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Lyr/Chords Req: Nine Miles from Gundagai

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NINE MILES FROM GUNDAGAI


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Lyr Req: Nine Miles from Gundagai (trad Australia) (22)


John MacKenzie 08 Jul 01 - 11:36 AM
wildlone 08 Jul 01 - 12:41 PM
Snuffy 08 Jul 01 - 07:35 PM
Helen 08 Jul 01 - 08:25 PM
Bob Bolton 08 Jul 01 - 11:44 PM
Bob Bolton 08 Jul 01 - 11:51 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Jul 01 - 12:04 AM
Snuffy 10 Jul 01 - 08:24 AM
Bob Bolton 10 Jul 01 - 09:41 AM
Bob Bolton 10 Jul 01 - 11:45 PM
Finny 11 Jul 01 - 12:23 AM
rock chick 11 Jul 01 - 02:18 PM
Bob Bolton 21 Jul 01 - 10:00 AM
Charley Noble 21 Jul 01 - 11:54 AM
Bob Bolton 22 Jul 01 - 08:32 AM
Bob Bolton 23 Jul 01 - 11:30 PM
Charley Noble 24 Jul 01 - 08:37 AM
Bob Bolton 24 Jul 01 - 09:28 AM
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Subject: Australian silly song words
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 Jul 01 - 11:36 AM

Back in the 70s there was a really funny singer from Oz who used to sing a song called "The dog shat in my tucker-box five miles from Gundagai" [spelling?] I remember that he said the idea came from looking at a statue of a bushman near the aforementioned town, which also includes his dog sitting on his tucker-box. Also about the same time there was a couple around from Oz called John & Juanita are they still around in the antipodes?

Regards Jock


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: wildlone
Date: 08 Jul 01 - 12:41 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Snuffy
Date: 08 Jul 01 - 07:35 PM

It's in the DT database as 'NINE miles from Gundagai', not FIVE

Wassail! V


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Helen
Date: 08 Jul 01 - 08:25 PM

Yes, there is a song about the dog sitting on the tucker (food) box, and there is a statue of dog and tucker box near Gundagai. I've never heard the parody you talk about, though, and I can't help with the John & Juanita question, although their names ring a faint bell in my memory.

Another Oz-Cat will probably know, I'm sure.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 Jul 01 - 11:44 PM

G'day Giok/Jock,

I'm afraid the bells are just as faint for me as for Helen. From what part of this large and sparsely populated island continent did they hail?

BTW: Helen, back before we all became politically correct, every country kid knew damn well what the dog did ... and would never be forgiven for! The late John Meredith, folksong collector and godfather of the Australian folk song revival, told be that as a kid in Holbrook (southern New South Wales country town) he commonly say toy, cast metal "Gundagai Dogs" ... rough cast, squatting dogs that came with a little bag of chemical pellets.

These pellets were inserted into the appropriate rear aperture and set alight, whereupon the smouldering composition expanded, oozing out suggestive blobs of brown matter while the kids laughed so energetically they only narrowly missed emulating the display.

Anyawy Jock, the idea was not original to your singer and, far from parodying the statue, the statue is a monument to municipal squeamishness ... and parish pump rectitude.

Regards,

Bob Bolton

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 Jul 01 - 11:51 PM

G'day again esprit de l'escalier ...

As I posted the last, I wondered whether John & Juanita might be an alias, or mis-remembering of Sean & Sonya, who did a fair line in soncy and (just vaguely) risqué songs back then(?).

Regards, (just once, this time),

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Jul 01 - 12:04 AM

G'day again,

I just looked at Nine Miles from Gundagai, cited above by Snuffy. That is pretty well the old folk song (give or take all the natural variations) and it is not a parodody of Gundagai ... it is older. The note of explanation is pretty well accurate as well.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Snuffy
Date: 10 Jul 01 - 08:24 AM

See this thread for a completely different version of The Road To Gundagai.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Jul 01 - 09:41 AM

G'day again,

Snuffy: I'm not sure where you are, but the song you post in that other thread is certainly a variant of the well known Australian song normally called Lazy Harry's. That is set in the the Gundagai area ... but is unrelated to either of the Gundagai songs mentioned so far.

Interestingly, Australian folklorist the late John Meredith was down in Gundagai in the late 1960s with my brother Eric. They were talking to a bloke in a pub and mentioned old songs ... and asked him if he knew the song Lazy Harry's. He replied that he did not ... but that his dad had been known as Lazy Harry ... and he had run a grog shanty (an unlicensed liquor shot in improvised premises) on golfields a few miles from Gundagai many years before.

He had apparently obtained supplies of grog from his father, who ran a pub in Gundagai. I published the story of this interview some years back in Singabout supplement to Mulga Wire magazine.

