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AUSTRALIAN SONGS

The Wild
Colonial Boy

traditional Australian song
composer unknown

The colonial boy in this song is often confused with Jack Donahue who arrived in 1825 from Ireland, was convicted three years later of highway robbery and sentenced to death. He escaped and began a guerrilla war against the Sydney's wealthy. Two years later he was shot dead near Campbelltown by police.

That song is called Bold Jack Donahue and is also on our website. The confusion is understandable since both use the same chorus.

There are many variations of The Wild Colonial Boy. Like most bush songs, the original was never written down by whoever wrote it so no one knows which version is correct.

We also don't know if Jack Doolan is an actual person or simply a fictitious one. In fact, we don't even know for sure if Castlemaine is the city in Victoria, Australia or in County Kerry, Ireland.

In any case, The Wild Colonial Boy is one of the most popular bushranger songs of all time. We hope you enjoy this version.

Listen to the music

There was a wild colonial boy Jack Doolan was his name,
Of poor but honest parents he was born in Castlemaine.
He was his father's only hope, his mother's pride and joy,
And dearly did the parents love the wild colonial boy

Then, come all my hearties, we'll range the mountain side;
Together we will plunder, together we will ride.
We'll scour along the valleys and gallop o'er the plains,
We scorn to live in slavery bowed down with iron chains.

In 'sixty-one this daring youth commenced his wild career;
With a heart that knew no danger, no foeman did he fear;
He stuck up the Beechworth mailcoach and robbed Judge MacEvoy,
Who trembled and gave up his gold to the wild colonial boy.

Then, come all my hearties, we'll range the mountain side;
Together we will plunder, together we will ride.
We'll scour along the valleys and gallop o'er the plains,
We scorn to live in slavery bowed down with iron chains.

He bade the judge good morning, and told him to beware,
That he'd never rob a hearty chap who acted on the square;
And never to rob a mother of her son and only joy,
Or else you may turn outlaw like the wild colonial boy.

Then, come all my hearties, we'll range the mountain side;
Together we will plunder, together we will ride.
We'll scour along the valleys and gallop o'er the plains,
We scorn to live in slavery bowed down with iron chains.

One day as he was riding the mountain side along,
A-listening to the little birds, their pleasant laughing song.
Three mounted troopers came in view, Kelly, Davis, and Fitzroy.
They thought that they would capture him, the wild colonial boy.

Then, come all my hearties, we'll range the mountain side;
Together we will plunder, together we will ride.
We'll scour along the valleys and gallop o'er the plains,
We scorn to live in slavery bowed down with iron chains.

'Surrender now, Jack Doolan, you see there's three to one,
Surrender now, Jack Doolan, you daring highwayman!'
Jack drew a pistol from his belt and spun it like a toy,
'I'll fight but I won't surrender', said the wild colonial boy.

Then, come all my hearties, we'll range the mountain side;
Together we will plunder, together we will ride.
We'll scour along the valleys and gallop o'er the plains,
We scorn to live in slavery bowed down with iron chains.

He fired at Trooper Kelly and brought him to the ground,
And in return from Davis received a mortal wound.
All shattered through the jaws he lay still firing at Fitzroy,
And that's the way they captured him, the wild colonial boy.

Then, come all my hearties, we'll range the mountain side;
Together we will plunder, together we will ride.
We'll scour along the valleys and gallop o'er the plains,
We scorn to live in slavery bowed down with iron chains.

 

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