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Mustering Song

Andrew Barton Paterson 1864 (Orange, New South Wales) – 1941 (Sydney, New South Wales)



The boss last night in the hut did say
"We start to muster at break of day;
So be up first thing, and don't be slow;
Saddle your horses and off you go."

So early in the morning, so early in the morning,
So early in the morning, before the break of day.
Such a night in the yard there never was seen
(The horses were fat and the grass was green):
Bursting of girths and slipping of packs
As the stockmen saddled the fastest hacks.

Across the plain we jog along
Over gully, swamp, and billabong;
We dropp on a mob pretty lively, too
We round 'em up and give 'em a slue.

Now the scrub grows thick and the cattle are wild,
A regular caution to this 'ere child
A new chum man on an old chum horse,
Who sails through the scrub as a matter of course.
I was close up stuck in a rotten bog;
I got a buster jumping a log;
I found this scouting rather hot,
So I joined the niggers with the lot we'd got.

A long-haired shepherd we chanced to meet
With a water bag, billy, and dog complete;
He came too close to a knocked up steer,
Who up a sapling made him clear.
Now on every side we faintly hear
The crack of the stockwhip drawing near;
To the camp the cattle soon converge,
As from the thick scrub they emerge.

We hastily comfort the inner man
With the warm contents of the billy can;
The beef and damper are passed about
Before we tackle the cutting out.

We're at it now—that bally calf
Would surely make a sick man laugh;
The silly fool can't take a joke;
I hope some day in the drought he'll croak.

We've 'em now—the cows and calves
(Things here are never done by halves):
Strangers, workers, and milkers, too,
Of scrubbers also not a few.

It's getting late, we'd better push;
'Tis a good long way across the bush,
And the mob to drive are middling hard;
I do not think we'll reach the yard.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:48 min read
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Andrew Barton Paterson

Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson, was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales, where he spent much of his childhood. Paterson's more notable poems include "Clancy of the Overflow" (1889), "The Man from Snowy River" (1890) and "Waltzing Matilda" (1895), regarded widely as Australia's unofficial national anthem. more…

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