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Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'

scouse 02 May 07 - 03:34 AM
Joe Offer 02 May 07 - 04:22 AM
scouse 02 May 07 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,Jon 03 May 07 - 06:15 AM
GUEST 03 May 07 - 09:55 AM
Fergie 03 May 07 - 11:25 AM
scouse 03 May 07 - 11:53 AM
Jim McLean 03 May 07 - 05:33 PM
GUEST 26 Jun 16 - 03:38 AM
Ian Hayden 26 Jun 16 - 08:10 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 26 Jun 16 - 08:52 AM
Megan L 26 Jun 16 - 03:59 PM
FreddyHeadey 27 Jun 16 - 04:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jun 16 - 08:49 PM
Gurney 28 Jun 16 - 04:51 AM
GUEST 28 Jun 16 - 06:51 AM
banjoman 29 Jun 16 - 05:28 AM
Helen 29 Jun 16 - 05:59 AM
Rumncoke 29 Jun 16 - 01:58 PM
Helen 29 Jun 16 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,Desi C 30 Jun 16 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Pat 01 Sep 16 - 11:21 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: scouse
Date: 02 May 07 - 03:34 AM

In Liverpool years ago there where fella's called a "Cockie." Watchmen. Anyone know the origin of the name. I have vague memories of sitting with one of these characters just after the war next to a large Brazier and drinking tea from metal cups an eatin' hot buttered toast .We've all heard of the Knocker-upper-man. Is there any songs about a "Cockie."?????
As Aye, Phil.


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Subject: ADD: From the Lambing to the Wool (Judy Small)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 May 07 - 04:22 AM

Hi, Phil - be sure to see the What's A Cockie/Cocky? thread. Eric Bogle uses the word in Now I'm Easy, using the word as an Australian term for "farmer."

I think Bok-Muir-Trickett recorded an Australian song that began "My father was a cocky..." - but I'm not finding that one, and my brain is too addled to find it without a proper search engine - but you will find the word in many songs at Mudcat.

Let's see - it's not Cockies of Bungaree. Ah, here it is - Judy Small's From the Lambing to the Wool:

^^
From the Lambing to the Wool
(Judy Small)

My father was a cocky as his father was before him
And I married me a cocky nearly fifty years ago
And I've lived here on this station and I've seen the seasons changing
From the drought round to the flooding, from the lambing to the wool
    And there've been times when I've wondered
    If it all was worth the doing
    And there've been times when I've thought
    This was the finest place there is
    For though the life here's never easy
    And the hours are long and heavy
    I'm quite contented nowadays
    To have joined my life to his
Together through the thirties while others' lives were broken
We worked from dawn to twilight to hold on to what was ours
And at night we'd sit exhausted and I'd stroke his dusty forehead
With him too tired to talk to me and me too tired to care
CHORUS

Then the children came unbidden bringing laughter to the homestead
And I thanked the Lord my sons were young, too young for battle then
And I counted myself lucky to lose no-one close to family
Though the neighbours lost their only son, sold up and moved to town
CHORUS

And the children have grown and left me for careers in town and city
And I'm proud of them but sadly for none chose station life
And now I smile to hear them talking of the hard slog in the office
For when I think of working hard I see a cocky and his wife
CHORUS

Copied from the "My Songbook" Website, www.mysongbook.de - verified in the CD booklet from Judy Small's The Best of the 80s CD. The song is also on the Harbors of Home CD by Bok, Muir, and Trickett; and on the Darkness Into Light CD by Priscilla Herdman.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: scouse
Date: 02 May 07 - 06:33 AM

Hi Joe,
    I think the word "Cockie," could well have traveled from England !!! reading the other threads they all point to Ozland.
   These Guys I'm talkin' about used to guard Building sites or Bomb sites as far as I can remember.I'm sure there must be others out there who remember them.
As Aye,
Phil.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 03 May 07 - 06:15 AM

Don't think Cocky in the Liverpool sense is related to the Australian farmer.

A cocky watchman is a caretaker, park keeper, building-site security person etc. Curtis Warren (drugs baron, currently serving a long prison sentence in Netherlands) was known as 'Cocky Watchman'. Don't know where it comes from, though.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 07 - 09:55 AM

Eric Bogle explains the Australian definition of Cocky as being a sneering term that smart city people used for simple farmers due to their propensity to keep cockatoos as pets. Cockatoo farmers became shortened to cockys. Never been to Aus myself but I do like the song.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: Fergie
Date: 03 May 07 - 11:25 AM

In Dublin when I was a child (1950's), on building sites and in areas where the Dublin Corporation was undertaking civic works, a night watchman would be employed as a sort of security guard. These watchmen would have a watchman's hut and a coke-burning brazier to keep warm and to boil up their billy-can for tea. My memory of a watchman's hut was that they were of similar size, shape and construction as a sentry box, but inside there was a wide plank bench used as a seat. The watchmen were invariably old and illclad and would nip down to the boozer for a pint at every opportunity. Everybody young or old always refered to them as "the gotchie" and I always presumed it was a humourous term derived from their supposed cry of victory when they apprehended young-fellas that were up to no good "I've got ye, I've got ye" which in a Dublin accent might come out as "I've gotchie"

Fergus


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: scouse
Date: 03 May 07 - 11:53 AM

Fergus,that's exactly what I was talking about ,you describe them completely,I used to know them in Liverpool as the "Cocky Watchman." Perhaps it had something to do with the Coke fire Brazier????
As Aye,


Phil


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: Jim McLean
Date: 03 May 07 - 05:33 PM

In Scotland we called them budgies, ie night watchmen. I have no idea where the name came from but it could be related in some way to birds? (Cockies?)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jun 16 - 03:38 AM

I heard the ditty "There once was a cocky watchman as a child in Liverpool in the 1940's.   It was one that my grandmother had heard in Victorian Liverpool.   I can only remember fragments e.g. "There once was a cocky watchman'''''''she cocked up the window and cocked out her arse."   It seemed to have a lot in common with a tale written by Chaucer.   Not that I realised that as a child.   Hopefully someone will be able to recall the whole thing - and tell us


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: Ian Hayden
Date: 26 Jun 16 - 08:10 AM

Australian slang:

1. a small scale farmer;

2. a look-out posted at an illegal gathering (in particular when gambling, esp. two-up) to warn of the approach of police (so called because the cockatoo is known for its habit of posting sentries to noisily warn the feeding flock of any approaching danger)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 26 Jun 16 - 08:52 AM

Bert Lloyd told me a Cockie was a small holder in Australia. Cockie is short for cockatoo, on the grounds that cockatoos are all that they used to raise on the farm. Once a year they would plough the land and once a year they would sow the corn and once a year the cockatoos would come down and eat it.
The Cockies were so poor that they even used to eat cockatoos. You catch your cockatoo pluck it and draw it then cover it in water in a pan. When the water is boiling you put a horseshoe in with the cockatoo. Bring the water back to boil, and when the horseshoe is soft give the cockatoo another ten minutes......
kind regards
Nick


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: Megan L
Date: 26 Jun 16 - 03:59 PM

Was the title perhaps old enough to be linked to cock fighting which being illegal would have posted watchmen


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 27 Jun 16 - 04:35 PM

I have a vague recollection of being told a cockie watchman would be wide awake, ear cocked, listening out as well as watching.
That was Liverpool too, late fifties.

Dictionary would back that up

1.1(Of a person) listen attentively to or for something:
she held up a finger for silence, cocking an ear to the background music

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/cock-one's-ear


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jun 16 - 08:49 PM

I've always thought the word was a variation of the Cockney use of "cock" as equivalent to "mate". Which might possibly relate to the term Cockney.

It also occurs to me that the Australian term might have some relation to the Irish term "culchie", which means much the same meaning.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: Gurney
Date: 28 Jun 16 - 04:51 AM

The cockney 'Cock' could be an abbreviation of 'me old cock sparrow' which they used to use to address a friend.

I wonder if there is any crossover to the northern term Marrow, also for friend or trusted workmate.

Nick Dow has the Oz term right. "Grand crop of cockatoos you have there, Blue!" The term is also used here in NZ for a farmer, imported of course.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 16 - 06:51 AM

Give the spread I suspect that the cockatoo and sparrow links are inferred from the word rather than the other way around.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: banjoman
Date: 29 Jun 16 - 05:28 AM

As a scouser born & bred , I always thought that the term "Cocky" was a derivative of the word "Coke" and referred to the coke braziers they sat and watched all night. i.e. "Cocke(y) Watchman.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: Helen
Date: 29 Jun 16 - 05:59 AM

Cockatoos screech loudly like banshees. You can't sneak up on them. They are cocky little buggers too. Very clever, and they can be taught to do tricks, or they do funny things out in the wild, like hanging upside down off a tree branch and swinging to and fro. Nature's clowns of the air. If they are flying way up high you just hear that raucous, unmusical squawk and wonder where it is coming from.

Budgies in Oz are budgerigars - small birds, usually minding their own business and not bothering anyone but they can set up a screech if they are disturbed by someone or something.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: Rumncoke
Date: 29 Jun 16 - 01:58 PM

Could the watchman making his rounds or patrolling the entrance have reminded observers of a cockerel strutting before his hens? Keeping poultry would have been quite common - my family kept hens and geese up until the later 1950s.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: Helen
Date: 29 Jun 16 - 04:31 PM

I'm just Googling to see what comes up:

Someone on this page says that the story is that the watchman had a cocked eye that looked sideways - so presumably they could see you coming from any direction.

cocky watchman - speculations about origins

A few pages suggest that cocky means bent, like a "bent copper" i.e. a corrupt police officer.

Rumncoke, a cockerel is a possible explanation. Chooks and geese make good security guards.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 30 Jun 16 - 08:54 AM

I've only heard it as an Australian for sheep herder or shepherd as In Eric Bogle's song Now I'm easy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Where did the 'Cockie.'
From: GUEST,Pat
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 11:21 PM

I was told by my Dad that it meant the cocky watchman was keeping an eye cocked for any trespassers on bombed out / building sites . There is also the saying '' keep an ear cocked'' meaning look out for hearing something .


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