Saltbush Bill and other Verses

The Road to Hogan’s Gap

Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson

NOW look, you see, it’s this way like,
    You cross the broken bridge
And run the crick down till you strike
    The second right-hand ridge.

The track is hard to see in parts,
    But still it’s pretty clear;
There’s been two Injin hawkers’ carts
    Along that road this year.

Well, run that right-hand ridge along—
    It ain’t, to say, too steep—
There’s two fresh tracks might put you wrong
    Where blokes went out with sheep.

But keep the crick upon your right,
    And follow pretty straight
Along the spur, until you sight
    A wire and sapling gate.

Well, that’s where Hogan’s old grey mare
    Fell off and broke her back;
You’ll see her carcase layin’ there,
    Jist down below the track.

And then you drop two mile, or three,
    It’s pretty steep and blind;
You want to go and fall a tree
    And tie it on behind.

And then you pass a broken cart
    Below a granite bluff;
And that is where you strike the part
    They reckon pretty rough.

But by the time you’ve got that far
    It’s either cure or kill,
So turn your horses round the spur
    And face ’em up the hill.

For look, if you should miss the slope
    And get below the track,
You haven’t got the whitest hope
    Of ever gettin’ back.

An’ half way up you’ll see the hide
    Of Hogan’s brindled bull;
Well, mind and keep the right-hand side,
    The left’s too steep a pull.

And both the banks is full of cracks;
    An’ just about at dark
You’ll see the last year’s bullock tracks
    Where Hogan drew the bark.

The marks is old and pretty faint—
    And grown with scrub and such;
Of course the track to Hogan’s ain’t
    A road that’s travelled much.

But turn and run the tracks along
    For half a mile or more,
And then, of course, you can’t go wrong—
    You’re right at Hogan’s door.

When first you come to Hogan’s gate
    He mightn’t show, perhaps;
He’s pretty sure to plant and wait
    To see it ain’t the traps.

I wouldn’t call it good enough
    To let your horses out;
There’s some that’s pretty extra rough
    Is livin’ round about.

It’s likely if your horses did
    Get feedin’ near the track,
It’s goin’ to cost at least a quid
    Or more to get them back.

So, if you find they’re off the place,
    It’s up to you to go
And flash a quid in Hogan’s face—
    He’ll know the blokes that know.

But listen—if you’re feelin’ dry,
    Just see there’s no one near,
And go and wink the other eye
    And ask for ginger beer.

The blokes come in from near and far
    To sample Hogan’s pop;
They reckon once they breast the bar
    They stay there till they drop.

On Sundays you can see them spread
    Like flies around the tap.
It’s like that song “The Livin’ Dead”
    Up there at Hogan’s Gap.

They like to make it pretty strong
    Whenever there’s a charnce;
So when a stranger comes along
    They always holds a dance.

There’s recitations, songs, and fights—
    A willin’ lot you’ll meet.
There’s one long bloke up there recites,
    I tell you—he’s a treat.

They’re lively blokes all right up there,
    It’s never dull a day.
I’d go meself if I could spare
    The time to get away.

.     .     .     .     .

The stranger turned his horses quick.
    He didn’t cross the bridge;
He didn’t go along the crick
    To strike the second ridge;

He didn’t make the trip, because
    He wasn’t feeling fit.
His business up at Hogan’s was
    To serve him with a writ.

He reckoned if he faced the pull
    And climbed the rocky stair,
The next to come might find his hide
A land-mark on the mountain side,
Along with Hogan’s brindled bull
    And Hogan’s old grey mare!

Back    |     Words Home    |     Paterson Home    |    Site Info.    |    Feedback