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AUSTRALIAN SONGS

The Old Survey

traditional Australian song
composer unknown

What the words mean

  • Theodolite ~ precision instrument for measuring angles. It's mainly used for surveying

Our money’s all spent, to the deuce went it!
   The landlord, he looks glum,
On the tap-room wall, in a very bad scrawl,
   He has chalked to us a sum.
But a glass we’ll take, ere the grey dawn break,
   And then saddle up and away —
Theodolite-tum, theodolite-ti, theodolite-too-ral-ay.

With a measured beat fall our horses’ feet,
   Galloping side by side;
When the money’s done, and we’ve had our fun,
   We all are bound to ride.
O’er the far-off plain we’ll drag the chain,
   And mark the settler’s way —
Theodolite-tum, theodolite-ti, theodolite-too-ral-ay.

We’ll range from the creeks to the mountain peaks,
   And traverse far below;
Where foot never trod, we’ll mark with a rod
   The limits of endless snow;

Each lofty crag we’ll plant with a flag,
   To flash in the sun’s bright ray —
Theodolite-tum, theodolite-ti, theodolite-too-ral-ay.

Till with cash hard-earned once more returned,
   At “The Beaver” bars we’ll shout;
And the very bad scrawl that’s against the wall
   Ourselves shall see wiped out.
Such were the ways in the good old days! —
   The days of the old survey!
Theodolite-tum, theodolite-ti, theodolite-too-ral-ay.

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