15+ Best Banjo Paterson Poems You Need To Read Now

Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson, CBE was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales, where he spent much of his childhood.

If you’re searching for famous poems ever that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of most known Siegfried Sassoon poems, greatest Edna St. Vincent Millay poems, and powerful Kabir poems.

Famous Banjo Paterson Poems

The Old Keg Of Rum

My name is old Jack Palmer,
I’m a man of olden days,
And so I wish to sing a song
To you of olden praise.
To tell of merry friends of old
When we were gay and young;
How we sat and sang together
Round the Old Keg of Rum.

Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
How we sat and sang together
Round the Old Keg of Rum.

There was I and Jack the plough-boy,
Jem Moore and old Tom Hines,
And poor old Tom the fiddler,
Who now in glory shines;

And several more of our old chums,
Who shine in Kingdom Come,
We all associated round the
Old Keg of Rum.

Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
We all associated round the
Old Keg of Rum.

And when harvest time was over,
And we’d get our harvest fee,
We’d meet, and quickly rise the keg,
And then we’d have a spree.
We’d sit and sing together
Till we got that blind and dumb
That we couldn’t find the bunghole
Of the Old Keg of Rum.

Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
That we couldn’t find the bunghole
Of the Old Keg of Rum.

Its jovially together, boys
We’d laugh, we’d chat, we’d sing;
Sometimes we’d have a little row
Some argument would bring.

And oftimes in a scrimmage, boys,
I’ve corked it with my thumb,
To keep the life from leaking
From the Old Keg of Rum.

Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
To keep the life from leaking
From the Old Keg of Rum.

But when our spree was ended, boys,
And waking from a snooze,
For to give another drain
The old keg would refuse.
We’d rap it with our knuck
If it sounded like a drum,
We’d know the life and spirit
Had left the Old Keg of Rum.

Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
We’d know the life and spirit
Had left the Old Keg of Rum.

Those happy days have passed away,
I’ve seen their pleasures fade;
And many of our good old friends
Have with old times decayed.

But still, when on my travels, boys,
If I meet with an old chum,
We will sigh, in conversation,
Of the Grand Old Keg of Rum.

Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
We will sigh, in conversation,
Of the Grand Old Keg of Rum.

So now, kind friends, I end my song,
I hope we’ll meet again,
And, as I’ve tried to please you all,
I hope you won’t complain.
You younger folks who learn my song,
Will, perhaps, in years to come,
Remember old Jack Palmer
And the Old Rum Of Rum.

Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum!
Remember old Jack Palmer
And the Old Keg of Rum.

Sam Holt

Oh! don’t you remember Black Alice, Sam Holt
Black Alice, so dusky and dark,
The Warrego gin, with the straw through her nose,
And teeth like a Moreton Bay shark.

The terrible sheepwash tobacco she smoked
In the gunyah down there by the lake,
And the grubs that she roasted, and the lizards she stewed,
And the damper you taught her to bake.

Oh! don’t you remember the moon’s silver sheen,
And the Warrego sand-ridges white?
And don’t you remember those big bull-dog ants
We caught in our blankets at night?

Oh! don’t you remember the creepers, Sam Holt,
That scattered their fragrance around?
And don’t you remember that broken-down colt
You sold me, and swore he was sound?

And don’t you remember that fiver, Sam Holt,
You borrowed so frank and so free,
When the publican landed your fifty-pound cheque
At Tambo your very last spree?

Luck changes some natures, but yours, Sammy Holt,
Was a grand one as ever I see,
And I fancy I’ll whistle a good many tunes
Ere you think of that fiver or me.

Oh! don’t you remember the cattle you duffed,
And your luck at the Sandy Creek rush,
And the poker you played, and the bluffs that you bluffed,
And your habits of holding a flush?

And don’t you remember the pasting you got
By the boys down in Callaghan’s store,
When Tim Hooligan found a fifth ace in his hand,
And you holding his pile upon four?

You were not the cleanest potato, Sam Holt,
You had not the cleanest of fins.
But you made your pile on the Towers, Sam Holt,
And that covers the most of your sins.

