Posted By John
Australia’s On The Wallaby

traditional Australian song
composer unknown

What the words mean

  • “on the wallaby” ~ travel outback as a swaggie or sundowner (tramp and casual workers).
  • “on the wallaby track” and “hump the drum” mean the same thing.
  • 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.
  • dingo ~ tawny-yellow native Australian wild dog
  • brolga ~ an Australian crane known for it’s elegant mating dance.
  • The old man’s gone in search for gold,
    The claim has proved a duffer,
    They search for gold in the rain and cold,
    And they are the ones that suffer,
    (They fought for freedom for themselves,
    Themselves and mates to toil,
    But Australia’s sons are weary
    And the billy’s on the boil).

    Australia’s on the wallaby
    Just listen to the cooey,
    The kangaroo he packs his port
    And the emu shoulders bluey,
    The curlew sings his lonely tune
    Besides the long lagoon,
    A Gallipoli 1915 Poster
    And the brolga does his last-lay dance
    To the lyrebirds mocking tune.

    The pigeon coos, the bats and now
    The pelican and the shags
    The Malee-hen and platypus
    Are rolling up their swags,
    The boomerang is whizzing round,
    The dingo scratches gravel,
    The possum, bear and bandicoot,
    Are always on the travel.

    There’s tiger-snakes and damper, boys
    And what’s that on the coals?
    There’s drought and floods and ragged duds
    And dried-up waterholes,
    Sun-scorched plains and shadeless trees,
    And asking us to toil.
    Australia’s sons are weary,
    And the billy’s on the boil.