The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #70028   Message #1192652
Posted By: Bob Bolton
24-May-04 - 09:14 AM
Thread Name: Lyr ADD: Overlanders
Subject: Lyr Add: THE OVERLANDER (trad. Australia)
G'day Rabbi-Sol, all & sundry ... and Hrothgar,

Most of the versions in this thread are modern reworks ... trimmed down to the attention span of modern audiences. There are two of the older (and much longer) versions reprinted in the Douglas Stewart and Nancy Keesing expanded version of 'Banjo' Paterson's 1905/12 Old Bush Songs:


There's a trade you all know well
It's bringing cattle over-
I'll tell you all about the time
When I became a drover.
I made up my mind to try the spec,
To the Clarence I did wander,
And bought a mob of duffers there
To begin as an overlander.
Chorus Pass the wine cup round, my
             Don't let the bottle stand there,
             For tonight we'll drink the health
             Of every overlander.

When the cattle were all mustered,
And the outfit ready to start,
I saw the lads all mounted,
With their swags left in the cart.
All kinds of men I had
From France, Germany, and Flanders;
Lawyers, doctors, good and bad,
In the mob of overlanders.

From the road I then fed out
When the grass was green and young:
When a squatter with curse and shout
Told me to move along.
I said, "You're very hard;
Take care, don't raise my dander,
For I'm a regular knowing card,
The Queensland overlander."

Tis true we pay no licence,
And our run is rather large;
'Tis not often they can catch us,
So they cannot make a charge.
They think we live on store beef,
But no, I'm not a gander;
When a good fat stranger joins the mob,
"He'll do," says the overlander.

One day a squatter rode up.
Says he, "You're on my run;
I've got two boys as witnesses.
Consider your stock in pound."
I tried to coax, thence bounce him,
But my tin I had to squander,
For he put threepence a head
On the mob of the overlander.

The pretty girls in Brisbane
Were hanging out their duds.
I wished to have a chat with them,
So steered straight for the tubs.
Some dirty urchins saw me,
And soon they raised my dander,
Crying, "Mother, quick! take in the clothes,
Here comes an overlander!"

In town we drain the wine cup,
And go to see the play,
And never think to be hard up
For how to pass the day.
Each has a sweetheart there,
Dressed out in all her grandeur-
Dark eyes and jet black flowing hair.
"She's a plum," says the overlander.

Substantially from Paterson's Old Bush Songs, but revised from another version in The Queenslanders' New Colonial Camp Fire Song Book.

(Another version)
(Air - King of the Cannibal Islands)

Come all you lads who long to roam
And cannot live at ease at home,
But wish to cross the salt-sea foam,
In foreign lands to wander.
I know a life will suit you well,
That from all others bears the bell,
Pitch pen and ink and books to h-],
And join an overlander.

Chorus So let the bottle quickly pass,
            And every man fill up his glass,
            And drink to every pretty lass
            Who loves an overlander.

No bounds have we to our estates
From Normanton to Bass's Straits;
We're not fenced in with walls or gates-
No Monarch's realms are grander.
Our sheep and cattle eat their fill,
And wander blithely at their will
O'er forest, valley, plain, or hill,
Free as an overlander.

The youth of Scotland, long ago,
Were wont-as doubtless you may know
To march abroad to meet the foe,
In Germany or Flanders.
No mercenaries now they need,
For pay, or love, or fame to bleed,
So let them hasten here with speed,
And go as overlanders.

We pay no licence nor assess
Our flocks-they never grow much less
But gather on the road I guess,
As onward still we wander.
We vote assessments all a sham,
Nor care for licences a flam,
For free selectors not a d--n,
Says every overlander.

The squatters, when our flocks they spy,
To hunt us off their runs will try;
With me that game is all my eye,
And raises soon my dander.
I gammon them a flock to lose,
To look for them they can't refuse,
While I pick out the spot I choose,
And they curse the overlander.

One day I went to Sydney port,
Resolved to have some jolly sport.
Abashed I was by this report,
And looked just like a gander.
A lady (?) in a dirty gown-
Out of a window looking down-
Cried, "Polly, quick! I'll bet a crown
That cove's an overlander."

And when to see the play I go,
The naughty females tease me so,
And one cries out, "Oh here's a go",
And asks me what I'll stand her.
Says she, "Now come along with me,
From dancers all I'll keep you free,
For well I know you're on the spree
'Cos you're an overlander."

I scan the boxes with my glass,
And when I see a pretty lass,
I step up to her, bold as brass,
And to a seat I hand her.
And after that I perhaps make free
To call next day, and stop to tea.
She don't object, but says, "I see
That you're an overlander."

Then back to Moreton Bay I come,
But cannot rest content at home;
I feel again the itch to roam,
And to the bush I wander.
Perhaps I'll settle by and by,
But meanwhile think it's all my eye,
And think that I will live and die
A jolly overlander.

This version from The Native Companion Songster.

Gerry Hallom does a very nice version of the second of these ... to a rather free interpretation of the tune of King of the Cannibal Islands (it's on an LP I've had for decades ... and (I think) the Musica Pangaea CD Undiscovered Australia.


Bob Bolton