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AUSTRALIAN SONGS

Flash Jack
From Gundagai

traditional Australian song
composer unknown

There are over 30 old bush songs and poems about Gundagai.

What the words mean

  • Wolseleys ~ machine for shearing
  • B-bows ~ hand-shears
  • pinked, pinking ~ shorn the sheep so closely that the pink skin showed through.
  • "I rung Cudjingie shed" ~ the ringer or fastest shearer of the shed
  • "blued it in a week” ~ spent his earnings in a single week’s drunkenness.
  • “Whalin’ up the Lachlan.” ~ men who walked from station to station, looking for work, but never accepting any, would camp and fish for cod along the way. "Whaling up the Lachlan" refers to this
    practice.
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I’ve shore at Burrabogie, and I’ve shore at Toganmain,
I’ve shore at big Willandra and upon the old Coleraine,
But before the shearin’ was over I’ve wished myself back again
Shearin’ for old Tom Patterson, on the One Tree Plain.

All among the wool, boys,
Keep your wide blades full, boys,
I can do a respectable tally myself whenever I like to try,
But they know me round the back blocks as Flash Jack
    from Gundagai.

I’ve shore at big Willandra and I’ve shore at Tilberoo,
And once I drew my blades, my boys, upon the famed Barcoo,
At Cowan Downs and Trida, as far as Moulamein,
But I always was glad to get back again to the One Tree Plain.

All among the wool, boys,
Keep your wide blades full, boys,
I can do a respectable tally myself whenever I like to try,
But they know me round the back blocks as Flash Jack
   from Gundagai.

I’ve pinked ’em with the Wolseleys and I’ve rushed with B-bows,
    too,
And shaved ’em in the grease, my boys, with the grass seed
    showing through.
But I never slummed my pen, my lads, whate’er it might contain,
While shearin’ for old Tom Patterson, on the One Tree Plain.

I’ve been whalin’ up the Lachlan, and I’ve dossed on Cooper’s
    Creek,
And once I rung Cudjingie shed, and blued it in a week.
But when Gabriel blows his trumpet, lads, I’ll catch the morning
    train,
And I’ll push for old Tom Patterson’s, on the One Tree Plain.

 

As with most songs of this era, they were never written down when they were composed, but learned and passed from person to person by what they heard. So it was inevitable that there would arise different versions of the same song.

This song should not be confused with the poem The Road to Gundagai by Banjo Paterson which is quite different or the old bush song Along the Road to Gundagai. We also have on our website Nine Miles from Gundagai, Five Miles From Gundagai and Flash Jack From Gundagai.

That's a lot of Gundagai.

Disaster Hits Gundagai. In 25 June 1852 a flood swept away the town of Gundagai. It killed over 25% of the population, making it one of the biggest natural disasters in Australia's history. Three Aboriginal men are credited for rescuing over 40 townspeople. The men were honoured with bronze medallions.

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