Freedom on the Wallaby by Henry Lawson

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Australia's a big country
   An' Freedom's humping bluey,
An' Freedom's on the wallaby
   Oh! don't you hear 'er cooey?
She's just begun to boomerang,
   She'll knock the tyrants silly,
She's goin' to light another fire
   And boil another billy.

Our fathers toiled for bitter bread
   While loafers thrived beside 'em,
But food to eat and clothes to wear,
   Their native land denied 'em.
An' so they left their native land
   In spite of their devotion,
An' so they came, or if they stole,
   Were sent across the ocean.

Then Freedom couldn't stand the glare
   O' Royalty's regalia,
She left the loafers where they were,
   An' came out to Australia.
But now across the mighty main
   The chains have come ter bind her -
She little thought to see again
   The wrongs she left behind her.

Our parents toil'd to make a home -
   Hard grubbin 'twas an' clearin' -
They wasn't crowded much with lords
   When they was pioneering.
But now that we have made the land
   A garden full of promise,
Old Greed must crook 'is dirty hand
   And come ter take it from us.

So we must fly a rebel flag,
   As others did before us,
And we must sing a rebel song
   And join in rebel chorus.
We'll make the tyrants feel the sting
   O' those that they would throttle;
They needn't say the fault is ours
   If blood should stain the wattle!

First published in The Worker, 16 May 1891, and again in the same paper on 29 September 1894;
and later in
Freedom on the Wallaby: Poems of the Australian People edited by Marjorie Pizer, 1953;
Songs from Lawson by Henry Lawson, 1957;
The Penguin Australian Song Book edited by J. S. Manifold, 1964;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The World of Henry Lawson edited by Walter Stone, 1974;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
The Essential Henry Lawson edited by Brian Kiernan, 1982;
A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885-1900 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss,  1993;
Waltzing Matilda and Other Nursery Rhymes edited by Richard Magoffin, 1998; and
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library, The Poetry of Henry Lawson website

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 16, 2011 7:47 AM.

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