The Navvies

The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times Fri 30 Jun 1911  p.  4.
You'll meet the navvies on the track
From here to Emu Bay,
They're tramping down in blucher boots,
Their thirty miles a day.
They're coming down to Circular Head
From every distant clime.
To help to build the tramway
And to work upon the line.
Where they'll swing the pick and shovel
And help to build the car,
And no doubt they'll test the local beer
That flows across the bar.

The boozer and the cadger,
And the spieler brave and bold,
And the white man with his pockets full
Of everything but gold.
Are tramping to the township
Where the bloke that keeps the score
Will start them on at eight and six,
Or perhaps a tanner more.
And when the tram is started
They'll be scrapping, never fear.
For those navvy blokes can fight a bit,
Whey they get on the beer.

They'll call the farmers cockies,
When they see them with their drays,
But will not fail to take a drink
Whene'er the farmer pays,
And with crimson oaths and scarlet
They will praise him there and then,
And touch him up for half a quid
Till he comes in again.
A wild and reckless mob they are
Who lend and borrow free.
And dangerous chaps who like to spar
When they are on the spree.

From Stanley to Trowutta,
And to Balfour further on,
The line will soon be dotted
With navvies' tents along.
They'll camp beside the railway line,
The nipper and his friend,
And the district will be humming
With the coin tho toilers spend.
'Tis a boon we all appreciate
To have the navvies here,
In spite of all their capers
When they get on the beer.

When electric cars are running,
With the copper from the West,
A prosperous town will Stanley be
With a port of call the best ;
With liners loading in the bay,
Beside the deep-sea piers.
'Tis then the navvies' work will live,
To show in after years.
And while they're here they'll test the beer,
So let them drink and shout—
The men who build the railway line
From Stanley further out.



First published in the Tasmanian newspaper North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times Friday 30 June 1911 p.4

Reprinted in Daybreak's collection "Railway Ballads, by "Daybreak" The Poet Laureate of Circular Head" Published in Tasmania in 1913

Daybreak, Railway Ballads, Burnie, Bay Times, 1913.

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