The Augathella Drovers (Brisbane Ladies)

There’s no fool like an old fool, they say, so what happens when a bunch of oul’ coots gather together to make music? The next batch of posts may enlighten you as to the question just posed and may also, perhaps, enrage or entertain. Anything’s better than a yawn, I guess. And everything that is not that bloody virus is a plus. At the moment we can’t meet as a group, as we are in lockdown, so I have set out a version of songs that are in our repertoire but which have not yet been recorded. With any luck (and, as three of us are north of 70, we’ll need it!) we will be able to resume our normal practice of meeting weekly and playing tunes, singing songs and generally enjoying the crack.

“The Long Paddock” is the colloquial name given to the historical travelling stock routes of Australia. “The Augathella Drovers”, also known as “Augathella Station”, “Farewell Brisbane Ladies”, or simply “The Drover’s Song” is an Australian folk song based on a well-known English original called “Ladies of Spain. The song bids farewell to the Ladies of Brisbane on the drovers’ departure and follows their journey along the stock route to the Augathella Station (nearly 800 kilometres inland) in much the same way that the English sailors bid farewell to the ladies of Spain. (notes above by Brett Thompson/

The lyric dates back to at least the 1880s and is credited to a jackaroo turned shopkeeper, named Saul Mendelsohn, who lived near Nanango. The place names used in the song were part of the route that cattle drovers used when returning from Brisbane to the cattle station at Augathella, which is located in west-central Queensland. 

Banter has gone over the song a few times in practice; however, we haven’t yet got the vocal and instrumental parts sufficiently together for public performance. I reckon it would go well with another great droving song, The Overlander, which is a staple of the group (have a listen to A Bit of Banter 41). If and when we emerge from lockdown to something approximating  the previously normal pub/club milieu, we may well rant and roar the song out…after a few soothing ales.  

The Augathella Drovers

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