Mudcat Café message #3898195 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3898195
Posted By: Richard Mellish
08-Jan-18 - 05:41 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Wherever Maid of Australia started, it evidently got "folk processed" into several versions on its way from one person to another, orally and/or through print. Such variation is an important part of our interest in folk songs (and indeed part of the classic definition).

But Jim is especially concerned with origins. This song could have been made by one of the returned convicts that he mentioned earlier. I wish we could see the evidence that Bob Thomson found. Or it could have been made by someone who made his living, or part of it, by writing songs and selling them to broadside printers. And those possibilities are not mutually exclusive: it's perhaps unlikely but not inconceivable that the writer was both a returned convict and a professional song writer. And all of that applies whether the story is true, a total fantasy, or a mixture.

What actual evidence do we have (as distinct from personal beliefs) as to who made this song, either within the song itself or elsewhere?