Northward to the Sheds by Will H. Ogilvie

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There's a whisper from the regions out beyond the Barwon banks,
There's a gathering of the legions and a forming of the ranks,
There's a murmur coming nearer with the signs that never fail,
And it's time for every shearer to be out upon the trail;
They must leave their girls behind them and their empty glasses, too,
For there's plenty left to mind them when they cross the dry Barooo:
There'll be kissing, there'll be sorrow much as only sweethearts know,
But before the noon to-morrow they'll be singing as they go;
      For the Western creeks are calling,
         And the idle days are done,
      With the snowy fleeces falling,
         And the Queensland sheds begun.

There is shortening of the bridle, there is tightening of the girth,
There is fondling of the idol that they love the best on earth,
Northward from the Lachlan River and the sun-dried Castlereagh,
Outward to the Never-Never ride the "ringers" on their way.
From the green bends of the Murray they have run their horses in,
For there's haste and there is hurry when the Queensland sheds begin;
On the Bogan they are bridling, they are saddling on the Bland,
There is plunging and there's sidling -- for the colts don't understand
      That the Western creeks are calling,
         And the idle days are done,
      With the snowy fleeces falling,
         And the Queensland sheds begun.

They will camp below the station, they'll be outting peg and pole,
Rearing tents for occupation till the "calling of the roll,"
And it's time the nags were driven, and it's time to strap the pack,
For there's never license given to the laggards on the track.
Hark! The music of the battle: it in time to bare our swords!
Do you hear the rush and rattle as they tramp along the boards?
They are past the pen-doors picking light-wooled weeners one by one;
I can hear the shear-blades clicking, and I know the fight's begun!
   Northward to the Sheds - illo.jpg

First published in The Bulletin, 8 June 1895, and again in the same magazine on 26 August 1959;
and then later in
Fair Girls and Gray Horses by Will H. Ogilvie, 1958;
The Shearers: Songbook edited by Ted Egan, 1984;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterrs, 1993;
Breaker's Mate: Will Ogilvie in Australia by Will H. Ogilvie and edited John Meredith, 1996; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

Note: the poem was originally published with the illustration shown here.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 8, 2011 8:10 AM.

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