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Broken Down Squatter

  • (Charles Augustus Flower)

    And the banks are all broken they say
    And the merchants are all up a tree
    When the bigwigs are brought to the bankruptcy court
    What chance for a squatter like me

    Come, Stumpy, old man, we must shift whilst we can
    All your mates in the paddock are dead
    We must bid a farewell to Glen Even's fair dell
    The place where your master was bred
    Together we'll roam from our drought-stricken home
    It seems hard that such things have to be
    And it's hard on a horse when he's nought for a boss
    But a broken-down squatter like me

    No more we shall muster the river for fats
    Nor spiel on the Fifteen Mile Plain
    Nor rip through the scrub by the light of the moon
    Nor see the old homestead again
    Leave the slip-panels down, they don't matter much now
    For there's none but the crows left to see
    Sitting gaunt on a pine as though longing to dine
    On a broken-down squatter like me

    When the country was cursed with the drought at its worst
    And the cattle were dying in scores
    Though down on my luck, I kept up my pluck
    Thinking justice might temper the laws
    But the farce has been played, and the Government aid
    Ain't extended to squatters, old son
    When my money was spent, they doubled the rent
    And resumed the best half of the run

    'Twas done without reason, for leaving the season
    No squatter could stand such a rub
    For it's useless to squat when the rents are so hot
    You can't save the price of your grub
    For there's not much to choose 'twixt the banks and the screws
    Once a fella gets put up a tree
    No odds what I feel, there's no Court of Appeal
    For a broken-down squatter like me

    As sung by Martyn Wyndham-Read

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1978:] The severe droughts of the eighties forced many of the small land holders to abandon their properties, and The Broken Down Squatter tells of one of these.

    The first version is fairly close to that in Paterson, though it lacks the last verse, and the chorus has been moved to make a final verse. Although the tune differs considerably from that given in the second version, it is also a variant of The Hunting Day, the tune given in Paterson. It was one of a number of songs collected from Jack Parveez in Charters Towers, 12 October 1966, which he had learned in the early part of the century while working round the bush.

    [Second version:] Irvinebank is an isolated township tucked away in the ranges west of Herberton, in North Queensland. Tin was discovered there in 1882, and a thriving township grew up, centred round the stamping battery that crushed the miner's ore. The battery still exists, with much of the original machinery still in position, but the town has shrunk to only a few houses and an old pub. On a field trip there with a companion, Allan Jenkins, we collected this version on 20 August 1966, from Mrs Ivy Cross, who had learned it in about 1904 at Montalbion, where she was born in 1894. She had a note of the first three verses (although she thought this was complete). Her version varies in only a couple of words from the Paterson version, the only major change being that Paterson had 'Glen Eva's sweet dells'. Her tune was a variant of The Hunting Day.

    A third version of this song, from before 1893, may be found in 'National Folk' no. 45. (Notes Martyn Wyndham-Read, 'Ballad Singer')

  • [1983:] This ditty is attributed to the brothers Charles and Horace Flowers, prolific amateur songwriters of Queensland, and the tune from the singing of one 'Hoopiron Jack' Lee of New South Wales, a lazy rolling version of It's A Fine Hunting Day. (Notes Jolly Jack, 'Rolling Down To Old Maui')

  • [1997:] First published in the Queenslander in 1894. Written by Charles Augustus Flower. The brothers Horace and Charles Flower, Queensland station owners, were keen songwriters in the 1880's - 90's. Charles Flower's manuscripts are in the Oxley Library, Brisbane. In 1891 the squatters were at war with the shearers in the Shearers' Strike. In 1893 the banks crashed. This tune is from Jack 'Hoopiron' Lee who was 77 and had been blind for a number of years when he was recorded by John Meredith in 1953. (MG, Broken-Down Squatter)

  • What's a Cockie/Cocky?

Quelle: Australia

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