"Augathella Station", or
"The Ladies of Brisbane" ("Brisbane Ladies"), a parody on
"The Ladies of Spain" ("Spanish Ladies")." – Australia
"Often called "Farewell to the Ladies of Brisbane," this song is a fine example of
a type quite common in Australia – the parody. The song on which it is based is the
well-known old forecastle song, "Ladies of Spain," in which the English sailors say
farewell to the Spanish ladies in much the same way as the overlanders bid adieu to
their Brisbane counterparts.
Incidentally, the English sailor and the Australian stockman were somewhat similar.
Both lived a roving life of adventure, both wished to perpetuate the old tradition of
the spree, and each became the absolute paragon in his particular field.
It is not surprising then that their songs often bear a marked resemblance.
The places named in "Farewell to the Ladies of Brisbane" were actually on the old
Augathella-Brisbane stock-route. Mr Saul Mendelssohn, who lived near Nanango,
composed the verses, and had them printed as a broadside. The printed version
appeared in the Queensland Boomerang in 1891."
—From "Favourite Ausralian Bush Songs",
compiled by Lionel Long and Graham Jenkin,
Rigby Limited, Adelaide
© 1964, Lionel Long and Graham Jenkin
(Brisbane is the Capital City of Queensland, Australia's second largest State).
The Australian Bush Ballad: "Augathella Station"
is on Page 37 of:
"Folksongs for the Violin", Part 3: Third Position, Modes, and Pentatones
(A Graded Selection of Melodies for Beginners of All Ages).
Details on the
(Farewell to the Ladies of Brisbane)
Farewell and adieu to you, sweet Brisbane ladies,
Farewell and adieu to you girls of Toowong,
For we've sold all our cattle and have to be moving,
But we hope we shall see you again before long.
We'll rant and we'll roar like true Queensland drovers.
We'll rant and we'll roar as onward we push,
Until we get back to the Augathella station,
It's flaming dry going through the old Queensland bush.
The first camp we make we shall call it the Quart Pot,
Cabbolture, then Kilcoy and Collington's hut;
We'll pull up at the Stone House, Bob Williamson's paddock,
And early next morning we cross the Blackbutt.
Then onto Taromeo and Yarraman Creek, lads,
It's there we shall make our next camp for the day,
Where the water and grass are both plenty and sweet, lads,
And maybe we'll butcher a fat little stray.
Then onto Nanango, that hard-bitten township,
Where the out-of-work station hands sit in the dust,
And the shearers get shore by old Tim the contractor—
I wouldn't go by there but I flaming well must!
The girls of Toomancy they look so entrancing,
Those young bawling heifers are out looking for fun—
With the waltz and the polka and all kinds of dancing,
To the racketty old banjo of Bob Anderson*
Then fill up your glasses and we'll drink to the lasses;
We'll drink this town dry, then farewell to all;
And when we've got back to the Augathella station°
We hope you'll come by there and pay us a call.°
*(or Hen-er-ee Gunn, depending on the version).
°( slightly different in other versions)
"Augathella's name is derived from an Aboriginal word 'thella' meaning waterhole.
The Warrego River runs next to the town. Augathella has a population of approximately 500.
It is the local centre for the graziers of the area. It is part of the Murweh Shire, which has
a population of about 4,800. (Warrego means 'River of Sand').
"Augathella is approximately 700 kms north-west of Brisbane on the Matilda (Mitchell)
Highway. It is situated at the junction of the Landsborough Highway and the road from
Morven. Charleville is the nearest large town...
"The early history of the district shows that Augathella owes its existence to the bullock
teams that camped on the Warrego River over 100 years ago. This was the junction for
two tracks, one from Charleville and one from Tambo, from here another track then went
to 'Burenda' Station.
The original settlement was known as Burenda township until 1880 when the town was
officially surveyed and called 'Ellangowan'. When the town was gazetted in May 1883,
it was renamed Augathella…"
Various people have retraced the old Brisbane – Authella stock route at different times.
You can see some photos from a 1976 trip here:
"Brisbane Ladies" is, of course, a parody on "Spanish Ladies".
You can listen to "Spanish Ladies" here:
which has the words, and the following comments:
"This song's number of variants suggest that it really is very old indeed.
Of all the versions that exist, the first melody in the major key given here
is probably the best known nowadays. For its topographical lyrics, 'Spanish Ladies'
is fascinating and gives a vivid picture of ships under sail in the English Channel.
The 'Grand Fleet' was the old name for the Channel Fleet, 'Deadman' and 'Fairlee' are
sea names for Dodman Point near Plymouth and Fairlight Hill near Hastings, and Ushant
is the Ile d'Ouessant off Brest in France.
Two variants of the last line (of the first verse)
are interesting. The first states: 'But we hope very soon we shall see you again' and the
second: 'And perhaps never more we shall see you again' obviously two different batches of Spanish Ladies!"
Farewell and adieu unto you Spanish ladies,
Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain;
For it's we've received orders for to sail for old England,
But we hope very soon we shall see you again.
We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar across the salt seas,
Until we strike soundings in the Channel of old England,
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty-five leagues.
Then we hove our ship to the wind at sou'-west, my boys,
We hove our ship to our soundings for to see;
So we rounded and sounded, and got forty-five fathoms,
We squared our main yard, up channel steered we.
Now the first land we made it is called the Deadman,
Then Ram Head off Plymouth, Start, Portland and Wight;
We sailed by Beachy, by Fairlee and Dungeness,
Until we came abreast of the South Foreland Light.
Then the signal was made for the grand fleet for to anchor,
All in the downs that night for to meet;
Then it's stand by your stoppers, see clear your shank-painters,
Haul all your clew garnets, stick out tacks and sheets.
Now let every man toss off a full bumper,
And let every man toss off a full bowl;
And we'll drink and be merry and drown melancholy,
Singing, here's a good health to all true-hearted souls.
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