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Children’s Lore

I had heard of this song but never successful in collecting a version until it appeared in an early songster. I love the mention of the dog’s nose being used as a stopped ñ and that’s why their noses are always wet!

Noah’s Ark

Australian Melodist Songster
Air: Johnny Comes Marching Home.

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Children create and disseminate folklore at home and in the playground and school. It is vital to their learning and valuable to their rites of passage from childhood to adulthood.


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Girls versus Boys

from Stanton girls, Woollahra

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Wattle Gum

Australian kids around the 1860s, 70s used to chew wattle gum when they had no lollies. An article in the Aust Journal asked whether this practice was dangerous to which the newspaper replied “not if chewed occasionally”

God Save

From ‘The Survivors’ (personal recollection of the Left in Australia)
P O’Brien. 1977 on Catholic Schools

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Riddles and printed jokes were extremely popular in yesterdays Australia. Most regional newspapers and periodicals carried pages of these items. It was also common for families to make up such riddles on a regional basis.


Australian Journal June 1860-70

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Children’s lore recorded from Natalie Zillmere

aged 8, Queensland
via Robyn Hulett. 1986

See Saw

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Up and Down

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No more teachers, no more books.

No more teacher’s dirty looks.

Ronald McDonald

(Skipping Rhyme)

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Inky Pinky Ponkey

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Jelly Song

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Children’s lore recorded from BRIGID RODWAY FAMILY

Recorded Marrickville Hospital 1984

Galway Bay

Some day I may return again to Ireland
If only my dear wife would pass away
She nearly drives me silly with her nagging
She’s got a mouth as big as Galway Bay.

Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells
Batman smells
Robin flew away
Wonder Woman burnt her boobs

Flying to L.A.


I like coffee, I like tea.
I like Johnny to be in with me
I hate coffee I hate tea

I hate Johnny to be in with me


Jelly on a plate, Jelly on a plate
Wibble wobble, wibble wobbly
Jelly I all ate

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to you
You belong in the zoo
You look like a monkey
And smell like one too

Children’s GAMES recorded from Caroline Bailey

born Musselbrook, NSW
Recorded 1984, Marrickville. Aged 24

Red Rover Cross Over

Split into two groups with one person in the middle.
Everyone sings “Red rover cross over”
Then the two groups run across and the person in the middle attempts to catch as many people as possible. The ones caught stay in the middle as ‘catchers’ until all caught.

What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?

One person stands with his back to the group who are about 10 yards away. They all call out “What’s the time Mr Wolf?”
The ‘Wolf’ responds with a time ñ say “10 o’clock” and quickly tuns. If he catches anyone still moving they are out. He can call ‘Dinner Time’ any time and then grab as many as he or she can ñ until all caught.

Children’s Games recorded from Silvia and Lydia Vera

St Scholasticas College, Glebe, 1984
Children 14 years old

Down Mississsippi

Down Mississippi ñ if you miss a loop you’re out.

One person skips with a second person jumping in and the first person goes out. As the rhyme says ñ if one misses a loop they are out. The last one left wins.

Skip to My Lou

Skip, skip, skip to my Lou (four times)

Skip to my Lou, my darling.

Two people skipping together and if one steps on the rope they’re out.


Cinderella dressed in yeller
Tell me the name of your sweet feller.

Each letter of the alphabet chalked and whatever letter the player stands on is the name of their lover.


My boyfriend gave me an apple
My boyfriend gave me a pear
My boyfriend gave me a kiss on the lips

And then threw me down the stairs
I gave him back his apple
I gave him back his pear
I gave him back the kiss on the lips
And threw him down the stairs.

Parody Riddle

From Robyn Ridley 1970

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From Mrs Betty Staader – Argenton NSW

Some go to church their sins to cover
Others go to church to seek a lover

Some go to be seen and some to say they have been
Some go to sleep and nod
Others go to worship God