Wongawilli Colonial
Dance Club Inc.

PO Box 17,
Albion Park,
NSW, 2527,
Ph. (61) 2 4257 1788
Fax (61) 2 4257 1787

Wongawilli Band Sound Samples

The Wongawilli Band has seven members and perform a range of traditional, original and contemporary Australian folk songs and tunes.

The band can play for concerts and bush dances. Graeme calls the steps to the dances and provides walk throughs.

The following sound samples are in a low quality MP3 format, approximately 1 minute in duration.

Click here for a 250 dpi version of the photograph

Click here for an Acrobat file set-up sheet for the Wongawilli Band.

Australian Folk Songs from the recording - Live at the Local

The band has three singers who feature on various songs and combine for harmonies and unison singing.

Here's a sample of Chloe's beautiful Australian voice singing:

Here'a sample of Graeme's smooth and rustic Australian singing:

Here's a sample of Jason's gutsy bush style voice singing:

Bush Dance Music

The band has over 500 tunes in its repertoire from various sources - Australian, Celtic, European, North American reels, jigs, polkas, step dance tunes, waltzes, mazurkas, varsovianas, schottisches, hornpipes and quadrille tunes.

The band has a number of lead instruments - accordion, fiddle, mandolin, banjo with a strong rhythm section with guitar, vamping piano, lagerphone and kick drum.

Here's a sample of the sound:

More sound samples from the earlier recording - Australian Selection


The following is a comprehensive list of the songs the band has performed.

    1. Abercrombie Caves - collected by Alex Hood/Rob Willis
    2. Albury Ram - traditional
    3. Aleoutte, Army Parody - collected from Bob McInnes
    4. And When They Dance - by Roy C.Abbott
    5. Army Song, from Bill Case - South Australia
    6. Around the Boree Log - words John O'Brien, music by David De Santi/John Harpley
    7. Bail Up - by Rob Fairbairn
    8. Bald Hill - from Ebb Wren of Forbes, collected by Rob Willis
    9. Ballad of Yick Yung - by Dennis O'Keeffe
    10. Battler's Ballad - words Jack Wright, music Alan Scott/Bushwhackers
    11. Binda Ball 1864 - words John Manifold, music John  Harpley
    12. Blue Gold, Butter and Redwood - words Neil McCann,  music from Bert Jamieson
    13. Blue Murder - by Alistair Hulett
    14. Blue Outback Skies - by Michael O'Sullivan
    15. Boozin - collected by Rob Willis
    16. Bonnie Moon - from Carrie Milliner
    17. Bottle Run - Barry Skipsey
    18. Bound for South Australia - traditional
    19. Bound for Western Port - words Neil McCann, music by Neil McCann, David De Santi, Graeme Murray
    20. Bury Me Beneath the Willow - from Ebb Wren, Forbes, collected by Rob Willis
    21. Call of the North Jack - words Sorenson, music Bob  Rummery
    22. Charlie Mopps (The Man who invented beer) - traditional
    23. Christmas Where The Gum Trees Grow - Liegh Newton
    24. Ciao Billabong - words, music D.De Santi/N. McCann/J.  Harpley
    25. Coal Miner's Lament - N. McCann
    26. Dashers Home Brew - words R. &  G Murray, msuic D.  De Santi
    27. Diamintina Drover -  Hugh McDonald
    28. Digger's Song - words traditional, music D. De Santi
    29. The Dog's Meeting - traditional
    30. Drover's Boy - Ted Egan
    31. Dug-out in the True (from New Zealand) - traditional?
    32. Euabalong Ball - traditional
    33. Eugowra Rocks - traditonal
    34. Eumeralla Shore - traditional
    35. Freedom on the Wallaby - words Henry Lawson, music Chris Kempster
    36. Freehold on the Plain - traditional
    37. Giovanna's Deli - Kavisha Mazella
    38. Give Me a Hut traditional
    39. Goorianawa - traditional
    40. Gundaroo Bullock - words Banjo Paterson, music arranged John Harpley
    41. I Never Will Marry - from Carrie Milliner
    42. Irish Lords - words Charles C. Souter, music Martyn Wyndham-Read
    43. Jacksons - collected by John Meredith
    44. Jog Along Till Shearing - from Joe Cashmere
    45. Kookaburra Laughed - traditional
    46. Larkins Bar - collected by John Meredith, arranged David De Santi
    47. Leatherman (from New Zealand) - traditional?
    48. Les Darcy - by Clem Parkinson
    49. Like Limerick - by David Beniuk
    50. Matt Gabbett - by Lyell Sayer
    51. Moss Vale Train - by Alan Scott
    52. New Land -  by Austin Durack
    53. A Night at Daisy Park - Neil McCann
    54. Ocean Liner - Barry Skipsey
    55. Old Shiralee - John Broomhall
    56. On the Night Train - words Henry Lawson, music Chris Kempster
    57. Opal Beds - Graham Miles
    58. The Outside Track - words Henry Lawson, music Gerry Hallom
    59. Overlanders - traditional
    60. Patsy Fagan - traditional
    61. Pickers Train - by Neil Adam
    62. Pig-Catcher's Lovesong - tradional?
    63. Pitt (Collins) Street Cocky - by Tim O'Brien
    64. Poison Train - by Michael O'Rourke
    65. Put A Light in Every Country Window - Don Henderson
    66. Queensland Shed's Begun - words Will Ogilvie, music Martyn Wyndham-Read
    67. Rabbit Trapper - collected and arranged by Dave de Hugard
    68. Raspberry Pickers - traditional?
    69. The Rodney - by Dennis O'Keeffe
    70. Rum & Raspberry - Martin Curtis (NZ)
    71. Saturday Night at Marshall Mount - words Neil McCann, tune from Arthur Bowley
    72. Shearer's Jamboree - by Joan Martin
    73. Shearing Time - trad/John Harpley
    74. Shoalhaven Man - by Geoff Drummond
    75. Sign On Day - traditional
    76. Six White Boomers - Rolf Harris
    77. Song of the Bullock Driver - words Henry Lawson, music by Chris Kempster/Mike Jackson
    78. Song of the Republic - words Henry Lawson, msuic Hugh McDonald
    79. Songs of the Bush - by Jason and Chloe Roweth
    80. Southern Cross is Calling - by Joe Paolacci
    81. Springtime Brings on the Shearing - traditional
    82. The Swaggies Have All Waltzed Matilda Away - Alistair Hulett
    83. Tangmalangmaloo - words John O'Brien, music by Wongawilli
    84. The Tent Poles Are Rotten - words Henry Lawson, music arranged Dave de Hugard
    85. Three Rivers Hotel - by Stan Coster
    86. Tomahawkin Fred - traditional
    87. Travellin Down the Castlereagh - by Banjo Paterson
    88. Turning Steel - by Colin Dryden
    89. The Wallaby Track - arranged by Dave de Hugard
    90. Waltzing Matilda - Queensland version
    91. The Waterwitch - words by Snowy Baker, arranged Brad Tate
    92. The Wee One - from Sally Sloane, collected by John Meredith
    93. When You're Flush - words Jack Sorenson, music Bob Rummery
    94. Windmill Run - by Alan Mann
    95. Year of the Drum - by Wendy Joseph

Words of Songs and Music Notes from Australian Selection

And When They Dance Bald Hill Binda Ball 1864 Blue Gold, Butter & Redwood
Call of the North Dashers Home Brew Diggers Song Gundaroo Bullock
Irish Lords Larkins Bar A Night at Daisy Park Jacksons
Pitt Street Cocky Saturday Night at Marshall Mount Shearing Time Song of the Bullock Driver
When You're Flush Year of the Drum First Set Tunes Waltzes
Mazurkas Set Tunes    


And When They Dance

And when they dance, their dresses spin round,
They travel so light that they ne'er touch the ground,
And the smile on their faces will win every crowd,
The lasses who danced 'till the morning.

I've travelled about, yes I've been all around,
From Perth in the west, to old Sydney town,
And it warms up my heart every time I look down,
At the lasses who danced 'till the morning.


I play for the gentry, I've played for them all,
From a small country gig to a debutantes ball,
And it's one thing that joins them, the big and the small,
It's the lasses who danced 'till the morning.


At the end of the dance the folk leave the floor,
Their feet must be tired, so tender and sore,
But who are the ones who call out for more,
It's the lasses who danced 'till the morning.


So long may I travel, and far may I roam,
From Darwin to Hobart, a long way from home,
And I'll stare at the people who I'll never know,
And the lasses who danced 'till the morning.


And as they dance, men turn them around,
Lads all dressed up for a night on the town,
In their waistcoats and moleskins, It's a smile and a bow,
To the lasses who danced 'till the morning.

Chorus: twice.

Roy Abbot played with the Western Australian band Mucky Duck and has written many fine songs. This one aptly describing a musician's view of dancing. Graeme Murray added the last verse.

Binda Ball 1864

There was never a dance like our Boxing Day ball,
For we found, at the height of the fun,
That the Monks girls were dancing with Gilbert and Hall,
And Christina Mackinnon with Dunn.

The bushranger's gold in the candlelight flowed,
And we joined in their generous caprice,
But storekeeper Morris ran off down the road,
To Bathurst to warn the Police.


"Bad scran to the blackguard!" cried Margaret Monks,
"There's time for just one event more,
It's a matter of teaching good manners to skunks,
Come on, and we'll burn down his store!"


When the traps and the traitor rode up with the dawn,
The store had been burnt to the ground,
The dancing was over, the curtains were drawn,
And the bushrangers couldn't be found.


They arrested Christina and Ellen and Peg,
But we heard the girls pluckily call,
"It was cheap at the price, to have shaken a leg,
With John Gilbert, Jack Dunn and Ben Hall!"

repeat last verse as chorus:

This poem was written by folklorist John Manifold and is a humorous look at the escapades of the Ben Hall gang during a dance in the small township of Binda, NSW. The instrumental tune is a heel and toe polka tune from button accordion player John Warn of Crooked Corner, NSW, near Binda, published in John Meredith's Folk Songs of Australia.

Call of the North

Oh the western wind is blowing, so there's rain and storm in store,
And the teams have long been going down the road to Glindawor,
To where tropic sun is gleaming, and the fragrant winds blow free,
I've awakened from my dreaming and the North is calling me.

Oh the steam is in the boiler, in the expert's room below,
While upon the board each toiler waits to hear the whistle blow,
'Cause the shearing is beginning and my heart is fancy free,
And the friction wheels are spinning, yes the North is calling me.

From the southwards to the nor'wards, where the long brown tracks wind down,
All my mates have hastened forward, to the wilderness, from town,
Gone by stony hill and hollow, to where I now fain would be,
Where they lead I needs must follow, for the North is calling me.

What's this news I have been hearing, tidings strange to me indeed,
Bidgemia now is shearing, with Sawallish in the lead,
Straining camel teams are swaying, from the Junction to the sea,
Why so long am I delaying, when the North is calling me.


And so northward I am going, for I cannot linger here,
For the starting whistle's blowing, and the guns are into gear,
And to be there I am yearning, I would hail the sheds with glee,
For the friction wheels are turning, and the North is calling me.


Another song from Western Australia which describes the northwards movement of the shearers following the work. Jack Sorenson was a Western Australian poet who spent his time around the gold fields, shearing sheds and pubs reciting his poetry. He was also very handy with his fists having been a boxer in his earlier days.

Bald Hill

'Twas a dark stormy night, not a star was in sight,
And the diggings were quiet and still,
From out of his tent a Chinaman went,
Beneath the creek under Bald Hill, Bald Hill, Bald Hill,
Beneath the creek under Bald Hill.

If you come here a'shakin', you'll find you're mistaken,
You'll get a good shakin' you will,
If shakin's your bent, it's time that you went ,
Beneath the creek under Bald Hill, Bald Hill, Bald Hill,
Beneath the creek under Bald Hill.

So back to his tent, the Chinaman went,
And the diggings were quiet and still,
One solitary soul, he was looking for gold,
Beneath the creek under Bald Hill, Bald Hill, Bald Hill,
Beneath the creek under Bald Hill.

repeat verse 1

Rob Willis collected this song from Ebb Wren at Forbes who in turn learnt if from his cousin, Vince Mulligan. The Mulligans were one of the pioneering families of the Central Western slopes of NSW. Typical of the folk song process Ebb added the last verse. Bald Hill was a major landmark in the Hill End gold fields. The song is representative of the attitudes of the day to the Chinese diggers. The term 'shakin' comes from the slang word 'shook' which meant to steal.

Dashers Home Brew

I first met old Dasher when tramping about,
Down in the Snowy while fishing for trout,
Now he's not the subject of this little saga,
But what's loosely known as Dasher's own lager.

His brewery was down on the coast so they say,
At the time of the bottling the neighbours did pray,
Whenever he poured it from out of the tub,
The tremor was felt all the way up the scrub.


There hasn't been much to move me these years,
Though I've had my share of laughter and tears.
But nothing my friends be it old, be it new,
Has stirred me as much as old Dasher home brew.

Then came the opening, now it's quite an art,
The first bloke to try it got a hell of a start,
In an old tin hut, down on Turpentine Creek,
He was hit by a top and laid out for a week.

There was this great barbie to sample the brew,
The locals all came and they drank quite a few,
"You little ripper" there was burnt snags to suit,
But no one went home, they got full as a boot.


Now there was old Jacko, in his EH would roam,
Two bottles from Dasher he got to take home,
On the way up the mountain the bottles went bang,
His dogs all took off and Jacko's head rang.

Well my good friends you can take it from me,
If you want to get blind for a minimum fee,
Go down to the valley, be one of the few,
Who'll never forget old Dasher's home brew.

Dasher was a home brewer who frequented the high country during the 1950s sharing his lager with friends and passers by. Phyl Garner was a hard working woman, a musician of the pioneering spirit who wrote many poems and stories about people and the country. Dasher was a real person in one of her poems. This story of Dasher inspired Reg Murray to write it as a song with language of the country and touches of humour. The chorus is original as written by Phyl Garner. "Our Gran", Phyl Garner now lies in the country she loved at rest overlooking "Coodra Vale", Wee Jasper, NSW, the former mountain station of Banjo Paterson. The original tune for the verse of the song comes from harmonica player Bill Painter of Crooked Corner, NSW, collected by John Meredith, The chorus melody has been added. Words by Reg Murray/Phyl Garner and arranged by Graeme Murray, music adapted by David De Santi.


Irish Lords

The barley grass was two feet high, the billabongs were full,
The brolgas danced a minuet, the world seemed made of wool,
The nights were never wearisome, the days were never slow,
When first I went to Irish Lords, on the road to Ivanhoe.

The frost was on the barley grass as we passed the homestead rails,
A darling jackass piped us in, with his turns and trills and scales,
Youth and health and happiness, sat on the saddle bow,
And Mary lived at Irish Lords, on the road to Ivanhoe.

And everywhere was happiness, the fates were fair and kind,
We drank the very wine of life, we never looked behind,
And Mary, Mary everywhere, was flitting to and fro,
When first we went to Irish Lords, on the road to Ivanhoe.

The window on a leafy byre, where the golden banksia grew,
Stared like a dead man's glassy eye, for the roof had fallen through,
No flowers in her garden-bed, and her voice stilled long ago,
When last I went to Irish Lords, on the road to Ivanhoe.

"Irish Lords" is a well known sheep station near Ivanhoe in the far west of NSW. It was originally a poem by Charles H. Souter from the 1860s set to music by English folk singer Martyn Wyndham Read. The verse was sent to Martyn in England by Mary Ball of Melbourne and he claims to have collaborated by telepathy with the author.


As we started down from Nariel one early morn in spring,
The busy bees were humming and the mocking bird did sing,
The little birds all round us, joined in the morning song,
So we saddled up our horses and we steered for Corryong.

There was Billy Moore and Brownie, Dave Warland and two more,
And none of us afraid of quod, we'd all been there before,
We'd whips and whips of rhino and I mean to let you know,
That I won't go back with Jacksons on the road to Omeo.

Now we steered into Tintaldra to see big Jack McGrath,
His breath would nearly stun you as he served behind the bar,
His wine would knock you silly, and his beer would make you blow,
But we won't go back with Jacksons on the road to Omeo.

Now we reined them up at Winn's Hotel, the best pub in the town,
We wasn't there so very long and our cheques was all knocked down,
Brownie said, "We're stony broke, I think we'll have to go,
But we won't go back with Jacksons on the road to Omeo."

Now my spree is nearly ended and I think I've drank my share,
If ever I get another cheque, I'll act up on the square,
I'll saddle up the old grey horse and a'shearin' I will go,
But we won't go back with Jacksons on the road to Omeo.


Oh now my spree is over and it's home I will return,
I'll go back to that pretty girl, her heart will surely yearn,
I'll roll her in the clover, let the wind blow high or low,
But we won't go back with Jacksons on the road to Omeo.
Oh no we won't go back with Jacksons on the road to Omeo.

The words of this song have an affinity with the songs 'Road to Gundagai' and 'Lazy Harrys'. Its previous title was 'The Road to Omeo', and the tune may even be the original of Lazy Harrys. In spring 1984 John Meredith along with Ian Tait and his brother, Claude visited Wally Wilesmith in Tumbarumba, NSW, who sang this version. Wally learnt it in 1926 from his Uncle Bill Cook and his boys Jack, Bill and Lenny who had all worked for the 'Jacksons'. The Jacksons are still remembered in the district as a hard drinking, fighting family who were road building contractors. Later Jack Cook was located in Wangaratta, Vic. and revealed the writer as Walter Stores, born around 1880.

Blue Gold, Butter and Redwood

They pushed their way in from the coast for cedars straight and tall,
Climbed to Saddleback, then down the hill they'd haul,
The axes rang out all day long and stripped the forests bare,
They milled them on the spot and shipped them who-knows-where.
Timber was the cry and timber was their life,
I admit that times were good,
Forests everywhere and so they didn't care,
They took it all and never gave it back.

The miners came and set up camp, the work was pretty fair,
The hill was all blue metal, now the hill's no longer there,
They sent the metal down the tracks, right to Kiama's shore,
The ships that plied the coast back then kept coming back for more.
Blue gold in the ground and blue gold built this town,
I admit it paid its way,
Didn't seem to mind the scars they left behind,
They took it all and never gave it back.

They cleared the land to graze their cows and built more than a shack,
Working on the land and living off its back,
They milked the cows and milked the land, land of milk and honey,
Right out to Jamberoo, making lots of money.
"Bail up" was the call and "Bail up" says it all,
I admit sometimes it's tough,
Pastures changed the face, no forests left in place,
They took it all and never gave it back.

"Bail up" was the call and "Bail up" says it all,
I admit sometimes it's tough,
Pastures changed the face, no forests left in place,
We took too much so now lets give some back.

Kiama , on the South Coast of NSW, is still a rich and beautiful part of Australia despite a history of "giving" up its natural resources. Most of this happened before people saw the importance of conservation. The last line of the song refers to the responsibility of today's generation to ensure the preservation of what is left. The tune comes from the playing of 92 year old Bert Jamieson, originally from a family of 13 in the Snowy Mountains. He use to play the tune for the sets or quadrilles. His harmonica playing was recorded by John Meredith and Rob Willis for preservation in the National Library.

Larkin's Bar

Give me a week on Blugon Creek, whether I'm up or down,
Give me a week on Blugon Creek and I'm bound for Sydney town,
If I get a week on Blugon Creek, whether I'm up or down,
If I get a week on Blugon Creek well I'm bound for old Sydney town.

A little chap sat in a little bark hut, where the Murrumbidgee water flows,
He wrote a note to his Mum and Dad, and this is how it goes,
Dear Mum and Dad this country life is nothing to spruke about,
We're up with the lark and we work 'till dark, and there's nowhere to go, but bed.

chorus 1:
Take me back to the Sydney streets, back to the trams and cars,
Back to the town with the Post Office clock, back to the free lunch bars,
Back to the girls who welcome me, whether I'm up or down,
Back to the girls I know so well, in good old Sydney town.

Instrumental; Let's have a little fun with Gertie.

Give me a week on Batlow Creek, whether I'm up or down,
Give me a week on Batlow Creek and I'm bound for Sydney town,
If I get a week on Batlow Creek, whether I'm up or down,
If I get a week on Batlow Creek well I'm bound for old Sydney town.

A little boy sat in an old bark hut, where the waters of the Billabong flow,
He tried to write by the candle-light, a letter to his girl at home,
He said, "Dear Lass this cockies life is not what people said,
You're up with the lark and you work 'till dark, and there's nowhere to go, but bed."

chorus 2:
So take me back to the Holbrook streets, back where the beer hogs are,
Back to the sound of the barrel taps, back to Larkin's Bar,
Back to the girls that welcome me, whether I'm up or down,
Back to the place I love so well, it's dear old Holbrook town.

Instrumental: Let's have a little fun with Gertie.

Chorus 1: twice.

Fragments of this song have been collected from various informants in the travels of John Meredith and Rob Willis. Holbrook shearing contractor James 'Digger' O'Brien had a song about Larkin's Bar, the most popular and oldest pubs in the town. John Meredith recorded a different version of the song from Digger's daughter, Marilyn McPherson and Jack Campbell of Lavington who worked for Digger. Other variants have also been recorded from Barney Kennedy of West Wyalong, Val Turton of Binalong, Claude Meredith (John's brother), Howie Burgin of Holbrook, Lenny Cook of Tumbarumba, and Billy Williams . Each version varying in the location of the cities and the creeks. The name 'Blugon' was a localised version of Brookong, a sheep station south of Lockhart and is from Barney Kennedy's version learnt from his father. The 'free lunch bars ' referred to a practice during the depression where Sydney pubs offered a free lunch with the purchase of a drink or a packet of cigarettes. Some hungrier patrons would sell their cigarettes outside and return for a second portion! The instrumental tune is 'Let's Have A Little Fun With Gertie' from Val Turton of Binalong. Val learnt it from her father Harry Cotter, a traditional fiddle and accordion player with a huge repertoire of tunes and songs. The tune was used for step dancing a popular form of display dancing in the bush. Arranged by David De Santi.

A Night At Daisy Park

Play us a tune on your old concertina, they ask young Jimmy McCann.
The dancing begins as he plays the first note, the girls take the men by the hand.
In an old log kitchen at Daisy park, the evening has just begun.
There'll be singing and dancing for hours to come, and they wish no end to the fun.


The road runs north from Bedgerebong, the sulky runs rough on the track.
They're out for the night for a song and dance, not sure when they'll be back.
Past Gunning Gap church on the right now they're close, there's excitement in the air.
When you see the tall pines line the road to the house, it's tie-up and straighten your hair.

The folk in the house hear the sulky approach, they jump up and rush to the door.
Jim's playing a tune, it's in time with the horse as it trots down the drive in four-four.
They welcome them in and they give them a drink and discuss the past week and such things.
With formalities over they move all the chairs to make plenty of room for the flings.


The music goes on till the wee tiny hours, the kids lie asleep on the floor.
The night's nearly over, the dancing has stopped, their tired feet are too sore.
The wood stove boils the kettle once more, they sit round and sing an old song.
One last cup of tea 'fore they head on their way back to Bedgerebong.


Neil McCann recently discovered that his grandfather, Jim McCann, who died in 1922 was a well known concertina player in the Forbes district of NSW. After a pilgrimage back to his "roots", Neil wrote this song about a night out for the local farming community. Jim McCann's family leave in their sulky from their property "Hillview" near Bedgerebong and assemble at "Daisy Park" for a real bush dance.

Pitt Street Cocky

Oh I'm a gentleman farmer with an office in Pitt Street,
I go to work each morning to the rush of city feet,
But my heart is in the country with my forty three hectare block,
And I keep the taxman busy boys, each year it makes a loss.

So click go the shears boys and how's your billy boil?
I like to care for my lambs and sheep and I love a good day's toil,
If my farming gets much worse lads, I'll become a millionaire,
I'm a Pitt Street cocky with a little lurk, and the taxman doesn't care.

Each week I pack my family in my thoroughbred sports car,
And we go for a drive up country to see how the farmers are,
And I talk of beef and lambing and "Strewth, the season's crook,"
But I never talk of the taxman boys and that lets me off the hook.


Now I may not look a hayseed, more like a young exec.
But I've got a pair of Blundstone boots in my garage if you'll check,
And I keep my Alfa registered, with a primary producer tag,
And I claim it as a capital expense, that's money in my bag.

chorus: twice.

The original version by Tim O'Brien from Melbourne is titled 'Collins Street Cocky'. The sentiment expressed in the song applies equally to the NSW 'Pitt Street Cockies' and hence the title change.

Saturday Night at Marshall Mount

Pack up the books and clear away the School desks,
Sawdust and kerosene to polish up the floor,
Ollie Watt strikes up a tune, the dancing's just beginning,
Forget your cares and woes as the dancers call for more.

Saturday night at Marshall Mount, the Merry Makers play,
Whipping up a storm with their Old Time dancing,
Arthur Bowley calls the tune, some couples lead the way,
Dancing through the evening to the tune of Wendy Anne.

Arthur plays accordion, his Dad on drums or banjo,
His brother Jack joins along, his mother on piano,
With violins and mandolins, the sound is strong and tuneful,
A band of musicians that'll make you tap your toes.

Soon the School room was too small, the crowds were growing bigger,
They built a hall but even that began to overflow,
Young and old came to dance, a night for one and all,
It bridged the generation gap, while dancing heel-and-toe.


For forty years the Bowley clan have been the Merry Makers,
Other players have come and gone, other dances died,
But at Marshall Mount you still can hear the sounds of joy and laughter,
As the Old Time dance gets under way and the dancers take the floor.


