This was a very popular song sung by many singers and my memory for it goes back to a very fine lady, Joy Durst, who encouraged people to sing Australian songs and who was indeed a great influence. It was originally a song from the American Civil War and was adapted to suit the Australian environment. The gum tree canoes were constructed by the Aborigines from special type of gum tree. Martyn
I’ll sing you a few lines a short little song
It won’t take a moment I’ll not keep you long
I will sing of the days when our hearts they were young
And we’d sail down the Murray river boys as the days passed along.
We’d row we’d row on the waters so blue
Like a feather we would float along in our gum tree canoe.
My hand on my banjo my toe on the oar
I’d work all the day and I’d sing as I’d go
Then at night time alone with my Julia so fair
We would sail down the Murray river boys
And our dreams we would share.
I once left the river to work on the land
And set myself up as a Cockie so grand
But the life didn’t suit me the way it was then
So it’s back to the Murray river then
And my Julia again.