The Old Bush Songs

The Old Bullock Dray

Edited by

Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson

OH! the shearing is all over,
    And the wool is coming down,
And I mean to get a wife, boys,
    When I go up to town.
Everything that has two legs
    Represents itself in view,
From the little paddy-melon
    To the bucking kangaroo.



     So it’s roll up your blankets,
             And let’s make a push,
     I’ll take you up the country,
             And show you the bush.
     I’ll be bound you won’t get
             Such a chance another day,
     So come and take possession
             Of my old bullock dray.


Now, I’ve saved up a good cheque,
    I mean to buy a team,
And when I get a wife, boys,
    I’ll be all-serene
For calling at the depôt.
    They say there’s no delay
To get an off-sider
    For the old bullock dray.


Oh! we’ll live like fighting cocks,
    For good living, I’m your man.
We’ll have leather jacks, johnny cakes,
    And fritters in the pan;
Or if you’d like some fish
    I’ll catch you some soon,
For we’ll bob for barramundies
    Round the banks of a lagoon.


Oh! yes, of beef and damper
    I take care we have enough,
And we’ll boil in the bucket
    Such a whopper of a duff,
And our friends will dance
    To the honour of the day,
To the music of the bells,
    Around the old bullock dray.


Oh! we’ll have plenty girls,
    We must mind that.
There’ll be flash little Maggie,
    And buckjumping Pat.
There’ll be Stringy bark Joe,
    And Green-hide Mike.
Yes, my Colonials, just
    As many as you like.


Now we’ll stop all immigration,
    We won’t need it any more;
We’ll be having young natives,
    Twins by the score.
And I wonder what the devil
    Jack Robertson would say
If he saw us promenading
    Round the old bullock dray.


Oh! it’s time I had an answer,
    If there’s one to be had,
I wouldn’t treat that steer
    In the body half as bad;
But he takes as much notice
    Of me, upon my soul,
As that old blue stag
    Off-side in the pole.


Oh! to tell a lot of lies,
    You know, it is a sin,
But I’ll go up country
    And marry a black gin.
Oh! “Baal gammon white feller,”
    This is what she’ll say, “Budgery you
    And your old bullock dray.”

This song may require a few notes for the benefit of non-Australian readers. A paddy-melon is a small and speedy marsupial, a sort of poor relation of the great kangaroo family.

“Calling at the depôt to get an offsider.”—Female immigrants were housed at the depôt on arrival, and many found husbands within a few hours of their landing. The minstrel, therefore, proposes to call at the depôt to get himself a wife from among the immigrants. An offsider is a bullock-drivers assistant—one who walks on the off-side of the team and flogs the bullocks on that side when occasion arises. The word afterwards came to mean an assistant of any kind.

“Jack Robertson.”—Sir John Robertson, as he afterwards became, was a well-known politician, who believed in Australians doing their best to populate their own country.

“Budgery you”—good fellow you.

The Old Bush Songs - Contents    |     Paddy’s Letter, 1857

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