Marshall Mount is only distinguishable by the presence of a Hall, a previous one teacher school, Marshall Mount House and a few farms but its impact on the Illawarra district of NSW socially and historically has been notable. Socials began in Marshall Mount House in 1934 with music provided by members of the Bowley family, Roy Hazelton, George Smith, Ollie Watt and Mrs A. Doyle. The year 1953 saw the opening of the hall and the beginning of the Old Time Dance. The tune, a schottische, comes from 81 year old Arthur Bowley who learnt it from Ollie Watt. Arthur has been playing the piano accordion for old time dances for over 50 years and still plays at the dance with the Marshall Mount Merrymakers. The waltz tune used in the song is part of 'Wendy Anne,' composed by Arthur.

Song of the Bullock Driver

Far back in the days when the blacks used to ramble, In long single file 'neath the evergreen tree,
The wool-teams in season came down from Coonamble,
And journeyed for weeks on their way to the sea.
With mates who have gone to the great Never-Never,
And mates whom I've not seen for many a day,
I camped on the banks of the Cudgegong River,
And yarned at the fire by the old bullock dray.

We rose with the dawn, were it ever so chilly,
When yokes and tarpaulins were covered with frost,
And toasted the bacon and boiled the black billy,
Where high on the camp-fire the branches were tossed.
On flats where the air was suggestive of possums,
And homesteads and fences were hinting of change,
We saw the faint glimmer of apple tree blossoms,
And far in the distance the blue of the range.

And here in the rain, there was small use in flogging,
The poor, tortured bullocks that tugged at the load,
When down to the axles the wagons were bogging,
And traffic was making a marsh of the road.
Then slowly we crawled by the trees that kept tally,
Of miles that were passed on the long journey down,
We saw the wild beauty of Capertee Valley, As slowly we rounded the base of the Crown.

'Twas hard on the beasts on the terrible pinches,
Where two teams of bullocks were yoked to a load,
And tugging and slipping, and moving by inches,
Half-way to the summit they clung to the road.
And then, when the last of the pinches was bested,
You'll surely not say that a glass was a sin?
The bullocks lay down 'neath the gum trees and rested,
The bullockies steered for the bar of the inn.

And oh but the best paying load that I carried,
Was one to the run where my sweetheart was nurse,
We courted awhile, and agreed to get married,
And couple our futures for better or worse.
And as my old feet grew too weary to drag on,
The miles of rough metal they met by the way,
My eldest grew up and I gave him the wagon,
He's plodding along by the bullocks to-day.

Vivid imagery of the life of a bullock driver. The descriptive genius, of Henry Lawson at his best. This and many other of Lawson's poems have been set to music and recorded by many artists over the years. Chris Kempster from Sydney has compiled an excellent collection Lawson's poems set to music.

Shearing Time

Where the red dawn wakes the ridges to the sunlight's sudden sheen,
And the tall trees bending over, shed a wondrous gift of green,
The shearing sheds are humming now the daisies dot the plains,
And the green-lipped gilgai water sings its songs of recent rains.
Hear the whipcracks, hear the wailing of the weaners when the ewes,
Are hustled up the woolrace by the swearing jackaroos,
Hear the kelpies giving warning where the wethers, fighting shy,
Make a sudden dash for freedom to the timber slipping by.

With the fleeces falling swiftly it is "keep 'em running free,"
'Till the knock-off rings a warning when it's "Brownie, boys, and tea,"
And the shearers stooping over straighten weary backs and call,
A challenge to McAndrew, who is ringer of them all.
But when shadows slip the halter on the daylight's fiery mane,
And the cockatoos are stringing in formation o'er the plain,
Then the pipe-smoke curling upward, glimmers grey against the light,
And with frogs to call a chorus, Casey's banjo comes to light.

And it's "Play us Annie Laurie," for the simple singers find,
That to lack of tune and learning, older songs are often kind,
'Till when high among the tree-tops comes a white moon reaching down,
To clothe the sleeping mulgas in a green and silver gown.
There's a sudden spate of darkness, winging low against the light,
Where the wild ducks leave the water in a tremulous affright,
When a burst of bully voices makes the echoes ring again,
Where the green-lipped gilgai water, sings its song of recent rain.

From sun-up to camp fire - a day in the life of a shearer; in the bush ballad tradition from the pen of E.R. Murray. The tune set to the song is the well known bush tune Girls of Ivory. The instrumental is a set tune from the late Harry McQueen, a widely respected button accordion player from Castlemaine, Victoria. Gilgai is an aboriginal word for water hole.

The Diggers Song

By the side of the creek, with shovel and pan,
I see the gold diggers, a bold, sturdy clan;
They are sinking for wealth, and 'neath the red mould,
Lies all that they seek for, the long wish'd for gold.

So dig neath the mould, boys!
That's where you'll find gold, boys!
Aye, find it the same, as you've found it before.

The rock of the cradle sounds constant and clear,
'Tis music indeed to a gold-seeker's ear;
For when fortune favours, it makes their hearts bold,
Contented and happy, though toiling for gold.


Ah, what can compare with the life that they lead?
Unvex'd by those cares of which others take heed;
And when with their pile, they visit the town
Repine not in finding, they've knocked it all down.


