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Broken-Down Squatter

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Broken-Down Squatter

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Broken-Down Squatter

Come, Stumpy old man, we must shift while we can
All your mates in the paddock are dead
Let us wave our farewells to Glen Eva's sweet dells
And the hills where your lordship was bred
Together to roam from our drought-stricken home
It's tough that such things have to be
And it's hard on a horse to have nought for a boss
But a broken-down squatter like me

cho: For the banks are all broken they say
     And the merchants are all up a tree
     When the big-wigs are brought
     To the Bankruptcy Court
     What hope for a squatter like me

No more shall we muster the river for fats
Or spiel on the Fifteen Mile Plain
Or rip through the scrub by the light of the moon
Or see the old stockyard again
Leave the slip-panels down, it won't matter much now
There are none but the crows left to see
Perching gaunt on yon pine, as though longing to dine
On a broken-down squatter like me

When the country was cursed with the drought at its worst
And the cattle were dying in scores
Though down on my luck, I kept up my pluck
Thinking justice might temper the laws
But the farce has been played, and the Government aid
Ain't extended to squatters, old son
When my money was spent, they doubled the rent
And resumed the best half of the run

'Twas done without reason, for (leaving the season)
No squatter could stand such a rub
For it's useless to squat when the rents are so hot
That you can't save the price of your grub
And there's not much to choose 'twixt the banks and the screws
Once a fellow gets put up a tree
No odds what I feel, there's no Court of Appeal
For a broken-down squatter like me

First published in the Queenslander  in 1894

Written by Charles Augustus Flower. The brothers Horace and Charles Flower,
Queensland station owners, were keen songwriters in the 1880's - 90's.
Charles Flower's manuscripts are in the Oxley Library, Brisbane.
In 1891 the squatters were at war with the shearers in the Shearers'
Strike. In 1893 the banks crashed.
This tune is from Jack 'Hoopiron' Lee who was 77 and had been blind for a
number of years when he was recorded by John Meredith in 1953.
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