They say you’ve ten thousand per annum, Sam Holt,
In England, a park and a drag;
Perhaps you forget you were six months ago
In Queensland a-humping your swag.

But who’d think to see you now dining in state
With a lord and the devil knows who,
You were flashing your dover, six short months ago,
In a lambing camp on the Barcoo.

When’s my time coming? Perhaps never, I think,
And it’s likely enough your old mate
Will be humping his drum on the Hughenden-road
To the end of the chapter of fate.

Macbreath

A Tragedy as Played at Ryde**
Macbreath Mr Henley
Macpuff Mr Terry
The Ghost

ACT I

TIME: The day before the election
SCENE: A Drummoyne tram running past a lunatic asylum.
All present are Reform Leaguers and supporters of Macbreath.
They seat themselves in the compartment.

MACBREATH: Here, I’ll sit in the midst.
Be large in mirth. Anon we’ll all be fitted
With Parliamentary seats.
(Voter approaches the door.)
There’s blood upon thy face.

VOTER: ‘Tis Thompsons’s, then.

MACBREATH: Is he thrown out? How neatly we beguiled
The guileless Thompson. Did he sign a pledge agreeing to retire?

VOTER: Aye, that he did.

MACBREATH: Not so did I!
Not on the doubtful hazard of a vote
By Ryde electors, cherry-pickers, oafs,
That drive their market carts at dread of night
And sleep all day. Not on the jaundiced choice
Of folks who daily run their half a mile
Just after breakfast, when the steamer hoots
Her warning to the laggard, not on these
Relied Macbreath, for if these rustics’ choice
Had fall’n on Thompson, I should still have claimed
A conference. But hold! Is Thompson out?

VOTER: My lord, his name is mud. That I did for him
I paid my shilling and I cast my vote.

MACBREATH: Thou art the best of all the shilling voters.
Prithee, be near me on election day
To see me smite Macpuff, and now we shan’t
Be long,
(Ghost of Thompson appears.)
What’s this? A vision!
Thou canst not say I did it! Never shake
Thy gory locks at me. Run for some other seat,
Let the woods hide thee. Prithee, chase thyself!
(The ghost of Thompson disappears, and Macbreath revives himself
with a great effort.)
Leaguers all,
Mine own especial comrades of Reform,
All amateurs and no professionals,
So many worthy candidates I see,
Alas that there are only ninety seats.
Still, let us take them all, and Joe Carruthers,
Ashton, and Jimmy Hogue, and all the rest,
Will have to look for work! Oh, joyous day,
To-morrow’s poll will make me M.L.A.

ACT II

TIME: Election day.
SCENE: Macbreath’s committee rooms.

MACBREATH: Bring me no more reports: let them all fly;
Till Labour’s platform to Kyabram come
I cannot taint with fear. How go the votes?

Enter first voter

FIRST VOTER: May it please my Lord,
The cherry-pickers’ vote is two to one
Towards Macpuff: and all our voters say
The ghost of Thompson sits in every booth,
And talks of pledges.

MACBREATH: What a polished liar!
And yet the dead can vote! (Strikes him.)
What if it should be!
(Ghost of Thompson appears to him suddenly.)

GHOST: The Pledge! The Pledge!

MACBREATH: I say I never signed the gory pledge.
(Ghost disappears. Enter a Messenger.)
Thou com’st to use thy tongue. Thy story quickly!

MESSENGER: Gracious, my Lord,
I should report that which I know I saw,
But know not how to do it.

MACBREATH: Well! say, on!

MESSENGER: As I did stand my watch in Parliament
I saw the Labour platform come across
And join Kyabram, Loans were overthrown,
The numbers were reduced, extravagance
Is put an end to by McGowan’s vote.

MACBREATH: The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
Where got’st thou this fish yarn?

MESSENGER: There’s nearly forty,

MACBREATH: Thieves, fool?

MESSENGER: No, members, will be frozen out of work!

MACBREATH: Aye, runs the story so! Well, well, ’tis sudden!
These are the uses of the politician,
A few brief sittings and another contest;
He hardly gets to know th’ billiard tables
Before he’s out . . .

(Alarums and Harbour excursions; enter Macpuff
at the head of a Picnic Party.)

MACPUFF: Now, yield thee, tyrant!
By that fourth party which I once did form,
I’ll take thee to a picnic, there to live
On windfall oranges!

MACBREATH: . . . Nay, rather death!
Death before picnic! Lay on Macpuff,
And damned be he who first cries Hold, enough!
(They fight. Macbreath is struck on the back of the head
by some blue metal from Pennant Hills Quarry. He falls. The referee
counts, ‘One, two, three, eight, nine, ten, out!’)

MACPUFF: Kind voters all, and worthy gentlemen,
Who rallied to my flag today, and made me
Member for Thompson, from my soul I thank you.
There needs no trumpet blast, for I can blow
Like any trombone. Prithee, let us go!
Thanks to you all who shared this glorious day,
Whom I invite to dance at Chowder Bay!

As Long As Your Eyes Are Blue

‘Will you love me, sweet, when my hair is grey
And my cheeks shall have lost their hue?
When the charms of youth shall have passed away
Will your love as of old prove true?

‘For the looks may change, and the heart may range
And the love be no longer fond;
Will you love with truth in the years of youth
And away to the years beyond?’

Oh, I love you, sweet, for your locks of brown
And the blush on your cheek that lies,
But I love you most for the kindly heart
That I see in your sweet blue eyes.

For the eyes are the signs of the soul within,
Of the heart that is leal and true,
And, my own sweetheart, I shall love you still,
Just as long as your eyes are blue.

For the locks may bleach, and the cheeks of peach
May be reft of their golden hue;
But, my own sweetheart, I shall love you still,
Just as long as your eyes are blue.

The Squatter’s Man

Come, all ye lads an’ list to me,
That’s left your homes an’ crossed the sea,
To try your fortune, bound or free,
All in this golden land.
For twelve long months I had to pace,
Humping my swag with a cadging face,
Sleeping in the bush, like the sable race,
As in my song you’ll understand.

Unto this country I did come,
A regular out-and-out new chum.
I then abhorred the sight of rum
Teetotal was my plan.
But soon I learned to wet one eye
Misfortune oft-times made me sigh.
To raise fresh funds I was forced to fly,
And be a squatter’s man.

Soon at a station I appeared.
I saw the squatter with his beard,
And up to him I boldly steered,
With my swag and billy-can.

I said, “Kind sir, I want a job!”
Said he, “Do you know how to snob
Or can you break in a bucking cob?”
Whilst my figure he well did scan.

“‘Tis now I want a useful cove
To stop at home and not to rove.
The scamps go about—a regular drove
I ‘spose you’re one of the clan?
But I’ll give ten—ten, sugar an’ tea;
Ten bob a week, if you’ll suit me,
And very soon I hope you’ll be
A handy squatter’s man.

“At daylight you must milk the cows,
Make butter, cheese, an’ feed the sows,
Put on the kettle, the cook arouse,
And clean the family shoes.
The stable an’ sheep yard clean out,
And always answer when we shout,
With ‘Yes, ma’am,’ and ‘No, sir,’ mind your mouth;
And my youngsters don’t abuse.

“You must fetch wood an’ water, bake an’ boil,
Act as butcher when we kill;
The corn an’ taters you must hill,
Keep the garden spick and span.

You must not scruple in the rain
To take to market all the grain.
Be sure you come sober back again
To be a squatter’s man.”

He sent me to an old bark hut,
Inhabited by a greyhound slut,
Who put her fangs through my poor fut,
And, snarling, off she ran.
So once more I’m looking for a job,
Without a copper in my fob.
With Ben Hall or Gardiner I’d rather rob,
Than be a squatter’s man.

The Wild Colonial Boy

Tis of a wild Colonial boy, Jack Doolan was his name,
Of poor but honest parents he was born in Castlemaine.
He was his father’s only hope, his mother’s only joy,
And dearly did his parents love the wild Colonial boy.

Come, all my hearties, we’ll roam the mountains high,
Together we will plunder, together we will die.
We’ll wander over valleys, and gallop over plains,
And we’ll scorn to live in slavery, bound down with iron chains.

He was scarcely sixteen years of age when he left his father’s home,
And through Australia’s sunny clime a bushranger did roam.
He robbed those wealthy squatters, their stock he did destroy,
And a terror to Australia was the wild Colonial boy.

In sixty-one this daring youth commenced his wild career,
With a heart that knew no danger, no foeman did he fear.
He stuck up the Beechworth mail coach, and robbed Judge MacEvoy,
Who trembled, and gave up his gold to the wild Colonial boy.

He bade the Judge “Good morning,” and told him to beware,
That he’d never rob a hearty chap that acted on the square,
And never to rob a mother of her son and only joy,
Or else you may turn outlaw, like the wild Colonial boy.

One day as he was riding the mountain side along,
A-listening to the little birds, their pleasant laughing song,
Three mounted troopers rode along—Kelly, Davis, and FitzRoy.
They thought that they would capture him—the wild Colonial boy.

“Surrender now, Jack Doolan, you see there’s three to one.
Surrender now, Jack Doolan, you daring highwayman.”
He drew a pistol from his belt, and shook the little toy.
“I’ll fight, but not surrender,” said the wild Colonial boy.

He fired at Trooper Kelly, and brought him to the ground,
And in return from Davis received a mortal wound.
All shattered through the jaws he lay still firing at FitzRoy,
And that’s the way they captured him—the wild Colonial boy.

It will be noticed that the same chorus is sung to both
“The Wild Colonial Boy” and “Bold Jack Donahoo.”
Several versions of both songs were sent in, but the same
chorus was always made to do duty for both songs.

The Swagman

Kind friends, pray give attention
To this, my little song.
Some rum things I will mention,
And I’ll not detain you long.
Up and down this country
I travel, don’t you see,
I’m a swagman on the wallaby,
Oh! don’t you pity me.
I’m a swagman on the wallaby,
Oh! don’t you pity me.

At first I started shearing,
And I bought a pair of shears.
On my first sheep appearing,
Why, I cut off both its ears.
Then I nearly skinned the brute,
As clean as clean could he.
So I was kicked out of the shed,
Oh! don’t you pity me, &c.

I started station loafing,
Short stages and took my ease;
So all day long till sundown
I’d camp beneath the trees.
Then I’d walk up to the station,
The manager to see.
“Boss, I’m hard up and I want a job,
Oh! don’t you pity me,” &c.

Says the overseer: “Go to the hut.
Says the overseer: “Go to the hut.
In the morning I’ll tell you
If I’ve any work about
I can find for you to do.”
But at breakfast I cuts off enough
For dinner, don’t you see.
And then my name is Walker.
Oh! don’t you pity me.
I’m a swagman, &c.
And now, my friends, I’ll say good-bye,
For I must go and camp.
For if the Sergeant sees me
He may take me for a tramp;
But if there’s any covey here
What’s got a cheque, d’ye see,
I’ll stop and help him smash it.
Oh! don’t you pity me.
I’m a swagman on the wallaby,
Oh! don’t you pity me.

The Wallaby Brigade

You often have been told of regiments brave and bold,
But we are the bravest in the land;
We’re called the Tag-rag Band, and we rally in Queensland,
We are members of the Wallaby Brigade.

Tramp, tramp, tramp across the borders,
The swagmen are rolling up, I see.
When the shearing’s at an end we’ll go fishing in a bend.
Then hurrah! for the Wallaby Brigade.

When you are leaving camp, you must ask some brother tramp
If there are any jobs to be had,
Or what sort of a shop that station is to stop
For a member of the Wallaby Brigade.

You ask me if they want men, you ask for rations then,
If they don’t stump up a warning should be made;
To teach them better sense—why, “Set fire to their fence”
Is the war cry of the Wallaby Brigade.

The squatters thought us done when they fenced in all their run,
But a prettier mistake they never made;
You’ve only to sport your dover and knock a monkey over
There’s cheap mutton for the Wallaby Brigade.

