The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168402   Message #4077946
Posted By: Stewie
02-Nov-20 - 07:20 PM
Thread Name: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
Subject: RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
CULLER'S LAMENT (Black Matai)
(P.Cape/D.Toms)

What are you singing, black matai, black matai
There's snow on the tops and the fire's burning down
What are you singing, east wind in the matai

Your love's left the station, she's gone to the town

What are you chattering, tall mountain birches
The wind's in the west and the rain's pelting down
The flash floods are coming, I've got to keep moving

Your love's left the station, she's gone to the town

What are you whispering, wind in the snowgrass
Combing the tussocks and smoothing them down
My love's hair was golden, like snowgrass in summer

Your love's left the station, she's gone to the town

Winds in the open tops what are you calling
There's deer in the valley, a thousand feet down
You cry on the cols and you shout on the ridges

My love's left the station, she's gone to the town

The stink of the deerskins, the screech of the keas
The eighty pound pack that keeps dragging me down
I'll get out of the mountains and back to the sheep yards

But my love's left the station, she's gone to the town

Youtube clip

Note:

Deer cullers hunt deer in the bush and mountains to reduce their numbers and thereby the damage they do to the environment. Nowadays, hunting is often done by helicopter, but cullers used to live lonely lives - in the wilderness for weeks at a time, getting supplies through high country stations and returning to town only after months of drying and packing skins. Deer were introduced for sport, but in the 1930s high country farmers and forest workers realised that the deer were a threat to farming and the land itself. They competed with sheep for grazing and destroyed bush and high country cover, leading to soil erosion. The deer culler was a 'good keen man', the phrase coming from a newspaper advertisement for cullers. They came from all backgrounds and were renowned for their humour and independence. From 'An Ordinary Joker:The life and songs of Peter Cape' p106.

Matai - (black pine) a major forest tree reaching 30m with a tall straight trunk.

Kea - native parrot, the world's only alpine parrot. 'the weight of the rifle' is often sung in place of 'the screech of the keas'

Col - a mountain pass or saddle

80 pound pack - the approx 40kg pack that carried essentials for the culler: food, clothes, ammunition, billy and plate.

Snowgrass - hardy alpine grass which grows in tussocks or clumps.

--Stewie.