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AUSTRALIAN SONGS

The Old
Bark Hut

traditional Aussie song
composer unknown

What the words mean

  • billy ~ a tin can with a wire handle or a pot.
    To make tea, boil the water and throw in a handful of tea.

Oh, my name is Bob the Swagman, before you all I stand,
And I’ve had many ups and downs while travelling through the land.
I once was well-to-do, my boys, but now I am stumped up,
And I’m forced to go on rations in an old bark hut.

In an old bark hut. In an old bark hut.
I’m forced to go on rations in an old bark hut.

Ten pounds of flour, ten pounds of beef, some sugar and some tea,
That’s all they give to a hungry man, until the Seventh Day.
If you don’t be mighty sparing, you’ll go with a hungry gut —
For that’s one of the great misfortunes in an old bark hut.

In an old bark hut. In an old bark hut.
For that’s one of the great misfortunes in an old bark hut.

The bucket you boil your beef in has to carry water, too,
And they’ll say you’re getting mighty flash if you should ask for two.
I’ve a billy, and a pint pot, and a broken-handled cup,
And they all adorn the table in the old bark hut.

In an old bark hut. In an old bark hut.
And they all adorn the table in the old bark hut.

Faith, the table is not made of wood, as many you have seen —
For if I had one half so good, I’d think myself serene —
’Tis only an old sheet of bark – God knows when it was cut —
It was blown from off the rafters of the old bark hut.

In an old bark hut. In an old bark hut.
It was blown from off the rafters of the old bark hut.

And of furniture, there’s no such thing, ’twas never in the place,
Except the stool I sit upon – and that’s an old gin case.
It does us for a safe as well, but you must keep it shut,
Or the flies would make it canter round the old hark hut.

In an old bark hut. In an old bark hut.
Or the flies would make it canter round the old bark hut.

If you should leave it open, and the flies should find your meat,
They’ll scarcely leave a single piece that’s fit for man to eat.
But you mustn’t curse, nor grumble – what won’t fatten will fill up —
For what’s out of sight is out of mind in an old bark hut.

In an old bark hut. In an old bark hut.
For what’s out of sight is out of mind in an old bark hut.

In the summer time, when the weather’s warm, this hut is nice and cool,
And you’ll find the gentle breezes blowing in through every hole.
You can leave the old door open, or you can leave it shut,
There’s no fear of suffocation in the old bark hut.

In an old bark hut. In an old bark hut.
There’s no fear of suffocation in the old bark hut.

In the winter time – preserve us all – to live in there’s a treat
Especially when it’s raining hard, and blowing wind and sleet.
The rain comes down the chimney, and your meat is black with soot —
That’s a substitute for pepper in an old bark hut.

In an old bark hut. In an old bark hut.
That’s a substitute for pepper in an old bark hut.

I’ve seen the rain come in this hut just like a perfect flood,
Especially through that great big hole where once the table stood.
There’s not a blessed spot, me boys, where you could lay your nut,
But the rain is sure to find you in the old bark hut.

In an old bark hut. In an old bark hut.
But the rain is sure to find you in the old bark hut.

So beside the fire I make me bed, and there I lay me down,
And think myself as happy as the king that wears a crown.
But as you’d be dozing off to sleep a flea will wake you up,
Which makes you curse the vermin in the old bark hut.

In an old bark hut. In an old bark hut.
Which makes you curse the vermin in the old bark hut.

Faith, such flocks of fleas you never saw, they are so plump and fat,
And if you make a grab at one, he’ll spit just like a cat.
Last night they got my pack of cards, and were fighting for the cut —
I thought the devil had me in the old bark hut.

In an old bark hut. In an old bark hut.
I thought the devil had me in the old bark hut.

So now, my friends, I’ve sung my song, and that as well as I could,
And I hope the ladies present won’t think my language rude,
And all ye younger people, in the days when you grow up,
Remember Bob the Swagman, and the old bark hut.

In an old bark hut. In an old bark hut.
Remember Bob the Swagman, and the old bark hut.

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