> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > The Castlereagh River

The Castlereagh River / Travellin' Down the Castlereagh / A Bushman's Song

[ Roud 8399 ; AFS 88 ; Ballad Index MA045 ; A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson]

A.L. Lloyd sang The Castlereagh River in 1956 on his Riverside album Australian Bush Songs; he was accompanied by Alf Edwards on concertina. This track was included in 2008 on Fellside's A.L. Lloyd anthology Ten Thousand Miles Away. Lloyd commented in the original album's sleeve notes:

The Australian bush poet A.B. (Banjo) Paterson included this text among his published works, though it is not clear whether he actually wrote it or merely remade it as Burns dit certain Scots folk lyrics. Sometimes called The Old Jig Jog, it is well known among sheep and cattle hands. The Castlereagh is one of the tributaries of the Barwon River in NSW.

Gerry Hallom recorded this song in 1981 as title track of his LP Travellin' Down the Castlereagh.

Danny Spooner sang Travellin' Down the Castlereagh in 2004 on his CD of Australian songs of toil and reward, 'Ard Tack. He noted:

Written originally as a poem by ‘Banjo’ Paterson and titled A Bushman's Song, this song highlights the adaptability of the nineteenth century itinerant workers across Australia. Capable, game for anything, staunch unionists and no man’s dog, these people created the Australian bush identity. The landlord referred to in the song is said to be Alexander Berry, a large landholder in NSW, for whom the town was named. I got the song from Jim Buchanan in Melbourne in the late sixties.

Lyrics

A.L. Lloyd sings The Castlereagh River

I'm riding down the Castlereagh, and I'm a station-hand,
I'm handy with the ropin', I'm handy with the brand.
And I can ride a rowdy colt, or swing the axe all day;
There's no demand for a station-hand along the Castlereagh.

So shift, boys, shift, for there ain't the slightest doubt:
It's time to make a move to the stations further out.
So I'll saddle up my pack-horse and I whistle to me dog;
I'm riding across the country at the old jig-jog.

I asked a feller for shearin' once along the Marthaguy.
“We shear non-union here,” says he. “I call it scab,” says I.
I took a look along the board before I turned to go:
There was twenty flamin' china-men shearin'in a row.

So shift, boys, shift, for there ain't the slightest doubt:
It's time to make a move with the leprosy about.
So I'll saddle up my pack-horse and I whistle to me dog;
I left his scabby station at the old jig-jog.

I went to Illawarra where my brother's got a farm.
They have to ask the landlord's leave before they lifts their arm.
The landlord owns the countryside: man, woman, dog and cat,
And they haven't the cheek to dare to speak without they lift their hat

So shift, boys, shift, for there ain't the slightest doubt,
Their flamin' landlord god and I would soon have fallen out:
Was I to raise my hat to him? Was I his blasted dog?
I'm riding across the country at the old jig-jog.

Acknowledgements

Transcribed by Reinhard Zierke. Compare to this the similar (but longer) verses at Mark Gregory's website Australian Folk Songs.