London and the Diggings [song by Charles Thatcher, 1857]

[Editor: This song by Charles Thatcher was published in Thatcher’s Colonial Songster, 1857.]

London and the Diggings.

A New Original Song, written and sung by Thatcher, with great applause.
Tune — “Things I don’t like to see.

What a difference exists between London and here,
For there things are cheap, but here they are dear;
A shilling goes farther in value, though small,
Than a sovereign out here, which goes no way at all.
At home aristocracy seems all the go,
On the diggings we’re all on a level you know;
The poor man out here ain’t oppressed by the rich,
But dressed in blue shirts you can’t tell which is which.

And this is the country, with rich golden soil,
To reward any poor man’s industrious toil;
There’s no masters here to oppress a poor devil,
But out in Australia we’re all on a level.

The swell that in London rides through Rotten-row,
Is admired and bowed to by many, you know;
But if he were to ride down the Ballarat-road,
I rather think he would be jolly well “joed.”
Lucky diggers in cabs you may frequently meet
In blue shirts, being driven in Great Collins-street;
If they dressed so in London, and drove about there,
Good gracious ! how all of the cockneys would stare.
And this is the country, &c.

To the church of St. George’s, in Hanover-square,
To get married the great folks of London repair;
In phaetons the bridegroom and all his friends ride,
And a fine carriage then dashes up with the bride.
Full of fashion and beauty the church is that day,
And how sweetly the bride weeps when given away.
To the breakfast they hasten, and then light of heart,
The happy pair off to the continent start.
But this is the country, &c.

But a wedding out here is a different thing,
No carriages drive up, no marriage bells ring;
To the church here the girl and her lover then start,
And if they don’t walk, they ride in a spring cart;
The bride takes a bottle of brandy chock full,
And to keep up her spirits imbibes a long pull;
She don’t faint away, nor yet get in a funk,
But when married goes home and gets jolly well drunk.
For this is the country, &c.

In London the swells in the parks drive all round,
But the diggers drive here with a pick underground;
And the props that they use, surely everyone knows,
Ain’t the same used in London for hanging up clothes.
The women use fans* there, the men use them here,
Though to cockneys that statement may sound very queer
And the fellows that frequently hang round hotels,
Out here are called loafers, at home are called swells.
And this is the country, &c.

In London the gas is lit up every night,
But the thing that’s called gas hero don’t give any light;
The gutter at home, and the gutter out here,
Are things widely different, to all is quite clear.
In London, two trotters you get for a penny,
Which you pay a bob here for, or else can’t have any;
All kinds of previsions arc high in price here,
And ’taturs and greens you’ll find awfully dear.
And this is the country, &c.

In London you go to a threepenny hop,
But here it’s much more, if the weasel you’d pop;
At home there are workhouses, here none at all,
So of course, then, the weakest must go to the wall.
In London the peelers down areas will go,
To make love to the cook and the victuals, you know,
But here there’s no areas down which to intrude,
So of course the Australian bobbies are slewed.
And this is the country, &c.

The gals that come out in Australia to roam,
Have much higher notions than when they’re at home;
And you’ll find precious quickly they don’t care a pin
For a digger unless he has plenty of tin;
Lots of girls from an offer that would be debarred,
If they came out in Hoyle’s prints at fourpence a yard,
Find it perfectly easy a husband to fix,
Dressed in twelve yards of glace at seven-and-six.
And this is the country, &c.

* A fan is a machine for pumping air down the shaft.

Charles R. Thatcher. Thatcher’s Colonial Songster, Containing All the Choice Local Songs, Parodies, &c., of the Celebrated Chas. R. Thatcher, Charlwood & Son, Melbourne, 1857, pages 7-8

Editor’s notes:
Hoyle’s prints = Hoyle’s Prints was a well-known factory in Manchester (UK) which manufactured dyed and printed fabrics

joed = a call of derision; from the call of warning regarding police on the diggings searching for diggers without gold licences, where a general call would go out amongst the diggers of “Joe”, being a reference to Governor Joseph LaTrobe

phaetons = light, open, four-wheeled horse-drawn carriages

’taturs = taters, potatoes

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