> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > The Maryborough Miner

The Maryborough Miner

[ Roud - ; AFS 58 ; Ballad Index FaE078 ; trad.]

A.L. Lloyd collected The Maryborough Miner from Bob Bell in Condolin in 1934. It is a mining version of Murrumbidgee Shearer which was printed in Paterson’s Old Bush Songs. Lloyd sang it in 1956 on his Riverside album Australian Bush Songs and in 1958 for the Wattle LP Across the Western Plains and he commented in the latter album’s sleeve notes:

The great gold rushes which began in the 1850’s developed a self-reliant class of men. Among the most admirable were the men who raised the flag of stars at Eureka Stockade in 1954 against oppressive authority. Among the least admirable were those who were prepared to get their gold at the point of a pistol, if they couldn’t get it by the point of a pick. But often it was hard to tell the best from the worst among the diggers, as with the genial old rascal of this song. Of the Victorian township of Maryborough, Mark Twain said it was a “railway station with a town attached.” The people of Maryborough replied: “Even Mark Twain has to pay tribute to our impressive railway station.” (Some say that the railways people got their plans mixed, and that the station they built at Maryborough had been designed for the centre of Melbourne.)

Peter Dickie sang Maryborough Miner in 1967 on Martyn Wyndham-Read’s, Phyl Vinnicombe’s and his album Bullockies, Bushwackers & Booze. He noted:

Again, A.L. Lloyd has noted the only version of this song known to folklorists. The Murrumbidgee Shearer, printed by Banjo Patterson, contains some almost identical verses. However, the more stagey touches (perhaps by Patterson himself?) in The Murrumbidgee Shearer contrast with the vigorous Irish “Come-All-Ye” style of the Maryborough Miner.

Some definitions may be of help:
‘Longtomming, cradling, puddling, panning’: different ways of washing gold from soil.
‘On the cross’: in defiance of the law, the opposite to ’on the square’.
‘Patent Pill Machine’: a revolver.
‘Cockatoo’: the prison—no longer in existence—on Cockatoo Island, Sydney, N.S.W.


A.L. Lloyd sings The Maryborough Miner

Come all you sons of liberty and listen to my song:
I’ll tell you my observations and it won’t take very long.
I’ve fossicked around this continent, five thousand miles or more,
And many’s the time I might have starved but for the cheek I bore.

I’ve been on all the diggings, boys, from famous Ballarat,
I’ve long-tommed on the Lachlan, and I’ve fossicked Lambing Flat.
So you can understand, my boys, just from my little rhyme,
I’m a Maryborough miner, and I’m one of the good old time.

I came to the Fitzroy River, all with my Bendigo rig;
I had a shovel, a pick, and a pan, and for a licence I begged.
But the assay man called me a loafer, said for work I’d no desire,
And so to do him justice, boys, I set his office on fire.

Oh yes, my jolly jokers, I’ve done it on the cross,
Although I carry my bluey now, I’ve sweated many a horse.
I’ve helped to rob the escort of many an ounce of gold
And the traps have trailed upon my tail more times than I’ve ever told.

Oh yes, the traps have trailed me and been frightened out of their stripes;
They never could have caught me for, they feared my cure for gripes.
And well they knew I carried it, for they had often seen it
Glistening in my flipper, chaps, my ‘patent pill machine’.

I’m one of the men who cradled on the reef at Tarrangower,
Anxiety and misery my grim companions there.
I puddled the clay at Bendigo, and I chanced my arm at Kew,
And I wound up my avocation with ten years on Cockatoo.

I’ve been on all the diggings, boys, from famous Ballarat,
I’ve long-tommed on the Lachlan and I’ve fossicked Lambing Flat.
So you may understand, my boys, just from this little rhyme,
I’m a Maryborough miner, and I’m one of the good old time.


Lyrics copied from Mark Gregory’s Australian Folk Songs website and adapted to the actual singing of A.L. Lloyd.