Sleeper Cutting at Baradine

From Les Cooper, Narrabri, NSW

They were boasting of their cutting in the bar at Baradine,
When I rattled up the roadway in my tinny old machine.
They had sleepers in the doorway, and trees lay in the hall,
And another great big beauty was just about to fall.

They were blocking in their billets, it was a busy scene,
I'll tell you sir, they cut them, in the pub at Baradine,
There were Roundbacks and some Hogbacks, besides a lot of squares,
They had stacked them in the parlours and halfway up the stairs.

The chips were flying freely, and a fellow had to think,
Of how to dodge the axes when he went to have a drink,
The trees were falling thick and fast, the logs lay everywhere,
So I cranked up my old Lizzie while I had time to spare.

If I had stayed I'm certain I'd have perished without doubt,
From a hammerhead or wedge blow, or perhaps a broadaxe clout.
But as I sat in comfort in my car beneath the boughs
I could hear the barman shouting "Time now you blanky cows."

The axework ceased like magic, to me it was quite clear,
That they hadn't come to labour, but had really come for beer,
Still there’s not too many bar rooms wherein I have been,
Where there were so many sleepers, as the pub at Baradine.


From Singabout vol 2 1957 p. 15.

Laurie Cooper of Narrabri, N.S.W., wrote this ballad as a protest against his mates who insisted on "talking shop" in the bar. The editors have set it to a traditional tune which is used for several songs–THE GREAT NORTHERN LINE, THE STATION COOK, and THE KNICKERBOCKER LINE, to mention a few.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love the song.
Reminds me of the good old days.
You see I was once cutting sleepers at Baradine, with my Father Rupert Noy, hard work.

Kind Regards
Peter Noy