Mudcat Café message #4068948 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168402   Message #4068948
Posted By: Stewie
20-Aug-20 - 10:17 AM
Thread Name: Mudcat Australia/NZ Songbook
Subject: RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
The late Chris Buch was a good friend of mine. He used to run the Mt Isa Folk Club which for a time was one of the clubs that organised the Top Half Folk Festival. Back when the world was young, Chris was commissioned by the Australian Folk Trust to go on a cattle drive and collect songs from the drovers. He went on the drive but was unable to collect any songs. Chris told me that the drovers were too buggered at night to sing around a campfire - all they did was consume soup, snore and fart in their sleeping bags. Bereft of any collected songs, Chris decided to write one himself. He based it on a drover from Camooweal who occasionally attended the Mt Isa folk club. It is a fine song indeed. The story goes that the song came over the radio in the Camooweal servo/cafe. One of the patrons yelled out to Johnny who happened to be there: 'Hey Johnny, there's some pommie bastard singing about you on the radio.

(Chris Buch)

The mob is dipped, the drive is started out
They're leaving Rockland's dusty sheds behind them
The whips are cracking and the drovers shout
Along the Queensland stock-roads you will find them

Droving ways have been like this for years
No modern ways have meant their days are over
The diesel road trains cannot know the steers
Or walk them down like Johnny Stewart, drover

On the banks of the Georgina and down the Diamantina
To where the grass is greener, down by New South Wales
Johnny Stewart's roving with mobs of cattle droving
His life story moving down miles of dusty trails

The cook is busy by the campfire light
Above a fire a billy gently swinging
The mob is settled quietly for the night
And Johnny's riding softly around and singing

Johnny doesn't spend much time in town
Impatient for the wet to be over
Most of the year he's walking cattle down
The stock roads are home for Johnny Stewart, drover


Dawn will surely find another day
Sun still chasing moon, never caught her
The morning light will find them on their way
Another push to reach the next good water


They're counted in now, Johnny's work is done
And fifteen hundred head are handed over
It's into town now for a little fun
And a beer or two for Johnny Stewart, drover


The song has gone around Australia and the world. Gordon Bok made a fine recording of it:

Youtube clip