Mudcat Café message #63348 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #9631   Message #63348
Posted By: Bob Bolton
16-Mar-99 - 01:18 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
Subject: ADD Version: The Maids of Australia
G'day all, (and Pete M)

This one was collected in Australia, as noted below. I know of no other Australian collected version - the most common version comes from McCarthy's collection of British Bawdy Songs. There is no indication that any of Martyn's versions are from 'field collection ... he heard old singers in his time in the bush but, just like A.L. Lloyd in his youthful experiencxe of Australia, was not a collector, just a young pom impressed by a new and different folk tradition.

In the latter years of his time in Australia he experienced the new (1960s) wave of the 'Folk Revival' and became an excellent revival singer - who introduced some fascinating new UK songs (I remember particularly his rendition, on ABC TV, of Ewan MacColl's The First Time Ever) and took a great swag of newly collected work back to Britain and made it well-known in the UK.

Pete M: I was not suggesting that iggerant poms sing anything other than the incorrect renderings of Hawkesbury that have been documented in this thread ... what more could you expect? I was just telling people where it actually was.

I would dearly love to have heard old Sam Larner sing this song ... That wicked chuckle of his should have been bottled - it is worth re-playing the Radio Ballad Singing the Fishing just to hear it!

If anyone is interested, I will check out the tune to Warren's collected version against the British versions above and post the ABC/MIDI of it.


Bob Bolton

Warren Fahey, Eureka - The Songs That Made Australia, Omnibus Press (a division of Music Sales Pty Ltd), Sydney, 1984, p44.

Collected from Jim Cargill, of Randwick New South Wales, in 1973, by Warren Fahey. Compare the known British version of Sam Larner where opening refers "One day as I walked near those Oxeborough Banks"

This is one of Australia's erotic folk songs chock full of good old fashioned imagery. "The bush of Australia" is not to be found on the map! When the singer of this song was performing for the collector he carefully closed all the windows "just in case the landlady heard any of the verses"


One day as I strolled by the Hawkesbury banks,
Where the maids of Australia, they play their wild pranks,
Near a palm shaded tree I laid myself down,
To admire the young damsels who gather around
The banks of that stream in Australia,
Round the banks of that stream in Australia,
Where the maids are all handsome and gay.

Soon a charming young damsel before me appeared,
She came for to bathe in the streams close by here,
With kissing and caressing she then said to me:
"Can't you see it's the dress kind nature gave me,
On the morn I was born in Australia,
On the morn I was born in Australia,
Where the maids are all handsome and gay."

Soon exhausted by swimming she swam to the brink,
"Come and save me kind sir, I'm afraid that I'll sink",
Like lightning I sprang and got hold of her hand,
I tried for to rise but fell back on the sand,
And I entered the bush of Australia,
And I entered the bush of Australia,
Where the maids are all handsome and gay.

Soon the eighth month was over and the ninth month had come,
And the charming young damsel brought forth a fine son.
She looked for his dad but nowhere could be found
It's then she remembered that fall on the ground,
On the banks of that stream in Australia,
On the banks of that stream in Australia,
Where the maids are all handsome and gay.