Australian Folk Songs

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

The Digger's Lament (1927)

When war's alarum was sounded
Through country side and town,
The Cocky donned his uniform
For Empire and for Crown.

They sent him to the Dardanelles
Where he held the world amaze,
He suffered like the devil there
For a politician's craze.

Through Egypt's burning desert,
On through Palestine he bled;
Up through Jordan's arid valley
While Jacko Northward fled.

In France he knocked the Fritzes back
From Flers to Villers Bret.,
They splattered him and battered him,
But they've never beat him yet.

With poison gas and tear shells,
With "heavies" and with "hows,"
They did there best to "strafe" him,
But he licked the blanky cows.

At last when all was over,
His nerves were shattered, yet
They fed him up with many a tale
Of the welcome home he'd get.

Sure enough they gave him welcome,
Whistled sirens, waved their flags;
While politicians petted him,
And got off their favourite tags.

They put him on a South West farm.
Sung its praises to the skies;
Piled him up with debts and mortgages:
Hero worship quickly dies.

Now, when he can't pay interest,
Let alone pay back his debt,
They say it "isn't Anzac"
And his bills must all be met.

I'd like you to remember,
Every friend who waved a flag
That although he's doffed his uniform
He's still the same old wag.

And if he doesn't pay his way
It is'nt that be "won't,"
It simply means it "can't be done,"
If he tries or if he don't.

So now then friends it's up to you,
Give him a helping hand,
And don't forget the Anzac boys
Who saved your glorious land.

--One of 'em

Charlie Moran at Balingup.


From the WA newspaper The South Western Times 5 Feb 1927 p. 5.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory