> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > The Overlander
> Trevor Lucas > Songs > The Overlander

The Overlander

[ Roud 9107 ; AFS 70 ; Ballad Index FaE164 ; trad.]

Driving huge mobs of cattle from the stations to markets, the drovers were a social menace to the genteel squatters and townspeople whose path they crossed on their long journeys (particularly with regard to womenfolk!)

The Overlander was published as early as 1865 in The Queenslanders' New Colonial Fire Song Book. A.L. Lloyd sang it in 1956 on his Riverside LP Australian Bush Songs and a year later for the Wattle album The Banks of the Condamine and Other Bush Songs. Like all tracks of this album, the latter recording was reissued in 1960 on the Topic LP Outback Ballads. It was also included in 1966 on the Topic Sampler No 2, Folk Songs: An Anthology.

Trevor Lucas sang a three verses shorter version of Overlander in 1966 as title track of his second Australian solo album, Overlander.

James Raynard sang The Overlander in 2005 on his One Little Indian CD Strange Histories. He commented in his liner notes:

The Overlander is taken form the singing of A.L. Lloyd and is a reworking of a reworking of a poem by Banjo Paterson. The music is most associated with The White Hare of Howden, though this lacked a full chorus melody and some new writing was needed to complete the tune.

Lyrics

A.L. Lloyd sings The Overlander on The Banks of the Condamine

Oh, there's a trade you all know well, it's bringing cattle over,
I'll tell yous all about the time that I became a drover.
I wanted stock for Queensland to Kempsey I did wander,
I bought amount of duffers there and began as an overlander.

Chorus:
So pass the bottle round, me boys, don't you leave it stand there,
For tonight we'll drink the health of every overlander.

Well, when the cattle were counted and the outfit ready to start,
The lads were all a-mounted with their swags up in the cart.
I saw I had all sorts of men from Germany, France and Flanders,
Lawyers, doctors, good and bad in the mob of overlanders.

The very next morning I fed up where the grass was green and young.
And the squatter said he'd break my snout if I didn't push along.
Says I, “My lad you're very hard but don't you raise my dander.
For I'm a regular knowing card, I'm a Queensland overlander.”

They swore they didn't pound my cattle but I pulled them all the time.
They very seldom caught us and they never got their fine.
They think we live on store beef but I'm no flamin' gander,
If a fat little stray comes our way he loses to the overlander.

If ever our horses get done up of course we turn 'em free
And you can't expect a drover to walk if a pony he can see
So now and then we bone a prad and believe me it's no slander
To say there's many a clever trick done by an overlander

Now I would scourn to prig a shirt 'tis all me mates can say,
But if we pass through a township all on a washing day,
The dirty brats of kids would shout, and quickly raise me dander,
Crying, “Mother quick, bring in the clothes, here comes an overlander.”

In town we drain the whiskey glass and go to see the play,
We never think of being hard up nor how to spend the day.
We shear up to them pretty girls who rig themselves with grandeur,
And as long as you spend your cheques, my lads, they love the overlander.

A little girl in Sydney side, she said, “Don't leave me lonely.”
I said, “It's sad but my old prad has room for one man only.”
So now I must be jogging on, this pony she's a goer,
We'll pick up a job with a crawling mob along the Maranoa.

(Chorus)

Trevor Lucas sings The Overlander on Overlander

Oh, there's a trade you all know well, it's bringing cattle over,
I'm gonna tell you about the time that I became a drover.
I wanted stock for Queensland to Kempsey I did wander,
I bought a bunch of duffers there and began as an overlander.

Chorus (after each verse):
So pass the bottle round, me boys, don't you leave it stand there,
For tonight we'll drink the health of every overlander.

Well, when the cattle were counted and the outfit ready to start,
The boys were all a-mounted with their swags up in the cart.
I saw I had all kinds of men from Germany, France and Flanders,
Lawyers, doctors, good and bad in the mob of overlanders.

Now I would scourn to prig a shirt 'tis all me mates can say,
But if we pass through a township all on a washing day,
While the dirty brats of kids would shout, and quickly raise me dander,
Crying, “Mother quick, bring in the clothes, here comes the overlander.”

In town we drain the whiskey flask and go to see the play,
We never think of being hard up nor how to spend the day.
We shear up to them pretty girls who rig themselves with grandeur,
And as long as you spend your cheques my lads they love the overlander.

Oh, a little girl in Sydney town, she said, “Don't leave me lonely.”
I said, “It's sad but my old nag has room for one man only.”
So now I must be jogging on, this pony she's a goer,
We'll pick up a job with a crawling mob along the Maranoa.

Acknowledgements

Lyrics copied from Mark Gregory's Australian Folk Songs and adapted to the actual singing of A.L. Lloyd and Trevor Lucas.