Anyway, I am intrigued by this Suffolk version of Lazy Harry's and will study it with great interest. As you say, three or four wars give ample opportunity for the song to travel between Australian and British troops ... but it is nevertheless fascinating.

BTW: It is interesting to note that John in Brisbane invoked my name in the first post on that thread and I didn't respond (I think I might have been away on holidays at the time ...? Sometimes you get trapped in the reall world.)

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Jul 01 - 11:45 PM

G'day again Snuffy,

I just noticed that, not only was that thread entirely during the time I was on holiday in 1999, but your interesting postscript was added while I was somewhere around South Australia, escaping from the Olympic Games hoohah! Oh well! that's what comes of being too much of a luddite (not to mention broke) to invest in a laptop and something more portable in an ISP.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Finny
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 12:23 AM

G'day, Nope, I'm sorry, I have no idea either. Sorry I can't help you there.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: rock chick
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 02:18 PM

Hi Giok

One of the fellows in the pub well(one of the pubs I play in)sung this song the other week, when i see him next I ask him for the words then send them to you. Hope to be in touch soon as.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 21 Jul 01 - 10:00 AM

G'day again Giok,

I looked back through my files to the article I mentioned above. There were two revelations for me: 1: I misremembered the location - the bloke was from Gundagai, but now (then) living in retirement in Sydney.

2: He actually named the bullocky that he reckoned wrote The Dog Shat in the Tuckerbox ... a long time before your 70s Oz singer ... Here is the text of my 1984 article, quoting from the 1967 item:

The Son of Lazy Harry

(Editor's Note: This is an article found in the Club's files as part of SINGABOUT vol. 6, number 3. This issue of Singabout was in preparation when Editorial difficulties led to the cessation of publishing. This is too good a story about one of our folk songs' legendary characters to leave mouldering in the files, especially when a certain well-known Melbourne band, in their songbook, have such a specious story about Lazy Harry that we are asked to believe that two shearers, anxious to deliver their pay cheques from Roto to the fleshpots of Sydney, having passed straight through Wagga Wagga should somehow find themselves in the Snowy Mountains whilst trying to reach Gundagai … and that's before they had boozed their pay in Lazy Harry's shanty!

Ah well … to put the record straight:

Discovered at the Five Dock Hotel, and interviewed by John Meredith, John Robertson and Eric Bolton, eighty-years old Albert Morley (1968 ) was being quizzed about the early days of Gundagai. Had he ever heard, we asked, of a song called Lazy Harry's?

"Lazy Harry?" he replied, "He was my father."

Whether his father really was the hero of the song, or whether he simply adopted the nickname; either is possible. Albert's father was Henry Morley of Mingay's Flat, where he lived on a "miner's right" lease at the nine mile. Lazy Harry's father owned a hotel known as the Noah's Ark, because it had withstood the great flood of 1852. It was on the banks of Morley Creek, not far from where it joins the Murrumbidgee River at Gundagai, and the remains of the cellar can be seen to the present day.

Lazy Harry did not have a pub, according to Albert Morley, but the song suggests that perhaps he sold grog on the sly to travellers on the road … perhaps obtained from his father's cellars! He was a talented musician, and was famous in the district for his musical performances on the cross-cut saw. Later in life he removed to the Jackalass goldfield at South Gundagai. The young man who worked as topman on the shaft with Lazy Harry, Mick Carberys, is now ninety-six, lives at Chatswood and attends the same occupational therapy class as the son of his old-time boss!

Albert Morley told us that the famous verse known as Bill The Bullocky or The Dog Shat in the Tuckerbox, was composed by a bullocky named Bill Limbeck.

Source: Singabout, October 1984, ppS1 & S4

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Jul 01 - 11:54 AM

Bob, I've been sifting through websites, books, and various brochures and not a one locates Gundagai or mentions its claim to fame. So, I take it, the town's somewhere near Wagga Wagga? Judy and I are still planning our November-December trek to your vast country.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 22 Jul 01 - 08:32 AM

G'day Charlie Noble,

Nice to hear from you you! I've appreciated your posts on nautical themes, but sometimes kept quiet because that's not my strong point.

Gundagai is about 65 kilometres (Er ... a bit under 40 miles?) east of Wagga Wagga and they are both on the Murrumbidgee River. Wagga Wagga is on the Olympic Highway and Gundagai is on the Hume Highway, the main (inland) road south. Whenever I drive from Sydney to Melbourne, I stop overnight at Gundagai, a very pretty town. In its past it has been a goldfield town - or, rather, had goldfields around it. Nowadays it is principally a wool-growing town.

You might have noticed the article's reference to the great flood of 1852 - this was disastrous because the early settlers took all the rich flood plains - farmed the -and built their houses - and the town there. The local Waradjuri people advised against it, but were laughed at. When the big flood came, hundreds were swept away - and the aboriginal Waradjuri, particularly one named Yarri, saved at least 80 settlers, picking them up in their bark canoes. Their descendants are probably still asking "Why?".

