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Grandpa Pencil's
Australian colonial verse and song

The Ballad of

The Ballad of Queensland
Published in The Bulletin, 26 March 1881

Oh! don't you remember Black Alice, Sam Holt -
Black Alice so dusky and dark -
That Warrego gin with the straw through her nose,
And teeth like a Morton Bay Shark;
The villainous sheep-wash tobacco she smoked
In the gunyah down there by the lake;
The grubs that she gathered, the lizards she stewed,
And the damper you taught her to bake.

They say you've ten thousand per annum, Sam Holt,
In England, a park and a drag,
And praps you forgot you were six months ago
In Queensland a humpin' a swag.
Who'd think now, to see you a dinin' in state
With the lords and the devil knows who,
You were 'flashin' your dover' six short months ago,
In a lambin'-camp on the Paroo?

Oh! don't you remember the moon's silver sheen
On the Warrego sand ridges white?
And don't you remember the big bull-dog ants
We found in our blankets at night?
The wild trailing creepers, the bush-buds, Sam Holt,
That scattered their fragrance around,
And don't you remember that broken down colt
You sold me and swore he was sound?

Say, don't you remember that fiver, Sam Holt,
You borrowed so frank and so free,
When the publicans landed your fifty pound cheque,
In Tambo, your very last spree ?
Luck changes some natures, and yours, Sammy Holt,
Ain't a grand one as ever I see;
And I guess I may whistle a good many times
'Fore you think of the fiver or me.

Oh! don't you remember the cattle you 'duffed,'
And yer luck at the Sandy Creek 'rush,'
The poker you played and the bluffs that you bluffed,
And yer habit of holding a 'flush'?
Perhaps you've forgotten the pastin' you got
From the 'Barks' down at Callaghan's store,
When Mick Houlaghan found a fifth ace in his hand,
And you'd raised him a pile upon four!

You weren't quite the cleanly potato, Sam Holt,
And you hadn't the cleanest of fins;
But you lifted your pile at 'The Towers,' Sam Holt,
And that covers most of your sins.
When's my turn a-comin'? Well, never perhaps,
And it's likely enough yer old mate
'll be 'humpin his drum' on the Warrego banks
To the end of the chapter of Fate.

'A World of Trivia', 'Dear Grandpa Pencil' and 'A Cheapskate's Guide to Exploring Tasmania By Car'
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Published by Robin A Cartledge ~ ABN 19 924 273 138 ~ Low Head, Tasmania ~ Contact/Comment