Sergeant Small or Down and Outback

A song by unknown author
Tune by Brad Tate©Brad Tate 1974

I went broke in western Queensland in Nineteen Thirty One
Nobody would employ me so my swag carrying begun
I came down into Charleville through all the western towns
I was on my way to Roma destination Darling Downs

My pants were getting ragged my boots were getting thin
But when I stopped at Mitchell a goods train shunted in
I heard the whistle blowing and looking out could see
She was on her way to Roma it was quite plain to me

I wish I was about twenty stone only seven feet tall
I'd go back to western Queensland and beat up Sergeant Small

Now as I sat and watched her inspiration's seed was sown
I remembered the Government slogan: Here's the railway that you own
By this time the sun was setting and the night was getting nigh
So I gathered my belongings and took her on the fly

When we got into Roma I kept my head down low
I heard a voice say "Any room Mate?" I answered "Plenty Bo"
"Come out of there my noble man" came the voice of Sergeant Small
"I have trapped you very nicely - you've ridden for a fall"

The judge was very kind to me he gave me thirty days
Saying "Maybe this will help to cure your rattler jumping ways"
So if you're down and outback boys I'll tell you what I think
Stay off those Queensland goods trains they're a short cut to the clink


From Brad Tate's Down and Outback which is also another title for this song. Brad writes "My setting of a poem by Terry Boylan, chorus by Tex Morton. Boylan's verses appeared in the 'Australasian Express' London 1974. Though not connected with Morton's banned Depression song about a NSW policeman, the themes were so familiar I combined them".

It is sung here by Ian White from his 1980s LP "Waiting For the Rain".

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