The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #154639   Message #3629300
Posted By: Sandra in Sydney
31-May-14 - 05:13 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Banks of the Reedy Lagoon
Subject: ADD Version: On the Banks of the Reedy Lagoon
& here's the earliest known version of the song, as located by Graeme Smith, a correspondent of OzCatter Mark Gregory & published by Mark on his Australian Folk Songs site

On The Banks Of The Reedy Lagoon


The bloom of the wattle sheds perfume around,
Enticing the bird and the bee ;
I lie at full length on the fern-covered ground
In the shade of a Kurrajong tree;
And high overhead I can hear a sweet strain
'Tis the butcher-bird singing a tune,
Spring, in her glory, has come back again
On the banks of the Reedy Lagoon.

My swag I have carried for many a mile,
My boots are worn out at the toes;
I'm dressing, this season, in different style,
To my dress of last season, God knows:
Away, sad reflections, I mean to be gay
As I was, on that morning is June,
In a Northern bay, on the coast, far away
From the banks of the Reedy Lagoon.

From over the mountain a westerly wind
Is bringing me pure oxygen;
I sigh for some salmon that's lately been tinned,
Or even the thigh of a hen.
My cooking utensils, I'm sorry to say,
Ah lacking a fork and a spoon.
I've dry bread and tea, in a battered jack shay
On the banks of the Reedy Lagoon.

I think of poor Edgar and Willie the brave,
Together we oft sang a song;
They're wrapped in the slumber that's found in the grave
Down them In the shades of Toowong.
That dark road I'll travel some day, soon or late,
Bus if death be tardy or soon,
My probable fate I'll not contemplate
On the bank of the Reedy Lagoon.

I wonder where's Frank ? Ah, could'nt he ride
And Georgie, the kind-hearted boy;
Old Jim, I heard lately has taken a bride
A benedict's life to enjoy.
And Jack, the big Scotchman ; I once heard 'em say,
He wrestled the famous Muldoon:
They're all far away, and I'm lonely to day
On the bank of the Reedy Lagoon.

Oh, where is the woman I often caressed -
The one with the dreamy sad eye;
She rests with her head on another man's breast,
She told me, when saying "Good-bye."
She'd love me and think of me, everywhere;
The jade has forgotten me soon.
(I didn't keep square.) But it's little I care
On the bank of the Reedy Lagoon.


From the Queensland Times 14 September 1893.

Redbank Plains.

Many thanks to Graeme Smith for sending me his discovery of this song. He writes:

You might be interested in an early printed version, probably the original, of The Banks of the Reedy Lagoon
Later it is sent in to Vennard for his On the Track column, in the North Queenland Register, (and other papers that ran it) in 1923, and it was republished in one of his "Bill Boyang" Bush Recitations volumes, in 1933.

An article in 1935 identifies the author of the poem as Jimmy Connors, who is described as a prolific contributer of newspaper verses, and noted as having died a couple of years before. The song has been collected a few times from oral sources, all in Queensland or NT I think. Some of the wryness of the original verses has not survived oral transmission. Current singers might like to use some of the original text.


Joe, I've emailed Hrothgar to see if he has that songbook