Song of the Fettler

A song by 'Johnson'
Tune Dave Johnson©2005

Old 17 is whistling as she rushes through the night
With head and taillights gleaming and every car alight
But as she takes the cutting and holds the shining track
From lusty throats come calling the song of the man - Outback.

So give a cheer for the fettlers who live along the track
The gangs of navvies that sweat and toil maintaining the line - Outback

On cold and lonely stretches on bridges, tall and tong
You hear the cry of 'Paper' the fettlers' only song.
Then as you roll and fling them just watch the eager pack
That rush like boys to grab them for news is scarce - Outback

In scorching Sun and blinding dust In snow and sleet and hail
These men the track are keeping for the passing of the Mail.
Then after 'grub it's Paper time and every tent and shack
Is going through the latest by the light of the lamp - Outback.

Where oil lamps cast feeble light in tents with earthen floor
And canvas walls go swaying as the winds though gum trees roar,
Those papers, every single page, are read, from front to back.
Then passed along to cobbers. That's the way of the men - Outback.

But when the storm clouds gather and rain comes for a week
The Ganger roars at Midnight "Come on boys] Down the Creek".
Out then in gleaming oilskins they go along the Track
With jacks and picks and crowbar. There's a washaway on - Outback.

So now you know just what it's like to work on the line out there.
Where every man's a toiler where each man does his share.
Next time you hear them calling don't pass the waiting Pack.
Give out the news from Sydney. It's a lot to these men - Outback.

(Johnson 1929 Railroad)

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