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Bob Bolton Lyr Req: The Gum Tree Canoe (Steele/Winnemore) (71* d) Lyr Add: THE DEAR NATIVE GIRL 08 Oct 13

G'day again,

I had reason to wander back through this thread, the other day ... and since then I have been looking at some great searching done by our Mark Gregory ... using web searches of newly posted OCR scans from the National Library of Australia's TROVE site. This means we are often finding the first recorded published for of songs that have spent the last century, or so, in oral transmission ... and, sometimes, subject to "creative" resurrection!

This is an Australian song based on the form and tune of The Gum Tree Canoe ... but ashore from said canoe - in either Tombidgee Gum ... or Australian Eucalypt (our vast range of "gum trees"). The American tune was well-known ... and popular for many different song settings.

(from Mark's posting:

Air.-"Gum-tree Canoe."

Australia, dear land of my childhood, and birth,
I think of you still amidst beauty and mirth;
Your forests, your mountains their charms have for me,
And the dear native girl who will share it with me.
Then give me a hut in my own native land.
Or a tent in the bush with the mountains so grand ;
With the scenes of my childhood contented I'll be,
And the dear native girl who will share it with me.

I love far to roam where the emu does stray,
Where the wild native dog cries aloud for his prey,
Where the kangaroo, wallaroo and wombat so rare
Are found with the scrub turkey and native bear.

How pleasant to rise at the dawn of the day,
And chase the wild horse o'er the hills far away,
Where he'll prance and he'll snort all alone in his
Until he's run down by hearts bold and free.

When winter winds whistle and blast the sweet flowers,
How happy and cheerful we'll then pass the hours
With the friends of our youth in song or in glee,
And the dear native girl who will share it with me.


This song was first published in the Queenslander 8 September 1894, with the note: (From versions supplied by "Colonial Boy," St. Lawrence, and R.C.H., Cloncurry.)

This version is from the Victorian newspaper the Oakleigh Leader 29 September 1894 p. 7.

This version has been 'naturalised' with several Australia terms and 'species', apart from the 'Gum Tree (canoe)':

Native: In this song means 'native-born' - an Australian of European ancestry but local birth,

Emu: Our struthioform bird ... somewhere in size between the African ostrich and the South America rhea (... or 'emas' ... Hispanic language source of our name ...)

Native Dog: The dingo ... pretty close to the oldest recognised forms of wild dog ...

Kangaroo: ... Ubiquitously ...,

Wallaroo: Smaller macropod ... somewhere between kangaroo and wallaby ...

Wombat: Hefty burrowing herbivorous marsupial. (Interestingly, it is now considered that our koala is a "re-arborialised wombat" - indicated by the koala' reversed pouch ... necessary for the baby wombat's comfort during mother's burrowing - but superfluous back up in the trees!

Scrub Turkey: No relation to the American Turkey ... but similar size, black body plumage, red ( ... or sometimes yellow ...) wattles. Builds an immense mound to protect and warm its eggs. (I was intrigued ... last Summer ... to see one Scrub Turkey at Taronga Zoo, building its nest / mound ... hard up against the outer fence of the Tigers' enclosure!)

Native Bear: Our Koala ... certainly no bear - but the early settlers were no naturalists!



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