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Nine Miles From Gundagai (1931)

By "Bill Bowyang."

("Nine Miles from Gundagai" is a traditional Australian jingle of many versions, and although some
of them are defective, and others more so, there are no doubt as many claimants to authorship as there
are Dan Kelly's. I am not one of these but I am submitting a new and up-to-date version, which I hope
will be found more pleasing.--D.B. O'C.)

I've had a crack at cutting cane, bush felling and all that,
I've crossed Australia's thirsty wastes, it's saltbush plains and hills ;
I've over-landed in my time from Broome to Ballarat,
I've punched a team of bullocks where the Murrumbidgee spills.
Now that reminds me, cobber, how I once did nearly cry ;
My dog sat on the tucker box, on strike, near Gundagai.

The torrents poured for forty days till ev'ry hole and stream
Were filled and over-flowing where the Murray's feeders drain ;
The waters surged around me and my hefty bullock team,
Though I flogged them with my stock-whip while I cursed with might, and main,
My dog refused to help me, I couldn't reason why
He squatted on the tucker box, nine miles from Gundagai.

The wheels above their axles were all bogging in the mire,
The shatters squelching to the hips were floundering in the sludge ;
"Gol darn the engineer" I roared, "and chairman of the Shire,"
As up and down I urged them on but never would they budge,
Old Baldy on his haunches gasped and blinked a bleary eye,
My dog sat on the tucker box nine miles from Gundagai.

It's many years since that occurred, the bullocks that survived.
Were fattened for the butchers' shops and sold, you bet as prime ;
For Swift's and Borthwick's freezers had not in those days arrived.
And with the cheque I bolted to a more congenial clime.
The dog, ah well, he had his day, on this you may rely,
He's buried in the tucker box nine miles from Gundagai.

All lives are full of troubles, and no human beings escape,
Some break their necks in aeroplanes and some are wrecked at sea ;
And I've had multitudes of trials of ev'ry sort and shape,
But bogged that day, I'd like If you would try to picture me !
The earth a mighty morass while loud thunder rends the sky,
My dog sits on the tucker box nine miles from Gundagai.

Old Gundagai is quite a town, and growing very fast,
Towards that spot where tragedy was get for me by fate,
I've heard it said a monument will soon for us be cast,
To represent that struggle where a dog turned down his mate.
In solid bronze we'll face the world all storms and stress defy,
This bloke, the dog and bullocks, will be right in Gundagai.

D.B. O'C.


From the Queensland Newpaper the The Northern Miner 8 Jul 1931 p. 3.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory