The Colonial Words by David Weston Tune M.Wyndham-Read
Over the years I have accumulated many folk magazines, many of which were Australian ones, and looking through one of them, Northern Folk printed in the early 1960’s I came across this set of words, just as a poem, and I attached myself to it and wrote a tune for it. Many of the things that David Weston mentions in his words were jobs that I myself did when working on the sheep and cattle station Emu Springs, Tintinara, South Australia when I first went out to Australia in the early 1960’s. I am glad to say that my wife Danni and I did meet up with David, who at that time was living west of the town Atherton Queensland and we were passing through Atherton on the way up to a festival near to Cooktown. Sadly David is no longer with us but I was pleased that he approved of the tune.
THE COLONIAL Words by David Weston Tune M.Wyndham-Read
I have slept in dusty blankets cold beneath a southern sky
Been shepherd to a million sheep and seen bright parrots fly
I have watched with thirsty cattle when for them there’s nought to drink
And riding round the basalt hills I’ve seen red dingos slink.
I have fished in many rivers hunted pig and kangaroo
Broken horses for a job and cut a colt or two
I have even worked on stations mustered sheep in gidgee scrub
And used the hand shears and fly oil to rid their wool of grub.
I have smelled the jacaranda burning gum leaves like incense
Used the wire and strainers too to fix the boundary fence
I have banded calves in springtime by the dozen and the score
And I’ve heard the old grey ringer say there’e only a hundred more.
I have made a hack a rooter and a buck jumper a hack
And I’ve had the old night horse drop me from off his ancient back
Oh I’ve coo-eed in the gidgee and I’ve heard the answering cry
I’ve done all this and more besides beneath a southern sky.
But now my track leads homeward to the land where I belong
No more I’ll boil the old quart pot beside the billabong
Oh I’ll miss the glorious Southern Cross the mopoke’s mournful cry
Because the Bush is in my blood I hate to say goodbye.
Fifteen thousand miles to go where the northern star shines bright
But I’ll listen and remember how the cattle rush at night
Where the brolgas dance at mating and the kookaburra yells
And all the time I’ll listen for the Condamine horse bells
And all the time I’ll listen for the Condamine horse bells.