Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Australian drink popular in 1870s

radriano 05 Jan 11 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,Grishka 05 Jan 11 - 04:41 PM
oldhippie 05 Jan 11 - 04:42 PM
The Sandman 05 Jan 11 - 05:30 PM
Allan C. 05 Jan 11 - 06:17 PM
Jack Campin 05 Jan 11 - 07:24 PM
SINSULL 05 Jan 11 - 07:32 PM
Bob Bolton 05 Jan 11 - 07:44 PM
Gibb Sahib 05 Jan 11 - 08:29 PM
Bob Bolton 05 Jan 11 - 09:43 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Jan 11 - 10:03 PM
GUEST,Grishka 06 Jan 11 - 06:31 AM
radriano 06 Jan 11 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Grishka 06 Jan 11 - 11:55 AM
Bob the Postman 06 Jan 11 - 12:53 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Jan 11 - 02:27 PM
radriano 06 Jan 11 - 02:36 PM
radriano 06 Jan 11 - 02:41 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Jan 11 - 03:06 PM
radriano 06 Jan 11 - 04:04 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: radriano
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:49 PM

There's a version of the sea shanty "South Australia" that mentions an old Australian drink popular around the 1870s called "sheoak."

Anyone heard of this?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:41 PM

"Julia slings the sheoak at the bar, and welcomes sailors from afar."

She-oak: female of an oak? ;-)

Aussies are known to drink almost anything, if it's mixed with enough alcohol, but I've never heard of a sheoak drink. My guess: she metaphorically puts her sling around a beam of sheoak wood, i.e. tightens herself to the bar.

Experts are required. Also, the question about the "ruler king" is still open.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: oldhippie
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:42 PM

Probably a concoction made from the fruit of the Casuarina tree. My guess is it was fermented or had alcohol added.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 05:30 PM

It was just a Kerryman with false teeth, trying to say soak.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: Allan C.
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 06:17 PM

Maybe oldhippie is on the right track. All of the references I have found point to a hardwood tree that grows in Australia and a number of island countries to the west. The list includes Tonga where an emetic was made from the bark and the Cook Islands where it is used to make a treatment for urinary tract problems.
See this link and scroll to page 9.

I didn't find any information about any part of it being used to make any sort of alcoholic beverage; but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be possible. On the other hand, the wood would make for a very pretty bar or bar rail. I don't really see how the lyric fits that idea, though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 07:24 PM

The OED says it's a "slang name for colonial beer", and doesn't try to guess the connection, if any, with the tree.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: SINSULL
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 07:32 PM

Screech, maybe.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 07:44 PM

G'day all,

The 'common name' "she-oak" was applied to the casuarina, which scientists named (in Latin) for its leaves' resemblance to the feathers of the cassowary ... a large, flightless bird of Australian and New Guinea.

Its timber has a grain resembling that of oak ... but it was considered of lesser strength ... so they added the prefix "she-" ... to indicate 'weaker / inferior' (well, they were a bunch of blokes ... !).

Anyway, the Australian National Dictionary (an Oxford University Press publication with full OED historical treatment of all distinctively Australian words, terms and usages) goes on to:
2. transf. Beer brewed in Australia.

A nautical usage (well ... at least in Australian ports ...) is:

3. Special Comb. she-oak net, a safety net slung under the gangway of a ship (see quots).

This is related back to the beer ... not the timber:

"1934 T. Wood Cobbers 163 The 'She-oak Net' … is to catch a man if he slips when going aboard; and the name … is in memory of She-oak beer, which used to be, and may be still, a powerful agent in making him slip."

All or none of this may be related to enigmatic reference in the song!

Regard(les)s,

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 08:29 PM

'Colonial beer'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 09:43 PM

G'day again,

Sorry: esprit de l'escalier trips me up again ...

GUEST,Grishka post, up near the top, quoted:

"Julia slings the sheoak at the bar, and welcomes sailors from afar."

It might be worth remarking that "... slings ..." in this sense means "... serves up ..." That would be common Australian usage and probably comes over directly from English slang forms ... but there may be readers in the bigger world of Mudcat that don't make the link, thus:

"My guess: she metaphorically puts her sling around a beam of sheoak wood, i.e. tightens herself to the bar. "

Anyway: ... Your health in sheoak! ...

Regards,

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 10:03 PM

Slings the hash (burgers, whatever) in US of A and Canada. I guess all English-speaking people use it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 06:31 AM

Bob and Q, thanks; I knew that my guess was built on shallow grounds. Anyway, I find the "ruler king" question even more interesting. The version we are talking about is of course apocryphal, another line being "Sheoak is our ruler king!"

Which ruler would singers of the usual version think of (whereas the oldest sources have something like "rolling king", according to the other thread)?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: radriano
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 11:25 AM

Stop shanghaing the thread!

All I asked about was the drink called "sheoak" - that's it.

Don't make me take a roller to youse guys.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 11:55 AM

Two more verses found on the 'net:
In the arms of girls we'll dance and sing,
For sheoak will be Ruler King.

Drunk! For sheoak's gone to our head,
The girls can put us all to bed. [without fear of being molested?]
Note the capitalisation: sheoak does not seem to be a trademark. My second uninformed guess: slang for cheap beer. Julia, of course, is the barmaid.

Feel free to post your answers where you think they belong. I trust the elves to list all the related threads.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 12:53 PM

Re "sling" -- In a different colonial backwater, after a piss-up at The Grand Hotel the proprietor "gets busy a-slinging the ink", in other words, writing up the revellers' bills.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 02:27 PM

"Ruler king" has its own thread.
"Sling" is no big deal.
"She-oak" comes up with quite a few good hits if you search with the hyphen in the middle. It was high-proof keg beer, produced locally.
The "sheoak" lyrics come from F.P. Harlow's book, not "found on the net," and any speculation about them should use his text as a source.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: radriano
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 02:36 PM

Good Lord!

An actual answer to the original question.

Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: radriano
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 02:41 PM

The "sheoak" lyrics are also in the original hard-bound edition of Stan Hugill's book "Shanties from the Seven Seas." Hugill does note that that version of "South Australia" comes from F.P. Harlow's book, "The Making of a Sailor."

The soft black cover version of Hugill's book produced by Mystic Seaport is abridged. That is not noted anywhere on the book but it is abridged.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 03:06 PM

Hi Richard,

Yes! Hugill reproduced the unique Harlow text in his original edition. It is a pretty valuable version because, although it wasn't published until later in the mid 20th century, it reflects Harlow's hearing of "South Australia" in the mid 1870s...and Harlow seems to been reasonably uninfluenced by other media. Happily then, it is independent from L.A. Smith's collected version, from "a coloured sailor at the Home," first published in 1888, and which seems to have greatly influenced things that came after. Harlow's is a real gem. And I recorded it. :-)

Gibb


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Australian drink popular in 1870s
From: radriano
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 04:04 PM

Before this disappears from view I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 25 February 1:29 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.