Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Original Click Go the Shears ?


From the Bacchus Marsh Express Saturday 5 December 1891 p. 7.

Oh, down at the catching pen an old shearer stands,
Grasping his shears in his long bony hands ;
Fixed is his gaze on a bare belled ewe,
Saying " If I can only get her, won't I make the ringer go."

Click goes his shears; click, click, click.
Wide are the blows, and his hand is moving quick,
The ringer looks round, for he lost it by a blow,
And he curses that old shearer with the bare belled ewe.

At the end of the board, in a cane bottomed chair,
The boss remains seated with his eyes everywhere ;
He marks well each fleece as it comes to the screen,
And he watches where it comes from if not taken off clean.

The "colonial experience" is there of course.
With his silver buckled leggings, he's just off his horse ;
With the air of a connoiseur he walks up the floor ;
And he whistles that sweet melody, "I am a perfect cure."

"So master new chum, you may now begin,
Muster number seven paddock, bring the sheep all in ;
Leave none behind you, whatever you do,
And then we'll say you'r fit to be a Jackeroo."

The tar boy is there, awaiting all demands,
With his black tarry stick, in his black tarry hands.
He sees an old ewe, with a cut upon the back,
He hears what he supposes is–" Tar here, Jack."

"Tar on the back, Jack; Tar, boy, tar."
Tar from the middle to both ends of the board.
Jack jumps around, for he has no time to sleep,
And tars the shearer's backs as well as the sheep.

So now the shearing's over, each man has got his cheque,
The hut is as dull as the dullest old wreck ;
Where was many a noise and bustle only a few hours before,
Now you can hear it plainly if a pin fall on the floor.

The shearers now are scattered many miles and far ;
Some in other sheds perhaps, singing out for "tar."
Down at the bar, there the old shearer stands,
Grasping his glass in his long bony hands.

Saying "Come on, landlord, come on, come !
I'm shouting for all hands, what's yours–mine's a rum ;"
He chucks down his cheque, which is collared in a crack,
And the landlord with a pen writes no mercy on the back !

His eyes they were fixed on a green painted keg,
Saying " I will lower your contents, before I move a peg."
His eyes are on the keg, and are now lowering fast ;
He works hard, he dies hard, and goes to heaven at last.
                                                                                 C. C.
Eynesbury, Nov. 20, 1891.

Notes

Until this discovery it was thought that the first published version of the song was in Percy Jones' article  "Australia's Folk-Songs" in 1946.

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