Recently in Shearing Category

Resolution: A Stone for the Great Pavement by C.J. Dennis

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A strong and stalwart man was he,
   And he sat in the shearing shed
And shore, on the distant Boolooree,
   Where the best of sheep are bred.
He sang in a voice that was full and deep,
   And his shear blades merrily rang,
And he snipped and snipped at his bleating sheep;
   And this is the song he sang --

      Oh, it's goin' back to-morra, boys,
         Back to 'ome, sweet 'ome --
      The 'ome we left in sorra, boys,
         The dismal north to roam.
      We'll keep our 'ard-earned pay, me boys,
         An' shun the bloomin' booze;
      We'll stow our cheques away, me boys,
         Fur drinkin' ain't no use.

When next I saw this shearer man
   He was in a crowded bar,
Where the liquor fast and freely ran;
   He was smoking a cigar.
His voice was loud, and his eye was bright,
   And his language coarse and slang;
His face was cut - for he'd had a fight --
   And this was the song he sang --

      Come and 'ave a drink, me boys!
         No, you can't refuse;
      Don't care what you think, me boys,
         I'm on the blanky booze.
      Lashin' up me pay, me boys,
         Little do I reck;
      Drink dull care away, me boys;
         I'm knockin' down me cheque.

Next morn I saw this shearer strong;
   He was seated on his swag;
His merry, jovial air was gone,
   And vanished was his brag.
His voice was thick and his eye was red;
   A broken man was he;
And pleading and soft were the words he said,
   And thus he spake to me --

      Say, mister, buy us a pint, sir;
         I've busted all I 'ad;
      I'm aching in ev'ry jint, sir --
         Me 'ead is awful bad.
      I've lashed me earnin's up, sir --
         Spent me bloomin' cheque,
      So buy us a pick-me-up, sir -
         I'm a gawd forsaken wreck!

First published in The Critic, 5 March 1898

The Old Shearer by Mary Roche

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I'm packing up "Matilda" and we're heading for the ranges,  
   For the big town job that's waiting I don't seem to care a fig.
On the stations all along the South the sheep are heavy covered.
   They'll be mustering for the shearing, and the tally's always big!
I can cut my hundred daily, even crossbreds are not troubles,
   I'll be "rep." on many old gangs once again.
I've been "ringer" of my shed, and so the tar is in my nostrils,
   I can hear the sheep dogs whimper as they pull the fretting chain.
So I'll call "So long" to home ones and I'll swing the leg o'er "Baldy,"
   With my flannels and my "bowyangs" in the blanket on my pack,
   And the wet days I'll be writing home -- there's poker matches to be won.
   And all the Bushland calling to the old hand, going back!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 October 1926

Nothing is known about the author of this poem.

Author reference site: Austlit

The Rouseabout by C. Walker Chandler

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I'm picking up wool in a shearing shed,
   Lincoln, and Cross, and Merino bred,
Then spreading it out as quick as can be,
   Just for the "tony" Classer to see.

They've emptied the paddocks into the yard,
   (Sheep can't get away with dogs on guard)
And soon they'll be hurried into the pen,
   Then on to the "board" and out again.

I would like to think that after I die,
   I could spread my fleeces across the sky,
And be turning the dark clouds inside out,
   Just like a heavenly Rouse-about.

First published
in The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 July 1926

Author: Charles Walker Chandler (1894-1971) was born in London and died in New Zealand.  beyond this nothing is known about this author.

Author reference site: Austlit

Beyond His Jurisdiction by Harry "Breaker" Morant

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It was a Western manager, and a language man was he;
Thus spoke he to the shed-boss: "Send 'The Rager' round to me;
I'll hie me to the office, where I'll write his crimson cheque,
Bid him roll his dusty swag up, or I'll break his no-good neck."

So when the bell was ringing -- when "smoke-oh!" time was o'er,
Says the shed-boss: "Mick, your services are wanted here no more."
Then "The Rager" hung his shears up, stepped from the shearing floor
And went a-swapping swear-words 'round at the office door.

For the boss began to language, and "The Rager" languaged back;
Says "The Rager": "There's my brother, can't you give him too the sack?"
"Your brother? Damn your brother! Yes, send him round here quick!"
"That narks yez," Michael answered -- "he's a cocky down in Vic."

First published in The Bulletin, 7 July 1894;
and later in
Bushman and Buccaneer: Harry Morant : His 'Ventures and Verses edited by Frank Renar, 1902;
The North Queensland Register, 28 January 1924;
Australian Bush Ballads edited by Nancy Keesing, 1955;
Complete Book of Australian Folklore edited by Bill Scott, 1976;
The Poetry of 'Breaker' Morant: from "The Bulletin" 1891-1903 with original illustrations by Breaker Morant, 1980;
The Penguin Book of Australian Humorous Verse edited by Bill Scott, 1984; and
Sin, Sweat and Sorrow: The Making of Capricornia Queensland 1840s-1940s edited by Liz Huf, Lorna L. McDonald and David A. Myers, 1993.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also

The Shearers' Cook by W. T. Goodge

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Now, shearers' cooks, as shearers know,
Are very seldom wont to blow;
But when I took to dabbing tar
And "picking-up" on Blaringar,
The cook, when "barbers" came at morn
To get a snack, would say, with scorn:
   "Tea on the left,
   Coffee on the right,
Brownie on the bunk, and blast yez!"

