The Station Cook
The Backblocks Shearer
Jog Along Till Shearing
THE STATION COOK
few lines of this song got into print in The Bulletin - which used to
be called "the bushman's Bible" - away back in the 1890's. That scrap
set the scene on the Castlereagh River in New South Wiles; this version
sets it at Fowler's Bay in South AustraIia.
version of the song was published by Dr. Percy Jones of Melbourne. He
seems to be the only collector who has ever managed to find a bush
singer who knew a full set of words and a tune for them.
plum-duffs - plum-puddings.
doughboys - dumplings.
swear by Long Maloney - a mysterious phrase; perhaps it is a euphemism for "I swear by all that's holy ?"
to sling the cook his fee
- to pay the cook his wages (the shearers' cook was paid by the
shearers themselves, not by the station management or the contractor).
Fowler's Bay - on the western coast of South Australia.
slushy - a derogatory term for the cook, suggesting that he is only fit to be a cook's helper.
There was a London music-hall song about Fashionable Fred:
Yes, I'm just about the cut for Belgravia,
To keep the proper pace I know the plan.
Wire in and go ahead then, for Fashionable Fred,
I'm Fashionable Fred, the ladies' man.
shearer took the tune, and re-wrote the words so that they told about
Tomahawking Fred the shearer. He was called Tomahawking Fred because he
cut sheep whilst shearing.
Bradshaw, who called himself the Last of the Bushrangers, published the
words of this song in one of his books about bushranging, in the 1930s.
But it was only recently that collectors from the Folk Lore Society of
Victoria found an old bushman, Harvey Games, who remembered the tune as
it was used in the bush. He remembered only some of the words, so this
version uses his tune and Jack Bradshaw's words.
knuckling down so close upon the skin - shearing the wool off so close to the skin.
tomahawk - shear unskilfully, so as to cut the sheep.
tin - money.
the don of Riverine - recognised as a man of importance in the Riverina, a region of southern New South Wales.
THE BACKBLOCKS SHEARER
to one old bush singer this song was written in New South Wales by a
shearer named Bill Tully. But Widgeegowarmee Joe probably really came
from Widgeegoara, which is in Queensland; and this version of the song
comes from Victoria. It was recorded by collectors of the Folk Lore
Society of Victoria from an old bushman called Alf Dyer. Joe got
around, it seems, and so did this song, which pokes fun at him for
being too much of a skite and not enough of a shearer.
Meredith - who got down a rather different version of the song from an
old Riverina bushman called Jack Lee - says that the tune was taken
over from an old Irish song, Castle Gardens. Another folklorist, John
Manifold, thinks that Bill Tully must have had uppermost in his mind an
old sailor song which begins "Hurrah, my boys, the sails are set, the
winds are blowing fair...." The song is full of shearers' technical
talk, and a few topical references.