> Danny Spooner > Songs > Johnny Stewart, Drover

Johnny Stewart, Drover

[Chris Buch]

Danny Spooner sang Chris Buch’s song Johnny Stewart, Drover in 2008 on his CD Brave Bold Boys. He noted:

Chris Buch came to Australia from London in 1967 seeking the Australian Legend. He found it in 1981 when he was encouraged to join Johnny Stewart droving fifteen hundred head of cattle from Rocklands down along the Georgina River across the Diamantina River to a station on the Cooper River, a journey that took Johnny thirteen weeks. Chris joined the drove for ten days but the experience was enough to create this cracking song about an Australia which is sadly passing into history.


Danny Spooner sings Johnny Stewart, Drover

The mob is dipped, the plant is moving out,
They’re leaving Rockland’s dusty yards 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,
Modern times don’t mean those days are over.
For the diesel road trains cannot know the steers
Or walk them down like Johnny Stewart, drover.

Chorus (after every other verse):
On the banks of the Georgina, down the Diamantina,
To where the grass is greener, down in New South Wales.
Johnny Stewart, drover, taking cattle over,
His life story moving on miles of dusty trails.

The cook is busy by the campfire light,
Above the coals a billy gently swinging.
The mob is settled quiet for the night
And Johnny Stewart rides around and singing.

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

Well, dawn will surely bring another day,
The sun still chasing moon, never caught her.
Morning light will see them on their way,
Another push to reach the welcome water.

Well, they’re counted in now, Johnny’s work is done,
Fifteen hundred head are counted over.
It’s into town now for a little run
And a beer or two for Johnny Stewart, drover.