Now when the shearing’s in our harvest will begin,
Our swags for a spell down will be laid;
But when our cheques are drank we will join the Tag-rag rank,
Limeburners in the Wallaby Brigade.

The Stockman’s Last Bed

Be ye stockmen or no, to my story give ear.
Alas! for poor Jack, no more shall we hear
The crack of his stockwhip, his steed’s lively trot,
His clear “Go ahead, boys,” his jingling quart pot.

For we laid him where wattles their sweet fragrance shed,
And the tall gum trees shadow the stockman’s last bed.
Whilst drafting one day he was horned by a cow.
“Alas!” cried poor Jack, “it’s all up with me now,
For I never again shall my saddle regain,
Nor bound like a wallaby over the plain.”

His whip it is silent, his dogs they do mourn,
His steed looks in vain for his master’s return;
No friend to bemoan him, unheeded he dies;
Save Australia’s dark sons, few know where he lies.

Now, stockman, if ever on some future day
After the wild mob you happen to stray,
Tread softly where wattles their sweet fragrance spread,
Where alone and neglected poor Jack’s bones are laid.

The Stockmen Of Australia

The stockmen of Australia, what rowdy boys are they,
They will curse and swear an hurricane if you come in their way.
They dash along the forest on black, bay, brown, or grey,
And the stockmen of Australia, hard-riding boys are they.

By constant feats of horsemanship, they procure for us our grub,
And supply us with the fattest beef by hard work in the scrub.
To muster up the cattle they cease not night nor day,
And the stockmen of Australia, hard-riding boys are they.

Just mark him as he jogs along, his stockwhip on his knee,
His white mole pants and polished boots and jaunty cabbage- tree.
His horsey-pattern Crimean shirt of colours bright and gay,
And the stockmen of Australia, what dressy boys are they.

If you should chance to lose yourself and dropp upon his camp,
He’s there reclining on the ground, be it dry or be it damp.
He’ll give you hearty welcome, and a stunning pot of tea,
For the stockmen of Australia, good-natured boys are they.

If down to Sydney you should go, and there a stockman meet,
Remark the sly looks cast on him as he roams through the street.
From the shade of lovely bonnets steal forth those glances gay,
For the stockmen of Australia, the ladies’ pets are they.

Whatever fun is going on, the stockman will be there,
Be it theatre or concert, or dance or fancy fair.
To join in the amusements be sure he won’t delay,
For the stockmen of Australia, light-hearted boys are they.

Then here’s a health to every lass, and let the toast go round,
To as jolly a set of fellows as ever yet were found.
And all good luck be with them, for ever and to-day,
Here’s to the stockmen of Australia—hip, hip, hooray!

Two Aboriginal Songs

Korindabria, korindabria, bogarona, bogarona. Iwariniang
iwaringdo, iwariniang, iwaringdo, iwariniang, iwaringdo,
iwariniang, iwaringdo, iwaringime. Iwaringiang, iwaringdoo,
ilanenienow, coombagongniengowe, ilanenienow, coombagongniengowe,
ilanenienowe combagoniengowe, ilanenienimme.

Buddha-buddharo nianga, boomelana, bulleranga, crobinea,
narnmala, yibbilwaadjo nianga, boomelana, a, boomelana,
buddha-buddharo, nianga, boomelana, buddharo nianga,
boomelana, bulleranga, crobinea, narnmala, yibbilwaadjo,
nianga, croilanume, a, croilanga, yibbilwaadjo, nianga,
croilanga, yibbilwaadjo, nianga croilanga, coondheranea,
tabiabina, boorganmala, yibbilwaadjo, nianga, croilanoome.

The Dry Canteen

There were three soldiers who went to war,
(Chorus) Well why not?
They’d arms and legs and plenty of jaw
(Chorus) All they’d got!
They reckoned the first three years were the works
And anything’s yours if you see it first,
Whatever you do take care of your thirst.
(Chorus) Well, why not?

And they made their way to the dry canteen,
(Chorus) Well, why not?
The drinks all tasted of gasoline,
(Chorus) All they’d got!
They handed the orderly bloke a wink,
He made them up a gallon drink,
The sort for turning an elephant pink’
(Chorus) Well, why not!?

