Click Go The Shears
The Road To Gundagai (Lazy Harry's)
Shearing In A Bar
One Of The Has-Beens
CLICK GO THE SHEARS
Lawson tells how the gold diggers, during his boyhood days, used to
sing a song by the popular American composer Henry C. Work:
High in the belfry the old sexton stands,
Grasping the rope with his thin bony hands . . .
shearer borrowed Work's tune, and some ideas from his words, and
created Click Go the Shears. The collectors have found a lot of old
shearers who know the song. Versions do not differ very much, but in
this version - which comes from A. L. Lloyd - there are a few lines in
which the humour is given a sharper point than in most others.
bare-bellied yeo - a ewe - yeo is an English dialect word for ewe - with little wool on its belly.
snagger - an unskillful shearer who leaves "snags'' of wool on the sheep.
blue-bellied yeo - this means the same as bare-bellied yeo.
as it comes off the screen - as it comes off the table at which the fleeces are classed into different grades.
the colonial experience man
- the English gentleman, getting some experience of life in "the
colonies", by working for a time on a station; an object of both
derision and resentment on the part of the shearers.
you take off the belly wool
- this verse is also found in a quite distinct shearers' song; it gives
an account of the order in which the shearer was expected to remove the
shouting for all hands - buying drinks for everyone in the bar.
THE ROAD TO GUNDAGAI (LAZY HARRY'S)
of those shearers' songs about Gundagai. Maybe this one explains why
Gundagai is mentioned so often in the songs of the Riverina shearers.
It was a town they had to come through on the way to Sydney from many
parts of the Riverina; and maybe a lot of them set off with Sydney in
their eye, but found the girls and the beer in Gundagai too tempting.
version comes from A. L. Lloyd, but the words are almost the same as
those that Banjo Paterson printed in Old Bush Songs long before Lloyd
arrived in the Riverina.
Roto - a place in the Riverina.
whips and whips - lots and lots.
rhino - money.
humped our blues - shouldered our swags.
three-spot cheque - a cheque for one hundred pounds or more.
wanted knocking down - just had to be spent.
struck the Murrumbidgee... and so on - the names which occur in this verse refer to rivers or towns in the Riverina region of southern New South Wales.
Matildas - swags.
- phrases such as to nobble the favourite suggest the dubious ancestry
of this word; but nobbler has become respectable, and even official,
Australian for a standard measure of alcohol.