A Bushman’s Song


Collected from JOE WATSON

Caringbah, NSW
Recorded 1973 onwards

 

A Bushman’s Song

 

I was travelling down the Castlereagh and I’m a station hand,
I’m handy with a rope and pole; I’m handy with a brand,
For I can round a rowdy colt, or swing an axe all day,
But there’s no demand for a station-hand along the Castlereagh.

Shift boys shift, for there isn’t the slightest doubt,
We’ll have to make a shift to the stations further out,
The packhorse running after, he follows like a dog,
And we trot along the country at the old jig jog.

I asked a fellow for shearing once, along the Marthuguy,
He said, “We shear non Union here”, “I called it scab”, says I.
I looks along the shearing board, before I turned to go,
There were eight or ten Chinamen shearing in a row.

Shift boys shift, there isn’t the slightest doubt,
It’s time to make a shift for the leprosy’s about,
We saddled up our horses and we whistled up our dog
And left his scabby station at the old jig jog.

I went to Illawarra where me brothers got a farm,
He’s got to ask the landlord’s leave before he lifts an arm,
The landlord owns the countryside, man, woman, dog and cat,
You mustn’t dare speak to him, before you lift your hat.

Shift boys shift, for there isn’t the slightest doubt,
That little landlord god and I, would soon have fallen out,
Was I to lift my hat to him? Was I his bloody dog”?
I makes for up the country at the old jig jog.

Oh, so I must be going, I’ve a mighty way to go,
‘Till I drink artesian water from a thousand feet below,
And meet the overlanders with their cattle coming down,
We’ll work a while, and make a plie, and have a spree in town.

Shift boys shift, for there isn’t the slightest doubt,
It’s time to make a shift, boys, to the stations further out,
The packhorse running after, he follows like a dog,
And we cross a lot of country at the old jig jog.

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