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AUSTRALIAN SONGS

Australia's
On The Wallaby

traditional Australian song
composer unknown

What the words mean

  • "on the wallaby" ~ travel outback as a swaggie or sundowner (tramp and casual workers).
  • "on the wallaby track" and "hump the drum" mean the same thing.
  • billy ~ a tin can with a wire handle or a pot. To make tea, water was boiled in it and a handful of tea thrown in.
  • dingo ~ tawny-yellow native Australian wild dog
  • brolga ~ an Australian crane known for it's elegant mating dance.


A Gallipoli 1915 Poster

The old man's gone in search for gold,
The claim has proved a duffer,
They search for gold in the rain and cold,
And they are the ones that suffer,
(They fought for freedom for themselves,
Themselves and mates to toil,
But Australia's sons are weary
And the billy's on the boil).

Australia's on the wallaby
Just listen to the cooey,
The kangaroo he packs his port
And the emu shoulders bluey,
The curlew sings his lonely tune
Besides the long lagoon,
And the brolga does his last-lay dance
To the lyrebirds mocking tune.

The pigeon coos, the bats and now
The pelican and the shags
The Malee-hen and platypus
Are rolling up their swags,
The boomerang is whizzing round,
The dingo scratches gravel,
The possum, bear and bandicoot,
Are always on the travel.

There's tiger-snakes and damper, boys
And what's that on the coals?
There's drought and floods and ragged duds
And dried-up waterholes,
Sun-scorched plains and shadeless trees,
And asking us to toil.
Australia's sons are weary,
And the billy's on the boil.

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