Rad Dawson, aged 84 sings ‘The Stockman’s Last Bed’. Mr/ Dawson was a stockman for many years of his life. Recorded by Warren Fahey, at Forrester’s Beach, NSW, 1973. The song was also known as ‘The Stockman’s Lone Grave’ and was first printed in Bell’s Life In Australia, 1857.
Cyril Duncan sings part of ‘The Banks of the Condamine’, a song that tells of a young girl suggesting she join her shearer lover dressed as a shearer. He tells her ‘the boss has given orders no woman may do so’. You wouldn’t get away with that in the 21st century!
Drovers have been a part of the Australian outback mystique ever since European settlement expanded to include farming. These men, and now women, traverse the bush leading large herds of cattle and sheep across land as they fatten their charges and head for the sale stations. It is hard work as cattle can be cantankerous beasts and sheep, well, they’re bloody sheep.. Horseback riders, yapping working dogs, flies and dust travel with the cattle. The Long Paddock, that endless stretch of land where cattle can leisurely stroll and eat, is also legendary and has been celebrated in verse and song. There are also songs and stories about the drovers and stockmen, especially those of the industry’s heydays in the second half of the nineteenth century, when beef exports made Australia rich. Today the horse has given away to the motor bike and truck but the legends live on. In this section you will read about one renowned inland stockman, Ron Kerr, and his many stories and poems. You’ll also find traditional songs and ballads typical of an industry where its workforce were rightfully proud of their achievements in bringing the world’s best wool and beef to market..