, 1893.


From the Queensland Newspaper the Mackay Mercury 5 Feb 1895 p. 3.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory