The Cockie Of Bungaree


Come, all you weary travellers
Who’s out of work, just mind
If you take a trip to Bungaree
It’s plenty there you’ll find
Take a trial with the cockies
You can take it straight from me
You’ll very surely rue the day
You go to Bungaree

Well, how I came this weary way
I means to let you know
Being out of employment
I didn’t know where to go
I went to the register office
And there I did agree
To take a job aclearing
For a cocky in Bungaree

His homestead was of surface mud
And his roof of mouldy thatch
The doors and windows hung by a nail
With never a bolt or a catch
The chickens ran over the table
Such a sight you never did see
One laid an egg in the old tin plate
Of the cocky from Bungaree

And on the very first morning
It was the usual go
He battled a plate for breakfast
Before the cocks did crow
The stars were shining gloriously
The moon was high, you see
I thought before the sun would rise
I’d die in Bungaree

And when I got home for supper
It was about half past nine
And when I had it ate
Well, I reckoned it was bedtime
The cocky he came over to me
And he said with a merry laugh
“I want you now for an hour or two
To cut a bit of chaff”

And when I had it finished
I’d to nurse the youngest child
Whenever I said a joking word
The missus she would smile
The old fellow got jealous
Looked like he’d murder me
And there he sat and whipped the cat
The cocky from Bungaree

Well, when I had my first week done
I reckoned I’d had enough
I walked up to the cocky
And I asked him for my stuff
I went down in to Ballarat
And it didn’t last me long
I went straight in to Sayer’s Hotel
And blew my one pound one

And now my job is over
And I’m at liberty
I’ll never forget the day I met
The cocky from Bungaree

The cockies, or cockatoo farmers of Australia, are the poorest of poor. They are so called because their main crop – an involuntary one – is the cockatoo… and you can’t even eat the damn things. Even worse off than the cockies is the traveling laborer who has to work for them.