After the gold rushes settled down it was apparent that they had contributed greatly to the opening up of the country. Mud tracks, usually bullock tracks, certainly not worthy of the name ‘roads’, had been flattened by the continuing flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Businesses had also been established to provide for the travellers needs be it accommodation, thirst or general hardware.
Because the cry of ‘Rush away’ was frequent and the miners fickle, the roads had grown quickly and effectively. Some led to valleys and creeks but, generally, they were a network that led to the next service town. Bullock drays were replaced by horse teams and, eventually, rail and motorised transport noisily pushed most of the faithful four-legged conveyances out of the way. The story of transport in Australia is a fascinating one that is still happening. There are plenty of songs, poems and lore created around transport.
Transport was interrupted in Sydney by the appearance of a very dead cat.
The King Street Cat.
I was interested in this item primarily because of the suggested tune which is an old-timey American song and, possibly a minstrel tune.
I first heard it from Mike Seeger who had recorded it for The New Lost City Ramblers in the 1960s.
I am no longer surprised by tunes that found themselves landed in Australia! The Cremorne was a hotel on the outskirts of Melbourne where thirsty Melbournites would travel to on a Sunday and, being travellers, were entitled to order alcohol. Thirst knows no distance.