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Australia’s On The Wallaby


Australia’s On The Wallaby


This poem was first published in Old Bush Recitations, collected by ‘Bill Bowyang’ (Alex Vennard), in the 1930s. Some twenty-five years later the folklorist John Meredith recorded a sung version from Noah Warren, of the Lithgow district, including a final verse not included in Vennard’s collection. It is clearly a parody on Lawson’s ‘Freedom On The Wallaby’.

Our fathers came to search for gold
The mine has proved a duffer
From bankers, boss and syndicate
We always had to suffer
They fought for freedom for themselves
Themselves and mates to toil
But Australia’s sons are weary
And the billy’s on the boil

Australia’s on the wallaby
Just listen to the coo-ee
For the kangaroo he rolls his swag
And the emu shoulders bluey
The boomerangs are whizzinq round
The dingo scratches gravel
The possum bear and bandicoot
Are all upon the travel

The cuckoo calls the bats and now
The pigeon and the shag
The mallee-hen and platypus
Are rolling up their swaq
For the curlew sings a sad farewell
Beside the long lagoon
And the brolga does his last-way waltz
To the lyrebird’s mocking tune

There’s tiger-snakes and damper, boys
And what’s that on the coals?
There’s droughts and floods and ragged duds
There’s dried-up waterholes
There’s shadeless trees and sun-scorched plains
All asking us to toil
But Australia’s sons are weary
And the billy’s on the boil