Mudcat Café message #1113452 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #66885   Message #1113452
Posted By: Joe Offer
10-Feb-04 - 12:56 PM
Thread Name: DTStudy: Bold Jack Donohue
Subject: DTStudy: Bold Jack Donohue
Bob Bolton sent me a correction for one of our DT entries for this song, and it seemed to be a good idea to compile and correct all the information we have.
This is an edited DTStudy thread, and all messages posted here are subject to editing and deletion.
This thread is intended to serve as a forum for corrections and annotations for the Digital Tradition song named in the title of this thread.

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Here are the versions we have in the DT:


Come all you gallant bushrangers who gallop o'er the plains
Refuse to live in slavery, or wear the convict chains.
Attention pay to what I say, and value if I do
For I will relate the matchless tale of bold Jack Donohue.

Come all you sons of liberty and everyone besides
I'll sing to you a story that will fill you with surprise
Concerning of a bold bushranger, Jack Donohue was his name
And he scorned to humble to the crown, bound down with iron chain.

Now Donohue was taken all for a notorious crime
And sentenced to be hanged upon the gallow tree so high
But when they to him to Bathurst Gaol, he left them in a stew
For when they came to call the roll, they missed Jack Donohue.

Now when Donohue made his escape, to the bush he went straight way.
The squatters they were all afraid to travel by night and by day
And every day in the newspapers, they brought out something new,
Concerning that bold bushranger they called Jack Donohue.

Now one day as he was riding the mountainside alone
Not thinking that the pains of death would overtake him soon.
When all he spied the horse police well on they came up into view
And in double quick time they did advance to take Jack Donohue.

"Oh Donohue, Donohue, throw down your carbine.
Or do you intend to fight us all and will you not resign?"
"Surrender to such cowardly dogs is a thing that I never would do,
For this day I'll fight with all my might", cried Bold Jack Donohue

Now the sergeant and the corporal, their men they did divide
Some fired at him from behind and some from every side.
The sergeant and the corporal, they both fired at him, too.
And a rifle bullet pierced the heart of Bold Jack Donohue.

Now nine rounds he fired and nine men down before that fated ball
Which pierced his heart and made him smart and caused him for to fall
And as he closed his mournful eyes, he bid the world adieu,
Saying "Convicts all, pray for the soul of Bold Jack Donohue."

Sung by Trevor Lucas with Fotheringay in 1970. This song is only co
on the (never released) BBC sessions, along with superb versions of Eppie Morrie, Lowlands of Holland and Gipsy Davy.

The bandit Jack Donohue was transported to Australia for life in 18
for intent to commit a "felony". He subsequently escaped and wrough
on the planters and police until he was captured and shot in 1830.
ballad has sported many versions both in Australia and Ireland, amo
"The Wild Colonial Boy" and "The Ballad of Jack Dolan (or Duggan, D
but this one is the original.

DT #428
Laws L22
@Australia @outlaw @transport
filename[ DONAHUE


In Dublin town I was brought up that city of great fame
My parents reared me tenderly there's many did the same
Being a wild colonial boy I was forced to cross the main
And for seven long years in New South Wales to wear a convict's chain

Oh I'd been no longer than six months upon Australian shores
When I turned out as a Tory boy as I'd often done before
There was Macnamara from yonder woods and Captain Mackie too
They were the chief associates of bold Jack Donahoe

As O'Donahoe was taken for a notorious crime
And sentenced to be hanged all on the gallows high
But when he came to Sydney gaol he left them in a stew
For when they came to call the roll they missed Jack Donahoe

As O'Donahoe made his escape to the woods he did repair
Where the tyrants dared not show their face by night and day
And every week in the newspapers there was published something new
Concerning that bold hero boy called brave Jack Donahoe

As O'Donahoe was walking one summer's afternoon
Little was his notion that his death should be so soon
When a sergeant of the horse police discharged his carabine
And loudly called to O'Donahoe to fight or else resign

Resign to you, you cowardly dogs its a thing I ne'er will do
For I'll range these woods and valleys like a wolf or kangaroo
Before I'll work for Government said bold Jack Donahoe

Nine rounds the horse policeman fired till at length a fatal ball
He lodged it in O'Donahoe's breast and it caused him to fall
As he closed his mournful eyes to this world he bid adieu
Good people all both great and small pray for Jack Donahoe


This version collected by Alan Scott from Mr H. Beatty of Hawthorne Qld.
In his booklet "The Donahoe Ballads," [add: John Meredith] gives some 16 tunes that have been collected. The earliest Donahoe ballad appeared in The Sydney Gazette
7th September 1830. On 2nd January 1825 John Donahoe arrived at Sydney
Cove on board the convict ship 'Ann and Amelia'. He had been sentenced
to transportation for life on a charge "Intent to commit felony".
On 1st September 1830 Donahoe, with his companions William Webber and John Warmsley, was ambushed by a party of police near Bringelly. Donahoe was shot dead, while Webber and Walmsley escaped.