The "bunk" or slab was in the hut,
And on it "brownie" ready cut;
Two buckets o'er the fire would be -
One filled with coffee, one with tea;
And when the chaps came filing in
The cook would say, with mirthless grin:
    "Tea on the left,
    Coffee on the right,
Brownie on the bunk, and blast yez!"

Peculiar man, this shearers' cook,
And had a very ugly look.
To me - a new-chum rouseabout,
Said he, one day when all were out:
"There's nothing in this world, my lad,
That's worth your worry, good or bad;
   Grief on the left,
   Sorrow on the right,
Trouble on the bunk, but blast it!"

First published in The Bulletin, 19 November 1898

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Shearing Shed Echoes by Henry O'Donnell

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"May be, you don't think," argued Peter the Ringer,
The dad of the shed as a "pitcher" and singer,
"That a shed, full of shearers both perky and fly,
Is the place for a man who is painfully shy.

"But, way back in Brunee, near Berrigan's Gap,
Somewhere in the eighties, I knew such a chap
With an eye-lid that drooped, and a delicate curl
In his lip, that made all of us think him a girl.

"When the 'tally' soon fell to his lightning-like shears,
And they dubbed him the 'ringer,' he blushed to his ears.
But, thunder! he just was a man you would love,
With the heart of a horse, and the eye of a dove.

"But -- the timidest man that the shed ever knew,
His diffidence almost to lunacy grew,
When the shed had 'cut out,' he so little would reck
That he hadn't the nerve, boys, to ask for his cheque.

"But, plucky? by snakes! 'twould have kindled your blood
When he swam the Bogung, when the creek was in flood,
To rescue a child; but, when just coming round,
He seemed half ashamed that he hadn't been drowned.

At last, when he lay on the banks of the Grumbie,
Stretched out out on the grass, by a kick from a brumby,
We knew that his very last 'jumbuck' was shorn,
And bitterly waited the first streak of dawn.

"When the priest cantered over from Crooked Creek Slip --
Thought the delicate curl has gone out of his lip,
Hang me! if he wasn't -- ask Father M'Minns --
Too timid to ask to be shrived of his sins."

First published in Melbourne Punch, 28 June 1906

Author reference site: Austlit.

See also.

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.

The Shearing at Cuppacumbalong by Anonymous

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Before I tells my story, if you asks me who I are,
I'm the shearer from the Billybong who never called for tar:
And on this first occasion I came out very strong,
Stripping off the fleeces at Cuppabacumlong.

Good shearing there, you bet; no man might tomahawk;
For if he did, he got the sack, and from the shed might walk;
Indeed a few poor fellows, their hearts it well nigh broke,
When they found they could not slash along the Murrumbidgee stroke.

Now I'm a steady hand, and do not try to go too fast,
And proved that careful shearing pays better at the last;
For when well nigh a month is lost, by reason of the rain,
It surely must be worth the while our rations free to gain.

And so it proved: for while the two great ringers got the sack
I shore all through, and in return a decent cheque got back.
And as I settled with the boss, he said, almost in tears,
"My bully boy, your tucker's free, and you may take your shears."

There's one remark I'd wish to make for which I have good reasons --
And that's to make more roomy sheds in case of rainy seasons;
For many a man I think would go more easy to his bed,
If he knew his next day's sheep were safe and drily in the shed.

I never seed such rain before, my word, what work we had:
To finish before Christmas day we wired in like mad;
We rose with dawn at four o'clock, and freshened with our sleep,
We thronged the pens like eaglehawks to dart upon the sheep.

You know the price we got this year; 't was three and six the score;
The same they got at Tuggranong: and though we tried for more,
The boss held out, and in a tone that seemed by half too knowing,
He said that shearers might be scarce but rather guessed it blowing.

"And how about the grub ?" I knew you'd ask that vital qusestion,
For none can work ten hours a day, upon a a bad digestion;
'T was mainly good, the beef was fat, we'd doughboys pretty often,   
And now and then a good plum duff, our labours helped to soften.

Well now we've done; on Christmas-eve we finished the last cobblers,
And galloped off to Queanbeyan, to take some social nobblers;
I stay at Land's: so join me, mate, I'm scarcely ever out;
The shearer from the Billybong is always free to shout.

First published in The Queanbeyan Age, 9 January 1873

Note: the author of this poem is unknown.

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