Come, I'll pledge you a toast, and now let it be,
"The diggers! who here give a welcome to me;
May fortune be theirs, as they toil in the mould,
And each one go home with a good pile of gold."

chorus: twice.

The words of this song were originally published in the Empire newspaper in Sydney on the 31st July 1872. Tom Smith, who performed the song at a Goldfields concert in Forbes, is quoted in the newspaper article as saying "that's the ditty, and I must say I believe in it, especially them last two lines." Set to original music by David De Santi.

The Gundaroo Bullock

Oh, there's some that breeds the Devon, that's as solid as a stone,
And there's some that breeds the brindle which they call the "Goulburn Roan";
But amongst the breeds of cattle there are very, very few,
Like the hairy-whiskered bullock that they bred at Gundaroo.
Far away by Grabben Gullen, where the Murrumbidgee flows,
There's a block of broken countryside, where no one ever goes;
For the banks have gripped the squatters, and the free selectors too,
And their stock are always stolen by the men of Gundaroo.

Oh, there came a low informer to the Grabben Gullen side,
And he said to Smith the squatter, "You must saddle up and ride,
For your bullock's in the harness-cask of Morgan Donahoo,
He's the greatest cattle-stealer that abides at Gundaroo."
"Oh, ho!" said Smith, the owner, of the Grabben Gullen run,
"I'll go and get the troopers by the sinking of the sun,
And down into his homestead, boys, tonight we'll take a ride,
With warrants to identify the carcase and the hide."

That night rode down the troopers, the squatter at their head,
They rode into the homestead, and pulled Morgan out of bed,
"Now, show us to the carcase of the bullock that you slew,
The great marsupial bullock that you killed in Gundaroo."
They peered into the harness-cask, and found it wasn't full,
But down among the brine they saw some flesh and bits of wool,
"What's this?" exclaimed the trooper, "an infant I declare,"
Said Morgan, "'Tis the carcase, of an old man native bear,
I heard that ye were coming, so an old man bear I slew,
Just to give you kindly welcome to my home in Gundaroo."

"The times is something terrible, as you can plainly see,
The banks have broke the squatters, and they've broke the likes of me,
We can't afford a bullock, such expense would never do,
So an old man bear for breakfast, is a treat in Gundaroo."
Along by Grabben Gullen where the rushing river flows,
In the block of broken country where there's no one ever goes,
On the Upper Murrumbidgee, they're a very friendly crew,
But you musn't ask for "bullock" when you go to Gundaroo.

The Year of the Drum

My name is Jack Gresham, I grew up in Mannum,
That river boat town I loved well,
I married Meg Davis, we had us two children,
One day our family bliss turned to Hell.
For in nineteen fourteen, 'twas the year of the drum,
The guns and the Government called me to come,
Past melaleuca and tall shining gums,
I drifted away down the Murray.

My name is Meg Davis and I work down at Shearers,
Making wagons and stirrups and hames,
The war it is raging, the men are all fighting,
The women toil here making fuel for the flames.
For it's nineteen fifteen and the men have all gone,
They're fighting in Europe so we carry on,
We're keeping the candles lit bright here at home,
To light their way back up the Murray.

My name it is Mary and I am an orphan,
My father was killed in the war,
My mother Meg Davis, an upstanding lady,
She drowned in the Murray the year I turned four.
It was nineteen sixteen when the telegram came,
The death of her soldier its message proclaimed,
My Mum lost her footing due to tears and the rain,
She slipped on the banks of the Murray.

My name it is Billy and I am a soldier,
I just got my orders to-day,
My wife's name is Mary, she's as fair as a sunset,
I hate to be leaving her lonely this way.
But the year's forty two, 'tis the year of the drum,
The guns and the Government call me to come,
Past melaleuca and tall shining gums,
I'm drifting away down the Murray

But the year doesn't matter, there's always a drum,
The guns and the Governments call men to come,
But the town still grows strong in her tall shining sons,
While her daughters light lamps by the Murray.

This song from Wendy Joseph describes the tragic effects of the World Wars on several generations of the people of Mannum and the use of music to entice young men to war. Mannum is a small town on the lower Murray River and has the distinction of having lost more men per head of population in both World Wars than any other town in South Australia.

When You're Flush

Well the work's been long and steady since the contract started up,
When the pass is hard it doesn't pay to rush;
Burning in my moleskin pocket is what I got from it,
And it's other things you think of when you're flush;
So I'll wind up my string-line and I'll put my tools away,
And I'll turn the old camp oven upside down;
In quest of earthly capers I will look around a bit,
And I'll try the bill-of-fare in Bunbury town,
Yes I'll try the bill-of-fare in Bunbury town.

By the noon I'd crossed the sand plain and I didn't raise a sweat,
'Cause a traveller that day was kind to me;
I alighted from his sulky at the Prince of Wales Hotel,
And soon afterwards embarked upon a spree;
With a lady I befriended, so delightful was her charm,
My desire of it was soon to wear me down;
I feted her a fortnight with all the spice of life,
It was nice the bill-of-fare in Bunbury town,
It was nice the bill-of-fare in Bunbury town.

And then a day out at the races and some pennies that I tossed,
Soon relieved me of my remaining dough;
So I shouldered my possessions and I whipped the cat a bit,
To the bush I stretched, was time to strike a blow;
Back across the Preston river and about a mile beyond,
Resting in the shade of Boyle O'Riley's tree;
My mind's eye shaped a picture of him trudging years before,
In a way it seemed a parallel with me,
In a way it seemed a parallel with me.