A friend of mine, singer/songwriter John Warner, has written a song cycle about these events, called Yarri of the Waradjuri and I hope that it can get off the ground and been seen and heard around the world.

Other than real events, like floods and gold, most Australians only know of Gundagai from a couple of songs. I guess the name works well in song ... can we argue?

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: Lyr Add: NINE MILES FROM GUNDAGAI / THE WAY TO...
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 23 Jul 01 - 11:30 PM

G'day again Charlie Noble

I had a think about why we hear so much about Gundagai … and bullockies (bullock-team drivers - and I suspect that it is because Gundagai was a natural camping spot for bullock teams plying north to Sydney or south to Albury on the Murray River .. and even on to Melbourne. Gundagai was built where the main southern road from Sydney, what is now laughingly called the Hume Highway, crossed the Murrumbidgee River, the second largest river in the state (and the largest is only just in the state - as it forms the border with Victoria ... but is totally claimed by New South Wales!).

Until 1867, there was no bridge and crossing was by ferry p- a daunting job for a bullock team … probably involving unloading the highest part of the load to lower the centre of gravity … and not upset the ferry. Bullock teams must have spent a long time camped in close proximity and the area became a centre of 'bullocky folklore' - a pretty robust animal! Here are a few items that cover the field, more or less:

Nine Miles From Gundagai

I'm used to punching bullock teams
Across the hills and plains.
I've teamed outback these forty years
In blazing droughts and rains.
I've lived a heap of trouble down
Without a blooming lie,
But I can't forget what happened me
Nine miles from Gundagai.

'Twas getting dark, the team got bogged,
The axle snapped in two,
I lost my matches and my pipe -
Oh, what was I to do?
The rain came on, 'twas bitter cold
And hungry too was I -
And the dog sat in the tucker box
Nine miles from Gundagai.

Some blokes I know have stacks of luck
No matter how they fall,
But there was I - lor, luvva duck,
No blessed luck at all:
I couldn't make a pot of tea
Nor get my trousers dry,
And the dog sat in the tucker box
Nine miles from Gundagai.

I can forgive the blinking team,
I can forgive the rain:
I can forgive the dark and cold
And go through it again:
I can forgive my rotten luck,
But hang me till I die -
I can't forgive that blooming dog
Nine miles from Gundagai.

This is the text published in Singabout, volume 2, number 4, 1958, p. 15. The page appears to be based on a Bushwhacker Broadside, one of the Bush Music Club's series of songs, with music and illustrations. It may have been trimmed and rearranged to fit the page. There is no supporting text and I presume the editor, John Meredith, expected this to be taken as a "standard", needing no explanation.

I am interested to note that the verses 2 and 3 have it that " … the dog sat in the tucker box …", not on it. This suggests to me shorthand for the fact that singers often slipped in the missing 'h' and made it that " … the dog shat in the tucker box …". After all, the last verse is a litany of the things this bullocky can forgive … but not the blooming (bloody!) dog.

It should be noted that the name and address of the Assistant Editor appears on the back of this magazine as the publisher; that is, the person authorised to publish. Back in 1958, this was granted after applying, not to the State or Federal Government, but to the British Government - in the person of the Australian representative of the Colonial Secretary's Department - and paying a fee of £5. The right was not absolute and the licence could be revoked if the Government - or the British Government - didn't like something that you had printed.

This is probably a fragment from a genuine bullock-drivers' version … and it has certainly been bowdlerised in the collection, collation and publication. Bullockies were never noted for their gentle language!

Bullocky Bill
Anon.

As I came down Talbingo Hill
I heard a maiden cry.
"There's goes old Bill the Bullocky
He's bound for Gundagai!'

A better poor old beggar
Never cracked an honest crust,
A tougher poor old beggar
Never drug a whip through dust.

His team got bogged on the Five-mile Creek,
Bill lashed and swore and cried,
If Nobbie don't get me out of this
I'll tattoo his bloody hide."

But Nobbie strained and broke the yoke
And poked out the leader's eye,
Then the dog sat on the tucker-box
Five miles from Gundagai.

"The history of this song is discussed in a pamphlet printed by the Gundagai Independent (Gundagai, New South Wales), in which it is said to be fragments of a lost original pieced together by Tom Kinnane, an Independent reporter. Later versions and variations exist, but the full original has not yet been recovered." (Note from the bookOld Bush Songs)
"
From Old Bush Songs, edited by Douglas Stewart and Nancy Keesing, Angus & Robertson, Australia, 1957 et seq, p128. This is an expanded version of the collection of popular songs collected and edited by 'Banjo' Paterson and published by Angus & Robertson in 1905. Unfortunately, the text does not indicate which items come from the older book and which are from Stewart & Keesing's researches. I need to get hold of a copy of the original book.



