The Stockman’s Song [song, 3 June 1863]

[Editor: This song was published in The Empire (3 June 1863). It was also included in Banjo Paterson’s collection, The Old Bush Songs (1905), under the title of “The Australian Stockman”, with minor variations.]

The Stockman’s Song

The sun peers o’er the wooded ridge,
And through the forest dense,
Its golden edge from the mountain ledge
Looks down on the stock-yard fence!
Looks down,
Looks down on the stock-yard fence!
And dark creeks rush through the tangled brush
Where shuddering shadows throng,
Until they chime with the rude, rough rhyme
Of the wild goburra’s* song!
Till they chime — Ha, ha!
Till they chime — Ha, ha!
With the wild goburra’s song!

The night-owl to her home hath fled —
To shun the glorious pomp
Of the golden day, she speeds away
To her nest in the tea-tree swamp!
Away!
To her nest in the tea-tree swamp!
The dingo looks with a timid stare,
As he stealthily prowls along;
And his pattering feet in concert beat
With the wild goburra’s song!
Till they beat — Ha, ha!
Till they beat — Ha, ha!
With the wild gobarra’a song!

O let them boast their city’s wealth
Who toil in the dusty town! —
Give me the beam on the forest stream,
And the range’s dark-faced frown! —
The stream,
And the range’s dark-faced frown;
Where our steeds, as they pass o’er the quivering grass,
And the crack of the sounding thong,
Shall bid the startled echoes join
The wild goburra’s song!
Till they join — Ha, ha!
Till they join — Ha, ha!
The wild goburra’s song!

* “Goburra” is the aboriginal, and certainly more euphonious name of the bird commonly known as the “laughing jackass.”



Source:
The Empire (Sydney, NSW), Wednesday 3 June 1863, page 5

Editor’s notes:
This song was published in The Empire (Sydney, NSW, Wednesday 3 June 1863, page 5), in a column entitled “Australian bush-ballads: By F. S. Wilson”, although that attribution could possibly apply to the column rather than the songs included therein. Although, F. S. Wilson is listed as the author of the song in several other newspapers; see: The Darling Downs Gazette and General Advertiser (Toowoomba, Qld., Thursday 18 June 1863, page 4); The Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW) Saturday 6 March 1875, page 380; and The Warwick Argus (Warwick, Qld., Saturday 21 December 1895, page 3 of the Christmas Supplement). However, The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld., Saturday 25 August 1894, page 356) credits authorship of the song to Charles Rayner.

goburra = an Aboriginal word for “kookaburra” (also known as a “laughing jackass”)

thong = a narrow strip of material, especially leather (used for binding or lashing), or a whip of plaited leather or cord (such as used for a stockwhip)

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