Having finished with my dreaming at the junction of the roads,
And with thirty miles or more still left to tramp;
And past another sunrise to a gully further on,
I rested in the refuge of my camp;
Where I've unwound my string-line and I've perkied up my axe,
And I hope my daily tallies bring reknown;
And cooking in the old camp oven is a lovely mutton stew,
And it beats the bill-of-fare in Bunbury town,
And it beats the bill-of-fare in Bunbury town.

I've been toiling long and steady since the contract started up,
When the pass is hard it doesn't pay to rush;
I'll settle back and clean the slate with what I get from it,
And I'll satisfy my needs when I am flush.
Yes I'll satisfy my needs when I am flush.

This song describes the time honoured tradition of going on a 'spree' after having worked hard to earn the necessary cash. The song relates to the timber cutting industry which has played a large part in the development of the south west corner of Western Australia. The term 'the pass' referred to in the song means that the sleepers had to conform to the specifications as regards to length, width and height. If the inspector, or "passer", was difficult to please then it was said that "the pass was hard" and so "it didn't pay to rush" because if the sleeper was not passed then the cutter was not paid.


First Set Tunes - Colin Charlton's, Orley Benson's, The Walk Around

The quadrille, or as it more popularly known in the bush, the 'first set', generally consists of five figures. It dates from the mid 1800s and has been done until recently in country areas. Most traditional bush musicians can oblige with one or two tunes for the 'first set'. Colin Charlton is from Cookamidgera, near Parkes, NSW and is a multi- instrumentalist playing the button accordion, concertina, jaw harp, tin whistle and fiddle. His father played the concertina and taught the Charlton family many tunes. This tune is for the third figure of the Lancers Quadrille. The tune was collected amongst others by Rob Willis and John Meredith for the National Library. Colin joined other pioneer musicians in presenting real bush music in the "Real Folk" Concert at the 1992 National Folk Festival. Born at Linburn, NSW in 1910, Orley Benson's first job as a lad was working at "digging out" eradicating rabbits the hard way at Cudgegong. One of his workmates had a small button accordion which Orley bought for five shillings. In twenty minutes he had learnt 'Home Sweet Home'. Orley was recorded by John Meredith in 1982 and some of his music printed in 'Folk Songs of Australia, Vol. 2'. His large repertoire of old dance tunes were all learnt from bush musicians in the Mudgee district. Orley's tune here was played for the Stockyards figure being the last figure of the 'first set'. Stan Treacy, born in 1900, grew up in the Limerick district near Crookwell, NSW and played his fiddle at a dance at the age of 13. Over his latter years he was visited by many folk music collectors such as John Meredith, Chris Sullivan, Dave De Hugard, Don Brian and Brad Tate. Brad, as a 6 year old child, actually remembered him at a dance in John Treacy's woolshed '....decorated with green boughs and lit by Tilley lamps on wires in the rafters. The men brought their dancing pumps and there was tea, scones and lamingtons...' The Walk Around was used by Stan for the march of the First Set. The tune is in Scottish music collections as the 'Hills of Glenorchy'. Stan's music has been printed in Brad's 'Down & Outback', John Meredith's 'Folk Songs of Australia Vol. 2' and recorded by Dave De Hugard.

Waltzes - Under The Willow, Ernie Goodman's

Over the past 40 years John Meredith and other collectors have travelled throughout Australia recording folksongs, recitations, tunes and dances from authentic bush musicians. John's vast collection of over 5000 items is housed in the National Library. Over 500 items have been published in Folk Songs of Australia Vol.1 & 2 and provide a huge resource for bush bands to use. The two waltz tunes here are from John's work. The first waltz is from accordion player John Warn of Crooked Corner, NSW. John learnt the tune from his grandfather. A variation of the tune was also recorded by John Meredith from Doddy Murphy of The Lagoon, south of Bathurst. John still plays his style of bush music with his big four row button accordion with the Crooked Corner Band. Ernie Goodman was born in the Mudgee district in 1890. Bruce and Reg Kurtz from the Mudgee bush band Stringybark recorded over twenty tunes from the old man on the button accordion including the one presented here and in John Meredith's book.

Set Tunes - Railway Hotel, Moonan Flat First Set Tune

The Railway Hotel was apparently a song but only the tune was collected from Bert Shield of Unanderra, near Wollongong, NSW, by Alan Musgrove. Alan collected quite a number of songs from Bert of which a few were published in 1980 in Australia's only ever glossy folk magazine, Stringybark & Greenhide. Cecil and Russel Teagh were born in 1895 and 1905 respectively and both played the fiddle. They grew up near the uppermost creek tributary of the Hunter River above the Paterson called Moonan Brook. They played quite a number of tunes for John Meredith including this one for the 'first set'. Cecil recalls the days when he used to play in a band - '.....This band of ours, yer see, well, there was two piano accordions, two guitars, and me on the violin, that's five, and another feller on the drums, and the other one, an ordinary accordion he played. Well, it was pretty good music, real good dance music ... we played for years and years ....' from Folk Songs of Australia, Vol.2.

Copyright © 2002 Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club Inc. All Rights Reserved