What a familiar story this must have been: the bush worker labours all season and eventually makes his way down to the ‘Big Smoke’ to have a spree in the pubs and the races, and it all ends in misery. He loses his money, his new-found friends and then tramps back to the bush to ‘wait for the season to start again.’ From Bill Bowyang’s Bush Reciter. Collected Vennard circa 1943. Bill Scott added the final verse of warning.
The “Big Gun” toiled, with his heart
Shearing sheep to make a roll,
Out in the back-blocks, far away,
Then off to Sydney for a holiday.
Down in the city he’s a terrible swell
Takes a taxi to the Kent Hotel.
The barmaid says, “Why you do look ill,
Must have been rough tucker. Bill.”
In the city he looks a goat,
With his Oxford bags and see-more
He spends his money like a fool, of course.
That he worked for like a blooming horse/ i
He shouts for everyone round the place
And goes to Randwick for the big horse race,
He dopes himself with backache pills,
And talks of high tallies and tucker bills.
And when it’s spent he’s sick and sore.
The barmaid’s looks are kind no more.
His erstwhile friends don’t care a hoot,
He goes to the bush per what?—per boot.
Back in Bourke where the flies are bad
He tells of the wonderful times he’s had,
He tells of the winners he shouldn’t have missed,
And skites of the dozens of girls he’d kissed.
He stands at the corner cadging fags
His shirt tail showing through his Oxford bags,
He’d pawned his beautiful see-more coat,
He’s got no money—oh, what a goat!
He’s got no tucker and can’t get a booze,
The soles have gone from his snake-skin shoes,
He camps on the Bend, in the wind and the rain,
And waits for shearing to start again.
All you blokes with a cheque to spend
Don’t go to the city where you’ve got no friends.
Head for the nearest wayside shack,
It’s not so far when you’ve gotta walk back.