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AUSTRALIAN SONGS

The Stockman's Last Bed

traditional Australian song
composer unknown

Stockmen and drovers, known as 'overlanders', took pride in the work they did. It took skill to drive cattle and sheep over such long distances in search of water and good pasture.

This pride and desire for the rugged life is expressed in many Australian ballads including this song.

What the words mean

  • Wattle ~ species of acacia,  the national flower of Australia.

  • Wallaby ~ small type of kangaroo.
  • Gum trees ~ popular name for eucalyptus trees.

See also  The Stockman
Flash StockmanDying Stockman

Be ye stockmen or no, to my story give ear.
Alas! for poor Jack, no more shall we hear
The crack of his stockwhip, his steed’s lively trot,
His clear “Go ahead, boys,” his jingling quart pot.

For we laid him where wattles their sweet fragrance shed,
And the tall gum trees shadow the stockman’s last bed.

Whilst drafting one day he was horned by a cow.
“Alas!” cried poor Jack, “it’s all up with me now,
For I never again shall my saddle regain,
Nor bound like a wallaby over the plain.”

For we laid him where wattles their sweet fragrance shed,
And the tall gum trees shadow the stockman’s last bed.

His whip it is silent, his dogs they do mourn,
His steed looks in vain for his master’s return;
No friend to bemoan him, unheeded he dies;
Save Australia’s dark sons, few know where he lies.

For we laid him where wattles their sweet fragrance shed,
And the tall gum trees shadow the stockman’s last bed.

Now, stockman, if ever on some future day
After the wild mob you happen to stray,
Tread softly where wattles their sweet fragrance spread,
Where alone and neglected poor Jack’s bones are laid.

For we laid him where wattles their sweet fragrance shed,
And the tall gum trees shadow the stockman’s last bed.

 

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