Dance in Australia next 1

Convicts and transportation


© 2005 Warren Fahey

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There are quite a lot of bawdy songs about dancing and the most widespread has a very noble history in as much as the great Robert Burns contributed the model verses. It then became more bawdy over time as it described the great Ball at Kerrymuir (various spellings) including the classic verses:

Four and twenty virgins came down from Inverness
When the ball was over there were four and twenty less.
There was fookin’ in the highways and fookin’ in the drains
You couldn’t hear the bagpipes for the semen in the drains.

They were fookin’ on the stairway and fooking in the halls
You couldn’t hear the music for the clanging of the balls.

The song then goes and introduces several identities:

Sarah McGregor she was there, she had the crowd in fits
By diving off the mantelpiece and landing on her tits.

Sir Winston Churchill he was there, down behind the bar

When he couldn’t raise a fat, he used a black cigar.

Interestingly one version I found introduced a variant of the above-mentioned lines from the First set of The Lancers:

First lady forward, second lady back
Third lady’s finger up the fourth lady’s crack

Fifth lady curtsy, sixth lady pass
Seventh lady’s finger up the eighth lady’s arse.

Many of the versions of the Ball of Kerrymuir offer a common chorus of:

Who’ll do me this time, who’ll do me now?
The one that did me last time, must have used a plow
(or: cannot do me now)

Another perennial favourite was the progressive barn dance tune Sweet Violets and this too attracted many bawdy verses.

The very innocent chorus to the song is well known:

Sweet violets, sweeter than the roses,
Covered all over from head to toe
Covered all over with sweet violets.

The feature of this particular song is that it intentionally misleads the listener who is expecting a filthy ending but gets more innocence:

Susan was a nice friend, with plenty of class
She knocked the boys dead when she wriggled herÉÉ then the singer(s) goes into the chorus lines.

And another shows how far the verses can go (and they did):

Took the horse from the stable to go to the hunt
His wife in the bedroom powdering herÉ..Sweet Violets etc

Most of the Bawdy dance ditty’s I presented at one of the early Folklore
Conferences, if you have that publication.
But I’ll give you what I can from memory, you did write out your lancers
ditty for me at the time.

Peter Ellis comments: “Traditional player, Harry McQueen could never play Men of Harlech properly because of a dirty ditty where the tune had to be modified to fit the lyrics. It was played and therefore sang in Sir Roger de Coverley and sets such as Lancers, First Set and Alberts. It got so bad, the men’s voices getting too loud, the MC vetoed the musicians from playing the tune from then on.”

‘There’s the man that stuffed my daughter,
Filled her up with soapy water,
Now he’s got to pay me twelve and six a week.
There’s the man that stuffed her,
There’s the man that stuffed her,
Filled her up with soapy water,
Now he’s got to pay me twelve and six a week.

Peter Ellis comments: “Attached Song which a country and western singer gave the Gay Charmers and myself to sing at the Drovers’ Camp at Camooweal 18 months back. The young fella didn’t know what tune to use. It was obvious to us it was Sweet Violets, but he didn’t know it. Tricky to fit the lyrics to the tune but (to use a Qld expressive ending).”


(to the verse of Sweet Violets)

View Words


To Yip I Addi I Ay
Introductory section not to that tune

‘Sing of joy, sing of bliss, sing of arseoles and piss’

Now to the tune, ‘Oh rip my knickers away, away,
Oh rip my knickers away, I don’t care what becomes of me,
As long as you play with me c,u,n,t.


(from Peter Ellis) – Also to the intro of Repasz

Never been done,
Clean as a bun,

Mary Queen of the Virgins.
Oh what a pity she’s only one titty
To feed the baby on.’

In 1972 I recorded the following choice parody to one of Australia’s most popular songs.

Road to Gundagai

There’s a widgie on her back,
And she’s lying on the track,

Upon the road to Gundagai.
There’s a bodgie there beside her, a
And I’ll bet my balls he’ll ride ‘er

Beneath these sunny skies.
There’s a grunt from her front
As he shoves it up her cunt,
Upon the road to Gundagai.
No more will so roam with a belly full of foam,

Upon the road to Gunadagai.

The bawdy tradition did not end at the arrival of the twentieth century, in fact, it accelerated. Liberal thought, especially in universities, encouraged such singing. In some ways it was a snub at the crusty Victorian morals of the previous century.


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