There were three horses hanging outside,
(Chorus) Well, why not?
Said they, ‘We’ll take the three for a ride.”
(Chorus) All they’d got!
They galloped the garrison through and through
The sergeant ran like a kangaroo,
They reckoned the sergeant-major flew.
(Chorus) Well, why not?

The corporal came and gathered ‘em in,
(Chorus) Well, why not
Said he, “Who handed you rum and gin?”
(Chorus) All ye got!
They sorted ‘em out and removed their caps:
“We rum this place to oblige you chaps,
the colonel may shorten your lives, perhaps”
(Chorus) Perhaps not!

The colonel told ‘em, ‘You’re due for the clink”
(Chorus) Well, why not?
“For filling yourselves with hinkey pink,”
(Chorus) All ye got!
“But listen, my boys, You’re under the whip
and I might perhaps forgive your slip,
If you put me wise where you got that nip”
(Chorus) Well why not.

Wallabi Joe

The saddle was hung on the stockyard rail,
And the poor old horse stood whisking his tail,
For there never was seen such a regular screw
As Wallabi Joe, of Bunnagaroo;
Whilst the shearers all said, as they say, of course,
That Wallabi Joe’s a fine lump of a horse;
But the stockmen said, as they laughed aside,
He’d barely do for a Sunday’s ride.

O—oh! poor Wallabi Joe.
“I’m weary of galloping now,” he cried,
“I wish I were killed for my hide, my hide;
For my eyes are dim, and my back is sore,
And I feel that my legs won’t stand much more.”

Now stockman Bill, who took care of his nag,
Put under the saddle a soojee bag,
And off he rode with a whip in his hand
To look for a mob of the R.J. brand.

Now stockman Bill camped out that night,
And he hobbled his horse in a sheltered bight;
Next day of old Joe he found not a track,
So he had to trudge home with his swag on his back.
He searched up and down every gully he knew,
But he found not a hair of his poor old screw,
And the stockmen all said as they laughed at his woe,
“Would you sell us the chance of old Wallabi Joe.”

Now as years sped by, and as Bill grew old,
It came into his head to go poking for gold;
So away he went with a spade in his fist,
To hunt for a nugget among the schist.
One day as a gully he chanced to cross,
He came on the bones of his poor old horse;
The hobbles being jammed in a root below
Had occasioned the death of poor Wallabi Joe.

The Weather Prophet

Ow can it rain.’ the old man said, ‘with things the way they are?
You’ve got to learn off ant and bee, and jackaroo and galah;
And no man never saw it rain, for fifty years at least,
Not when the blessed parakeets are flyinn’ to the east!’

The weeks went by, the squatter wrote to tell his bank the news.
‘It’s still as dry as dust,’ he said, ‘I’m feeding all the ewes;
The overdraft would sink a ship, but make your mind at rest,
It’s all right now, the parakeets are flyin’ to the west!’

The Stockman

A bright sun and a loosened rein,
A whip whose pealing sound
Rings forth amid the forest trees
As merrily forth we bound
As merrily forth we bound, my boys,
And, by the dawn’s pale light,
Speed fearless on our horses true
From morn till starry night.

“Oh! for a tame and quiet herd,”
I hear some crawler cry;
But give to me the mountain mob
With the flash of their tameless eye
With the flash of their tameless eye, my boys,
As down the rugged spur
Dash the wild children of the woods,
And the horse that mocks at fear.

There’s mischief in you wide-horned steer,
There’s danger in you cow;
Then mount, my merry horsemen all,
The wild mob’s bolting now
The wild mob’s bolting now, my boys,
But ’twas never in their hides
To show the way to the well-trained nags
That are rattling by their sides.

Oh! ’tis jolly to follow the roving herd
Through the long, long summer day,
And camp at night by some lonely creek
When dies the golden ray.
Where the jackass laughs in the old gum tree,
And our quart-pot tea we sip;
The saddle was our childhood’s home,
Our heritage the whip.

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