Wongawilli Colonial
Dance Club Inc.

PO Box 463
Warilla, 2528


Brian Godden     phone: 02 42967780

Australian Folk Song Lyrics

Following is a selection of lyrics to songs the Wongawilli band have performed.

Compiled by David De Santi with material from Mark Gregory’s wonderful collection on-line at http://unionsong.com/muse/songnet/songs.html

Across the Western Plains (All for Me Grog)

Oh for me grog my jolly jolly grog
Oh for me beer and tobacco
Well I spent all my tin in a shanty drinking gin
Now across the Western Plain I must wander

I’m stiff stoney broke and I’ve parted with me moke
And the sky is looking black as flaming thunder
And the shanty boss is too for I haven’t got a sou
That’s the way you’re treated when you’re down and under

Well I’m crook in the head for I haven’t been to bed
Since first I touched this shanty with my plunder
I see centipedes and snakes, and I’m full of pains and aches
So I"d better make a push out over yonder

I’ll take that Old Man Plain and I’ll cross it once again
Until me eyes the track no longer see boys
And my beer and whisky brain looks for sleep but all in vain
And I feel as if I had the Darling Pea boys

So hang that blasted grog, that hocussed shanty grog
And the beer that’s loaded with tobacco
Grafting humour I am in and I’ll stick the peg right in
And I’ll settle down once more for some hard yakka

First printed in the Bulletin in May 1916. Reworked from a sailor’s song ‘Noggin Boots’ or ‘Across the Western Ocean’ This version from the singing of A.L.Lloyd who writes "Sung straight the song never seemed to me wildly exiting, but once I heard a drunken shearer named White sing it on a station near Bethungra NSW, in a way that would make the hair stand on end."

And When They Dance

recorded on Wongawilli 'Australian Selection' Click here to buy the CD

And when they dance, their dresses spin round,
They travel so light that they ne’er touch the ground,
And the smile on their faces will win every crowd,
The lasses who danced ‘till the morning.

I’ve travelled about, yes I’ve been all around,
From Perth in the west, to old Sydney town,
And it warms up my heart every time I look down,
At the lasses who danced ‘till the morning.

I play for the gentry, I’ve played for them all,
From a small country gig to a debutantes ball,
And it’s one thing that joins them, the big and the small,
It’s the lasses who danced ‘till the morning.

At the end of the dance the folk leave the floor,
Their feet must be tired, so tender and sore,
But who are the ones who call out for more,
It’s the lasses who danced ‘till the morning.

So long may I travel, and far may I roam,
From Darwin to Hobart, a long way from home,
And I’ll stare at the people who I’ll never know,
And the lasses who danced ‘till the morning.

And as they dance, men turn them around,
Lads all dressed up for a night on the town,
In their waistcoats and moleskins, It’s a smile and a bow,
To the lasses who danced ‘till the morning.

Roy Abbot played with the Western Australian band Mucky Duck and has written many fine songs. This one aptly describing a musician’s view of dancing. Graeme Murray added the last verse.

Another Fall of Rain


The weather has been sultry for a fortnight now or more
And the shearers have been driving might and main
For some have got the century who ne’er got it before
But now we all are waiting for the rain

For the boss is getting rusty and the ringer’s caving in
His bandaged wrist is aching with the pain
And the second man I fear will make it hot for him
Unless we have another fall of rain

Now some had taken quarters and were keeping well in bunk
When we shore the six-tooth wethers from the plain
And if the sheep get harder then a few more men will flunk
Unless we have another fall of rain

Some cockies come here shearing they would fill a little book
About this sad dry weather for the grain
But here is lunch a-coming make way for Dick the cook
Old Dick is nigh as welcome as the rain

But the sky is clouding over and the thunder’s muttering loud
And the clouds are sweeping westward o’er the plain
And I see the lightning flashing round the edge of yon black cloud
And I hear the gentle patter of the rain

So, lads, put up your stoppers and let us to the hut
Where we’ll gather round and have a friendly game
While some are playing music and some play ante up
And some are gazing outwards at the rain.

But now the rain is over let the pressers spin the screw
Let the teamsters back their wagons in again
We’ll block the classer’s table by the way we push them through
For everything goes merry since the rain.

So its "Boss bring out the bottle" and we’ll wet the final flock
For the shearers here may never meet again
Well some may meet next season and some not even then
And some they will just vanish like the rain

Final Chorus
And the boss he won’t be rusty when his sheep they all are shore
And the ringer’s wrist won’t ache much with the pain
Of pocketing his cheque for a hundred quid or more
And the second man will press him hard again

Also known as ‘Waiting for the Rain’, John Meredith collected a version of it from wharfie Leo Dixon, who had been a bush worker and shearer and was born at Eugowra. Meredith writes: "The words of this were written by John Neilson of Penola, a bush worker, farmer, and balladist, and the father of Australia’s greatest lyricist, John Shaw Neilson". The last verse in this version was sent me by email and comes from Dave de Hugard"s record "Freedom On The Wallaby". The tune is the North American song ‘Little Log Cabin in the Dell’.


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