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The Pommy’s Lament


Danny Spooner sang The Pommy’s Lament on his and Martyn Wyndham-Read’s 1989 Sandstock album All Around Down Under. Gael Shannon noted:

Another from Ron Edwards’ collection [Great Australian Folksongs].

Ron got it from a neighbour, ‘Tiger’ O’Shane, who learned the first bit when he was working on immigrant ships in the 1920s. He recited it around the campfire while shearing in WA in the 1930s and was astonished to hear the bushman’s reply from Eddy Bird who’d learned it in Queensland. A classic example of the oral tradition. As two Poms singing about Australia, Martyn and Danny felt it would be appropriate to finish the record with this comment on a certain type of their countrymen, as an appreciation of the laconic humour that has at times reduced them to hilarious tears!


Danny Spooner sings The Pommy’s Lament

Hoorah for good old England, we’ll soon be going there
This awful life and hungry strife we can no longer bear
We were pitched into the back blocks, we might just as well’ve been dead
A chaff bag for our pillow and the ground our featherbed

We lived on tea and damper and sometimes kangaroo
Daytimes we were scorched to death, the night times frozen blue
But now at last we see a chance at getting from this hole
Hoorah for good old England where they’re dishing out the dough

You whinging lot of bastards, no bloody guts you got
I hope the bloody boat goes down and drowns the bloody lot
Since you’ve been out in Aussie you’ve done nothing else but moan
You’re just a whinging lot of bastards and you should have stayed at home

You thought you’d pick up nuggets in our bloody creeks
You thought you’d pick up sovereigns in our bloody streets
You thought you’d make your fortune after being out here a day
You’re just a whinging lot of bastards and you should have stayed away

Oh! I say, steady on, old chap!


Transcribed by Garry Gillard