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Bob the Postman Origins: Song Of The Trap and Skedaddler Affinity (2) Origins: Song Of The Trap and Skedaddler Affinity 22 Oct 11


Circa 1860, Charles R. Thatcher, bard of the Australian gold fields, mockingly celebrated the local constable in "The Song of the Trap":

I'm a trap, I'm a trap, and up here I abide
The camp is my home and my blue coat's my pride
Up, up with my staff, let it still protect me
I'm a trap, I'm a trap, and the bobby is free

Phil Thomas found "The Skedaddler" in a manuscript dated 1865 and set it to the tune "Rye Whiskey". These verses from the Cariboo gold rush mockingly celebrate the hard-luck miner who absconds on his debts:

I'm dead broke, I'm dead broke, so I've nothing to lose
I've the wide world before me to live where I choose.
I'm at home in the wild woods wherever I be
Though dead broke, though dead broke, the skedaddler is free!

It seems to me that the latter echoes the former, and certainly some Bendigo miners found their way to Barkerville. So what think ye? Are the faint similarities coincidental or do they mean that the composer of Skedaddler was familiar with Trap? Alternatively, are both constructed on the same template, possibly a music hall hit?


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