This is just for the interest - rather more "learned" kind of bullocky … resorts to lawyers, not fists and boots! However, it gives some idea of the territory and the travelling times before the bridge (and the great flood of 1852).

The Way to Gundagai

Charles MacAlister

Oh, boys, you've heard of Gundagai - to see that town I meant;
And so, upon the southern road towards Gundagai I went.
At Sydney town with merchandise I loaded up my dray,
And signed to get to Gundagai in three weeks to a day:
But keep to that agreement it was in vain to try,
When in the rains of forty-nine I left for Gundagai.

To view the Murrumbidgee banks I had made up my mind,
So bid good-bye to all my friends, and left them far behind;
And by and by I camped a night at Jugiong so green:
"A pretty place - but Gundagai's a far more pretty scene"-
That was what the people said as they came passing by,
When we camped at "Sugar" O'Brien's Creek, two miles from Gundagai.

But when I got to Gundagai, so far, and far away,
My Mr Henry Turnbull he just refused to pay
He said. "I've missed the races here, and all because of you,
I will not pay a halfpenny, you're three days overdue."
"Well, then, Mr Turnbull, you're a paltry rogue," said I,
As homeward bound I started from the town of Gundagai.

When next the spires of Goulburn town most joyfully I hailed,
To Mr Walsh, the lawyer there, the man who never failed,
I took my tale of injury, and Mr Walsh full soon
Made Mr Henry Turnbull sing quite another tune;
For Mr Walsh "adduced the Law", and thus the foe at bay,
Alias Henry Turnbull, made haste his debt to pay.
And now a moral I would add - let Trader never try
To "sharp" an honest teamster on the road to Gundagai.

From MacAlister's Old Pioneering Days in the Sunny South. MacAlister says the song was based on fact and that "it had a slight 'vogue' among the carriers on the main southern road for some years".


This is the only one many people have seen. Jack Moses was a lovely old bloke, keen on Australia … but he wrote very tame things for children … and they must have appealed to politicians! This is the justification for the kitschy statue of the faithful dog, guarding his master's tucker box (food supply) - but note that not even Jack Moses came up with that story … probably the Gundagai kindergarten teacher!

This comes from Jack Moses' poetry collection of the same name.

Nine Miles from Gundagai
Jack Moses

I've done my share of shearing sheep,
Of droving and all that,
And bogged a bullock-team as well,
On a Murrumbidgee flat.
I've seen the bullock stretch and strain,
And blink his bleary eye,
And the dog sit on the tucker box,
Nine miles from Gundagai.

I've been jilted, jarred, and crossed in love,
And sand-bagged in the dark,
Till if a mountain fell on me
I'd treat it as a lark.
It's when you've got your bullocks bogged
That's the time you flog and cry,
And the dog sits on the tucker box,
Nine miles from Gundagai.

We've all got our little troubles,
In life's hard, thorny way.
Some strike them in a motor car
And others in a dray.
But when your dog and bullocks strike,
It ain't no apple pie,
And the dog sat on the tucker box
Nine miles from Gundagai.

But that's all past and dead and gone,
And I've sold the team for meat.
And perhaps, some day where I was bogged,
There'll be an asphalt street.
The dog, ah! well, he got a bait,
And. thought he'd like to die,
So I buried him in the tucker box,
Nine miles from Gundagai.

Enjoy!

Regards
Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 08:37 AM

Bob, maybe Gundagai would be the appropriate spot to release "Dead Dog Scrumpi" if that "cider song" is not already alive and well in the wilds of Australia. Of course, I understand, that exotic imports have already sorely stressed your fragile environment.;-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Australian silly song words
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 24 Jul 01 - 09:28 AM

G'day Charlie,

I tried to look up what the Nine Miles to Gundagai in the DT looked like, but that was about when Mudcat sank to the bottom over the US weekend. Anyway, it is essentially the same. The comments about which song (Nine Miles to Gundagai or Road to Gundagai [commonly called Lazy Harry's] here) is a parody of which are off line.

The two songs mentioned are definitely different songs, each with long traceable histories of variants and modification to new circumstances.

We do drink a bit of scrumpy here ... I saw (drank) more of it in Tasmania ("The Apple Isle", as it was known before the Tourist Department came up with something more ridiculous) although I prefer better grades of cider. I have heard the song (or one on the general 'dead dog' tale) ... again down in Tasmania.

Australia has been suffering from exotic imports ever since the first lot ... eleven shiploads of Pommies (English) in 1788 - but I don't intend to go back to anscestral England ... Ireland ... Netherlands ... ?!?.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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