A Bush Christening by AB Banjo Patterson

Campin’ Round Coonamble

Campin’ round Coonamble,
Keepin’ up the strike,
Through the black soil country
Plugging on the “bike”;
Half a thousand shearers,
What had we to gain
Campin’ round Coonamble,
Campin in the rain?

Twenty bob a hundred
Shearing with machines!
Good enough in these times
We know what it means-
Sinking tanks and fencing,
Shearing’s better pay
Twenty bob a hundred,
Twenty bob a day!

Every little farmer
Up Monaro side
Sends the boys a-shearing,
Hoping to provide
Something for the homestead;
All his hopes are vain,
While we’re round Coonamble,
Campin’ in the rain.

Up at old man Tobin’s,
First pen on the right,
Don’t I know his wethers,
Know ‘em all by sight!
Many a year I shore ‘em
Like to shear again,
Better game than campin’,
Campin in the rain.

What’s the use of talking
Five - and twenty bob,
While there’s hundreds hungry
Looking for a job?
Darling Harbour casuals,
Hollow in the cheek,
Cadging from the Government
Two days’ work a week.

When with peel of trumpets,
And with beat of drums,
Labour’s great millenium
Actually comes;
When each white Australian,
Master of his craft,
Keeps a foreign servant
Just to do the graft;

When the price of shearing
Goes to fifty bob,
And there’s no man hungry
Looking for a job;
Then if they oppress us,
Then we’ll go again
Campin’ round Coonamble,
Campin’ in the rain.

More Banjo Paterson poems recorded by Wallis and Matilda


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