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He asked for work at muster-time,
We tried him as a rider,
We tried him out as the roustabout,
And as the cook's offsider,

He had sailed the seven seas,
He'd been up in Alaska,
He'd been in every western state
From Texas to Nebraska.

cho: He said he'd shorn a sheep or two,
     And cut a bit of lumber,
     And waged war on the kangaroo,
     At Tumba-bloody-rumba

We had him in the shearing shed,
We put him on the stacker,
We tried him digging rabbits out,
He wasn't worth a cracker,

He had a shop in Singapore,
He owned a pearling lugger,
He was a champ at baccarat,
Australian rules and rugger.


He never showed his aptitude,
On work he was allotted,
But showed his skill upon the drinks
And cigarettes he botted,

He said he'd climbed the Matterhorn,
He'd been a union leader,
And years ago in Adelaide
He was a pigeon breeder.


We tried him cutting fencing posts,
We tried to find his caper,
Until that happy pay-day when
He got his piece of paper.

I wonder what he's doing now,
Perhaps back on the lumber,
Or shooting kanga-bloody-roos,
At Tumba-bloody-rumba.
The Man from Tumbarumba is a typical bush character in this familiar
story of a bragging man who has done everything - a jack of all
trades. Regarding the chorus, note that at various times and locations
in Australia, kangaroos have been (are) considered vermin and are
culled. The words were written by John Wolfe, and the British
traditional tune "The Jack of All Trades" was fitted to it by Warren
Fahey. Copyright control by Larrikin Music.
Australian rules: Australian Rules football
Bot: to borrow or sponge off
Caper: occupation, skills
Muster: round-up
Offsider: helper, assistant
Pearling Lugger: a pearling ship; common on the northwest coast of
Australia and, especially in days past, a significant part of that area
Rugger: Rugby
Stacker: a machine used for compressing shorn wool into large bales for
Warren Fahey and the Larrikins! A Larrikin History of Australia!
Larrikin 202 (Australia, 1988)
Warren Fahey and the Larrikins! Waltzing Matilda: Songs of the
Australian Bush! Larrikin CDLRF 118 (Australia, 1990)