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Demon Drink and Teetotalism




The Australian Bush Orchestra play ‘Bottle-O’. from the sheet music in the National Library of Australia Collection.


Warren Fahey recites ‘The Drinker’s Dream’.


Declan Affley sings ‘A Jug Of This’


Brad Tate sings ‘Boozing, Jolly, Boozing’

Warren Fahey sings ‘Home Sweet Home’

Art Leonard sings ‘The Face On The Barroom Floor’

Warren Fahey sings ‘The Hardest Bloody Job I Ever Had’

Warren Fahey (accompanied on concertina) sings ‘The Road To Gundagai’ (aka ‘Lazy Harry’s’


Warren Fahey sings ‘Shickered’


Simon McDonald sings ‘Billy Brink’

This is the original Burns poem/song which was based on the older traditional ballad. Beautiful imagery. Surprisingly published in a ‘girlie’ magazine in Sydney in the twenties.





Poor John Barleycorn: A Ballad

(Robert Burns)

Pinkie Magazine. 1927 Sydney

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An Irishman’s Toast

Pinkie Magazine.

march 1 1927 Sydney

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In The Shade Of The Old Brewer-ee

(Parody: The shade of the Old Apple Tree)

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The Australian Prohibition Songster

Published by Harkness Publications, Geelong Victoria. n.d.

Mitchell ML784.68/2

A truly woeful collection of teetotal songs reinforcing the view that the devil has all the good tunes!

Onward, Temperance Soldiers

Tune: St Gertrude

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Here’s a song about a Sydney barmaid ñ a touch of the Maggie May’ story.

The Melancholy Jarvey

(Air: Pretty Polly Perkins)
Jan 21st 1868

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There is little doubt that the early colonies were places fueled with excessive alcohol consumption and, by all reports,
some of the local ale offered at the taverns, as made from very dubious ingredients. This song, published in Melbourne is chock full of technical names from the brewing art.

The Brewer’s Glee

(Tune: When the Kye Comes Home)

OCT 1879

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I collected a version of The Tramp from Cyril Duncan in 1973. (refer Australian Folklore Unit, this site under Duncan). It is interesting to compare both versions and see how Cyril’s has been influenced by oral transmission.

The Tramp


(Tune: Fashionable Fred)

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I’ve Heard The Praise of Rosy Wine


The Temperance Societies and Bands of Hope of Australia.
Sydney. 1880s Smith & Gardiner
Small songbook. Hard cover.
(Tune: Rose of Allandale)

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Australia’s Hope

The Temperance Societies and Bands of Hope of Australia.

Sydney. 1880s Smith & Gardiner
Small songbook. Hard cover.
(Tune: God Save The Queen.)

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Temperance Ditty

Temperance Society Melb 1870 composed by John Vale
See the havoc drink is working

Everywhere the danger lurking
Shout your duty never shirking
Alcohol shall fail.



Lodge 31 Murrurundi NSW 1875 onwards
Handwritten and illustrated

States that in the Gov Gazette the number of licenses issued for 1875-76, we find that there are 2325 public houses in the colony (NSW). Sydney district, as may be expected, contains by far the largest number, viz, 625, or one fourth of the whole number. Which such a number of ‘hells on earth’, need we wonder at the prevalence of crime and misery in the land?


The Day We Struck Quirindi

Vol 1 no 3

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Regulations for Cockies

From Australasian Post 1957.
It is said that this notice was pasted on many shearing board walls.

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1890s advertisement

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The Bogtrotter’s Lament

March 25 1868
Tune: Last Rose of Summer

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Prince Albert’s Fashion

Ironbark. Anon circa 1890s

Prince Albert’s ain’t in fashion now

The shearers all wear socks
An’ runs accounts for underwear
An’ banks their beans an’ rocks
They never bust or blue their cheques
At shanties on the track
But then grog ain’t what it was
When I first went out back


Xmas Day In The Madhouse

From Cyril Pearl Beer Glorious Beer 1968

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Loafers Club

Tune: Down In The Strand
From Town & Country Journal. 1873

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Wink at me with Thine Eyes

Tune: Drink to me only with thine eyes

Aust Journal. 1869

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The Alliance Temperance Melodist


The Temperance Societies and Bands of Hope of Australia
Pub Sydney Smith & Gardiner

Hardcover/songster size and design. Undated circa 1880
The songs, mostly original, are set to popular tunes such as Roast Beef of Old England, Long, Long Ago; The Campbell’s are coming.

Beer Glorious Beer

If you drink sprints you’ll never feel queer
Drink all the morning, drink all the night

As there’s nothing to suffer
You can always get tight.
Beer o Beer I do love thee

In thee I place my trust
I’d rather go to bed in hunger
Than go to bed in thirst.

God Save The Queen

Aust Jnl Sept 8/1886

Happy & glorious

3 & a half pints amongst four of us
Heaven send no more of us
Good Save The Queen

Parody on Beggar’s Opera

Aust Jln.

Though the odd noses in vogue

Each nose is turned up at its brother
Broad and blunt they call platter and pug

And thus take snuff at each other
The short calls the long nose a snout
The long calls the short nose a snub
The bottle nose being so stout
Thinks every sharp one a scrub

D’ye Ken?

Tune: D’ ye ken John Peel?
From goldrush times and said to have many verses R. Ridley.

D’ ye ken how sherry and ginger agree
With a dash of rum 35 O.P.
D’ye ken how its when you mix all three
That yer eyes they are weak in the morningÖ.

Where The Cooler Bars Grow


Lenny Lower
Wrap me up in my stockwhip and blanket

And bury me deep down below
Where the farm implement salesmen won’t molest me
In the place where the cooler bars grow.

Reasons For Drinking

German Air

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Shall E’er Cold Water Be Forgot?

Tune: Auld Lang Syme

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I assume this song was popular as a satirical dig at the 1880s and 1890s anti drink movement that spawned The Band of Hope and many other teetotaller groups. This one celebrates booze.

The Hallelujah Band

Australian Melodist Songster

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Simon McDonald sang a version of this song for Norm O’Connor and Mary-Jean Officer in the 1950s. Great song and, once again, a surprising find. This printed version offers an additional verse telling of a sailor who joined the jovial crew.

Jones’s Ale

Australian Melodist Songster

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I was very surprised to find this song in a songster. It had been rarely recorded in Britain and the only time it surfaced here was when I taped the repertoire of Cyril Duncan in 1973. You can compare Cyril’s oral tradition version by going to the Australian Folklore Unit file of his repertoire. I found some of Cyril’s interpretations very amusing and interesting. He had the song from his bullock-driver father.

The Parson and the Clerk

Australian Melodist Songster

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Here is another surprising song. The song has been collected in Australia and I have been singing it for over twenty years having learnt it from Ron Edward’s Overlander Songster. It is sheer nonsense and terrific to sing.
The words differ from the traditional versions.

Eighteen Pence

Australian Melodist Songster

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