The Poetry Corner

The Overlander

By Banjo Paterson (Andrew Barton)

Theres a trade you all know well Its bringing cattle over Ill tell you all about the time When I became a drover. I made up my mind to try the spec, To the Clarence I did wander, And bought a mob of duffers there To begin as an overlander. Chorus Pass the wine cup round, my boys; Dont let the bottle stand there, For to-night well drink the health Of every overlander. Next morning counted the cattle Saw the outfit ready to start, Saw all the lads well mounted, And their swags put in a cart. All kinds of men I had From France, Germany, and Flanders; Lawyers, doctors, good and bad, In the mob of overlanders. Next morning I set out When the grass was green and young; And they swore theyd break my snout If I did not move along. I said, Youre very hard; Take care, dont raise my dander, For Im a regular knowing card, The Queensland overlander. Tis true we pay no license, And our run is rather large; Tis not often they can catch us, So they cannot make a charge. They think we live on store beef, But no, Im not a gander; When a good fat stranger joins the mob, Hell do, says the overlander. One day a squatter rode up. Says he, Youre on my run; Ive got two boys as witnesses. Consider your stock in pound. I tried to coax, then bounce him, But my tin I had to squander, For he put threepence a head On the mob of the overlander. The pretty girls in Brisbane Were hanging out their duds. I wished to have a chat with them, So steered straight for the tubs. Some dirty urchins saw me, And soon they raised my dander, Crying, Mother, quick! take in the clothes, Here comes an overlander! In town we drain the wine cup, And go to see the play, And never think to be hard up For how to pass the day. Each has a sweetheart there, Dressed out in all her grandeur Dark eyes and jet black flowing hair. Shes a plum, says the overlander.