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Emigration and Free Settlers more

emigration and free selection

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Warren Fahey sings ‘The Old Bark Hut’  Warren Fahey: Vocals, Jaw Harp. Marcus Holden: Dobro, Stroviol, Mandolin, Cittern. Garry Steel: Accordion, Piano, Bass, Drum.



The Old Bark Hut.


“Necessity is the mother of invention” and, by all accounts, necessity led to all types of makeshift dwellings for the average bushman. Newspapers became wallpaper, empty jam tins became saucepans, shovels served as an impromptu frying pan, hats were used to strain drinking water, sugar bags became blankets and memories became firm friends. The story of Bob the Swagman and his trials and tribulations, not to mention his determination and optimism, has been one of the most endearing bush songs of all.

Collected from Mr Jacob Lollbach MBE, Grafton, in 1973. Mr Lollbach was a grand 102 when I recorded this full set of verses he had been singing for over eighty years. Mr. Lollbach had learnt the song from a bullock driver, Jack Horner, who sang it to the tune of  ‘The Wearing Of The Green’.  It was also included in Paterson’s Old Bush Songs, 1905 edition. Will Lawson, in Australian Bush Songs and Ballads, attributed this song to William Perrie adding “These verses were written in the shepherding days – when fences were few and far between – at Dungog, NSW. William Perrie was a veterinary surgeon in practice there.”  Verses five, six and seven are from this version.

Jacob Lollbach/Fahey. National Library ORAL TRC321/33


Warren Fahey sings ‘The New England Cocky’. Marcus Holden: Cittern, Viola, Bass, Bassoon. Garry Steel: Accordion.


New England Cocky. 

The fight for survival must have been tough for our pioneering families who were continually battling the elements and the banks. It was often believed that tea was one of the few things that could hold body and soul together in the hard times. Steele Rudd’s On Our Selection, published in 1899, summed it up neatly: ‘We couldn’t very well go without tea, so Dad showed Mother how to make a new kind. He roasted a slice of bread on the fire till it was like a black coal. Then he poured the boiling water over it and let it draw well. Dad said it had a capital flavour—he liked it.

Many pioneer families were successful but many also lived almost hand-to-mouth in the hope of a change in fortune. The old cocky farmer in this song, true to his name of scratching out a living, has gathered his family as he prepares to depart for the long-paddock in the sky however, before he goes, he bequeaths his legacy and bush wisdom. The song was included in Banjo Paterson’s Old Bush Songs, 1924 edition. The New England district is in New South Wales around Tamworth, Manilla and Armidale.




Published in Melbourne by James Bonwick.
Songster size.
Toasts and songs followed. Among the latter was the following:

In every clime, it aye has been a Briton’s proudest boast,
To have his Christmas pudding and his fine old English roast;

Then why should we, on Turin’s stream, like soulless churls, forbear?
To keep the good old custom up, and have our Christmas fare?

Though ‘neath no season’s rarities our rough-made table bends,
We care not,since within this bower, we see but hearty friends,

Nor envy we the formal feast ñ each man precisely dressed ñ
Our shirts of scarlet suit us well as white cravats and vest.

Settler’s Lament

Mitchell library, Sydney, complete text.

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Southern Cross


From Southern Lights and Shadows by Frank Fowler 1859.
He claimed it was a bullocky toast
sung by the anti dray and land tax law league of SA

Olle heigh Ho
Blow your horns blow
Blow the Southern Cross down if you will

But on you must go
Where fresh gullies flow
And the thirsty crane wets his red bill

From Robyn Ridley 1970 who said her mother sang this ditty.

Hill End

The flies crawled up the window

That’s all they had to do
They went up by the thousands
And came down two by two
The flies crawled up the window
They said they loved to roam

Once more up the window
And then we’ll all go home.



‘In NSW, as in other Australian colonies, crown land is now sold at not less than 20s an acre.’

Excursions & Adventures in NSW

Capt Henderson 78th Highlanders
London Vole 1 & 2

DSM/981/37B Vols. 1 & 2

Being a Guide to Emigrants

On the ship Fortune from Scotland to Sydney.


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Don’t Go To The Bush Of Australia

(The King of The Cannibal Isle)

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The above song has been recorded in Paterson’s ‘Old Bush Songs’ and Stewart & Keesing offer another, supposedly from 1857, however this possibly is the original. That said, Henderson’s notes, though very reliable in other situations, is still slightly ambiguous in as far as his actual authorship of the song. It should also be noted that Surgeon Goodwin, whose version appears in Stewart and Keesing could also be considered as the original especially since he was resident in Sydney first. Whatever the case both versisons are very different.

Practical Hints for Emigrants

Songster size. John Willcox
Liverpool. 1858

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Rambles & Observations in New South Wales

Joseph Townsend
London 1848

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Percy Clarke
London 1886

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Melodies of the People appeared in Heads Of The People Magazine and was a series of songs sharing the frustration of new settlers on the land. Sometimes witty and sometimes showing the frustration those pioneer farmers must have experienced.


The Settler Settled

Magazine 1848

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The Squatter Done Brown

Magazine 1848

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This is typical of a group of emigration songs where the English or Irish new chum is confounded by bush life. I have not been able to work out the meaning of the chorus where the blame is laid on the agent ñ I am assuming it is either an emigration agent or a shipping agent. Maybe it was an employment agent who sent him out bush?

Paddy Malone

Australian Melodist Songster

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Earp G B


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84/557 Dixson

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Land speculation was almost a disease as emigrants moved across the country looking to buy land with government incentive programs. Journalist Clarke obviously took a dim view of some of the speculators selling the land.


Written by Marcus Clarke, Esq.
(Air: Moet & Chandon)

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This next item concerns itself with opposition to the churches missionary zeal and their stance on the Maori Wars.

The Missionaries’ Mull

Jan 21st 1868
(Tune: Guy Fawkes)

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Tarara (land) Boom Decay

Pat Finn

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Dated 1855
D7505 misc.

Most of the songs in this collection are parlour-type songs.


This following item is found in Ireland, Scotland and America. It has been suggested the tune is as old as 1650 and was originally used as a fife tune. Another has it from Queen Elizabeth the First’s era when it was used to pipe ships from and into the harbour. The tune has been collected in Australia several times and was popular as a dance melody. There exist several verses and variants of the song itself.

The Girl I Left Behind

(Tune: the Girl I Left Behind Me)

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Aug 1877
Edited George Loyau. Published Adelaide


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Includes the song….

Homeward Bound

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