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AUSTRALIAN SONGS

The Squatter's Man

traditional Australian song
composer unknown

What the words mean

  • squatter ~ a grazier or station (ranch) owner especially with a large landholding. Today squatter means a person illegally occupying a property.
  • to snob?” ~ English slang for a boot maker. In the song he wanted his boots repaired.
  • “I’ll give ten, ten” ~ ten pounds of each item. On the stations the weekly ration of flour and meat was ten, ten.
  • 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.
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Come, all ye lads an’ list to me,
That’s left your homes an’ crossed the sea,
To try your fortune, bound or free,
   All in this golden land.
For twelve long months I had to pace,
Humping my swag with a cadging face,
Sleeping in the bush, like the sable race,
   As in my song you’ll understand.

Unto this country I did come,
A regular out-and-out new chum.
I then abhorred the sight of rum —
   Teetotal was my plan.
But soon I learned to wet one eye —
Misfortune oft-times made me sigh.
To raise fresh funds I was forced to fly,
   And be a squatter’s man.

Soon at a station I appeared.
I saw the squatter with his beard,
And up to him I boldly steered,
   With my swag and billy-can.

I said, “Kind sir, I want a job!”
Said he, “Do you know how to snob
Or can you break in a bucking cob?”
   Whilst my figure he well did scan.

“’Tis now I want a useful cove
To stop at home and not to rove.
The scamps go about – a regular drove —
   I ’spose you’re one of the clan?
But I’ll give ten, ten, sugar an’ tea;
Ten bob a week, if you’ll suit me,
And very soon I hope you’ll be
   A handy squatter’s man.

“At daylight you must milk the cows,
Make butter, cheese, an’ feed the sows,
Put on the kettle, the cook arouse,
   And clean the family shoes.
The stable an’ sheep yard clean out,
And always answer when we shout,
With ‘Yes, ma’am,’ and ‘No, sir,’ mind your mouth;
   And my youngsters don’t abuse.

“You must fetch wood an’ water, bake an’ boil,
Act as butcher when we kill;
The corn an’ taters you must hill,
   Keep the garden spick and span.

You must not scruple in the rain
To take to market all the grain.
Be sure you come sober back again
   To be a squatter’s man.”

He sent me to an old bark hut,
Inhabited by a greyhound slut,
Who put her fangs through my poor fut,
   And, snarling, off she ran.
So once more I’m looking for a job,
Without a copper in my fob.
With Ben Hall or Gardiner I’d rather rob,
   Than be a squatter’s man.

 

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