The Broken-Down Squatter [song, 1905]

[Editor: This was published in The Old Bush Songs, edited by Banjo Paterson, 1905; previously published (without the chorus), under the title of “The Squatter’s Farewell”, in The Queenslander, 1 November 1884.]

The Broken-Down Squatter

(Air: “It’s a fine hunting day”)

Come, Stumpy, old man, we must shift while we can;
All your mates in the paddock are dead.
Let us wave our farewells to Glen Eva’s sweet dells
And the hills where your lordship was bred;
Together to roam from our drought-stricken home —
It seems hard that such things have to be,
And its hard on a “hoss” when he’s nought for a boss
But a broken-down squatter like me!

For the banks are all broken, they say,
And the merchants are all up a tree.
When the bigwigs are brought to the Bankruptcy Court,
What chance for a squatter like me.

No more shall we muster the river for fats,
Or spiel on the Fifteen-mile plain,
Or rip through the scrub by the light of the moon,
Or see the old stockyard again.
Leave the slip-panels down, it won’t matter much now;
There are none but the crows left to see,
Perching gaunt in yon pine, as though longing to dine
On a broken-down squatter like me.

Chorus: For the banks, &c.

When the country was cursed with the drought at its worst,
And the cattle were dying in scores,
Though down on my luck, I kept up my pluck,
Thinking justice might temper the laws.
But the farce has been played, and the Government aid
Ain’t extended to squatters, old son;
When my dollars were spent they doubled the rent,
And resumed the best half of the run.

Chorus: For the banks, &c.

’Twas done without reason, for leaving the season
No squatter could stand such a rub;
For it’s useless to squat when the rents are so hot
That one can’t save the price of one’s grub;
And there’s not much to choose ’twist the banks and the Jews
Once a fellow gets put up a tree;
No odds what I feel, there’s no court of appeal
For a broken-down squatter like me.

Chorus: For the banks, &c.

A. B. Paterson (editor). The Old Bush Songs, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1905, pages 56-57

Previously published (without the chorus; under the title of “The Squatter’s Farewell”) in:
The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld.), Saturday 1 November 1884, page 705
Also published in:
The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld.), Saturday 30 June 1894, page 1220
The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld.), Saturday 21 July 1894, page 116 [which has the following notation: “The author of “The Broken-down Squatter,” published on 30th June, is Mr. Charles A. Flower, of Durham Downs, who wrote the verses ten years ago and sent them to the Queenslander.”]


  1. Tom McCaffrey says:

    That last verse of “Broken Down Squatter’ is a slap against those of the Jewish faith–might have been considered OK in 1905, but shouldn’t be sung now! and you should know better than to print it!

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