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The Drover's dream

Australian folk song

The Drover's dream

 

  

Video Details

The Drover's dream

Artist: Sal Bonavita.

Playing time: 4.11
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The Drover's dream

Some Australian bush-songs are as rough as a chaff-bag. Not so this bemused wool-gathering piece of whimsy that has drifted sleepily all over the Australian continent from the south of Victoria up to Darwin. Old Bill Harney, a walking repository of Australian folklore, used to tell of a young drover who fell asleep on his night-watch. When he woke up, the sheep were gone and his mates were saddled up ready to search for them. The boss drover leaned over him with a kindly smile and said: "Don't bother to get up, son. Your cheque's in your boot!" The song requires no glossary, though it's worth mentioning that the maniacal bird called the kookaburra or laughing jackass is the bitter enemy of small reptiles such as the frilled lizard.

(Notes A. L. Lloyd, 'First Person')

 

The original melody and lyrics

Have a look at the original song sheet and listen to the midi

it seems every time someone publishes or records this song there are minor variations in the lyrics. I am no different. The melody in my version is something I made up long ago because I didn't like the bouncy bouncy feel of the original.

 

Modified lyrics

I also changed some of the words, because only an Australian would "get' some of the original colloquial references. I also felt references to some unique and typically Australian wildlife was strangely left out.

 

There is a line in the original lyrics that goes:

"The goanna and the snake and the adder wide awake With the alligator danced "The Soldier's Joy." I changed alligator to crocodile. I also threw in a reference to Koala bears which was strangely omitted. You cant get any more Australian than a Koala Bear.

 

Another line goes like this:

"In the spreading silky oak the jackass cracked a joke And the magpie sang, "The Wild Colonial Boy,"" How weird is that. I assume this refers to the 'Laughing jackass' or Kookaburra. The kookaburra is an Australian kingfisher bird having a loud cackling cry like an outrageuos laugh. To hell with the jackass. This colloquial reference is too obscure, so I replaced the word Jackass with Kookaburra.

 

Trivia:

Alligator hole (a tourist spot in the far north of Australia)

Named in the early days before the discovery that there were no alligators in Australia. Swimming was once considered safe when the hole had a small population of freshwater crocodiles but the dangerous saltwater crocodile has started to appear in the water and swimming is no longer recommended. Alligator hole (now also referred to as Crocodile Hole), is located along Parry Creek, approximately 50 kilometres south-east of Wyndham. traveldownunder.com.au

 

Lyrics

"The Drover's dream"


night when droving' sheep, my companions lay asleep
There were lots of stars to illuminate the sky
And I was dreaming' I suppose, for my eyes were nearly closed
When a very strange procession passed me by

First there came a Kangaroo with a swag of blankets blue
A Dingo ran beside him as his mate
And they were traveling' mighty fast but they shouted as they passed
We'll have to hurry along, it's getting late

The Pelican and the Crane, they came in from the plain
To amuse the company with a highland fling
The dear old Bandicoot played a tune upon his flute
And the koala bears sat around him in the ring

The Brolga and the Crow sang songs of long ago
And the Frill-necked Lizard listened with a smile
And the Emu standing near with his claw up to his ear
Said " that's the funniest thing I've heard for quite a while"

The frogs from out the swamp where the night is pretty damp
Came bounding in and sat upon some stones
They all unrolled their swags and produced from little bags
The mandolin, the banjo and the bones

The Goanna and the snake and the Adder wide awake
With the Crocodile they danced the Soldier's Joy
And in the spreading Silky-Oak, the Kookaburra cracked a joke
And the Magpie sang The Wild Colonial Boy

Some Wombats darted out from the Teatree all about
And performed a set of lances very well
Then the parrot green and blue gave the orchestra its cue
To strike up The Old Log Cabin in the dell

I was dreaming I suppose of those entertaining' shows
But it never crossed my mind I was asleep
Till the boss beneath the cart woke me up with such a start
Yelling "Dreamy, where the hell are all the sheep"

 

 


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