DT #428
Laws L22
@Australia @outlaw
filename[ DONAHU2

The Traditional Ballad Index separated "Bold Jack" from "Jack Donohoe." I think it might be an idea to study both songs in this thread. I'll post both Ballad Index entries:

Bold Jack Donahoe

DESCRIPTION: The singer sadly recalls the death of Donahoe. He and his companions are overtaken by three policemen. Walmsley refuses to fight, and Donahoe is left alone. He is shot and killed
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1941 (Beck)
KEYWORDS: Australia death cowardice fight outlaw
Sept 1, 1830 (the ballad says Aug 24) - Jack Donahue, formerly of Dublin (transported 1823), is killed by police near Sydney
FOUND IN: Australia US(MW)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Meredith/Anderson, pp. 63-64, "Bold Jack Donahoe" (1 text, 1 tune)
Beck 89, "Bold Jack Donohue" (1 text)
Manifold-PASB, pp. 50-51, "Bold Jack Donahue" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #611
cf. "Jack Donahue" [Laws L22]
cf. "Jim Jones at Botany Bay" (tune)
Notes: This ballad often mixes with "Jack Donahue" (for obvious reasons), and they are lumped by Roud, but the two can be distinguished by the mention of Donahue's companions at the time of Donahoe's capture. Some scholars think this the older of the two.
For historical background on Donahue, see "Jack Donahue" [Laws L22]. - RBW
File: MA063

Jack Donahue [Laws L22]

DESCRIPTION: Irish highwayman Jack Donahue, transported for life, soon escapes prison and returns to his trade. After a hair-raising career, he is confronted by a gang of police and shot after inflicting several casualties upon the constables
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1922 (Pound)
KEYWORDS: transportation crime death prison
Sept 1, 1830 - Jack Donahue, formerly of Dublin (transported 1823), is killed by police near Sydney. He was 23. None of the police were injured in the battle
FOUND IN: US(MW,So,SW) Canada(Mar) Australia
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Laws L22, "Jack Donahue"
Hudson 103, pp. 241-242, "Jack Donahoo" (1 text)
Meredith/Anderson, pp. 97-98, "Bold Jack Donahue" (1 text, 1 tune)
PBB 99, "Bold Jack Donohue" (1 text)
Lomax-FSNA 59, "Bold Jack Donahue" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fahey-Eureka, pp. 82-83, "Bold Jack Donahue" (1 text, 1 tune)
LPound-ABS, 71, pp. 158-159, "Jack Donahoo" (1 text)
Manifold-PASB, pp. 48-49, "Bold Jack Donahue" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 111-113, "Jack Donahue" (1 text -- the Lomax "Cowboy Songs" version)
Silber-FSWB, p. 198, "Bold Jack Donahue" (1 text)

Roud #611
John Greenway, "Bold Jack Donahue" (on JGreenway01)
A. L. Lloyd, "Bold Jack Donahue" (on Lloyd4, Lloyd8)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Bold Jack Donahue" (on NLCR05)
cf. "The Wild Colonial Boy" [Laws L20]
cf. "Bold Jack Donahoe"
Notes: John Greenway believes this ballad to be the ancestor of "The Wild Colonial Boy" (see the notes on that song). On the other hand, it looks to me as if his version is a mixture of "Bold Jack Donahoe" and "The Wild Colonial Boy."
This piece mixes frequently with "Bold Jack Donahoe." The key element to distinguishing them appears to be that the other song describes Donahue's desertion by his companions at the time of his fatal fight. This song does not mention the companions.
(Exception: The Lomax text in "Cowboy Songs" mentions the companions, but in very debased form. It might be another of their deliberately muddied versions. But Laws files it here, so I do the same.)
Robert Hughes, in The Fatal Shore, notes that Jack Donahue was not the first bushranger -- in Van Diemen's Land, in fact, they existed from the start, because the only means the colony survived was by hunting kangaroos, which meant that the convicts were armed. But the Tasmanian bushrangers, even though they all but controlled the island, left little if any ballad record.
Bushranging came much later to Australia proper, and Jack Donahue was the first truly memorable example. Again according to Hughes, Donahue (1806-1830) was given a life term in 1823. Arriving in Australia 1825, he was assigned to work for a settler, misbehaved, spent time on a road gang, was assigned again, and took to the bush.
Donahue's crime in Australia was robbing bullock teams; at this time (December 1827), he had companions Kilroy and Smith. All three were taken, and Kilroy and Smith hung in March 1827, but Donahue escaped. The price on his head eventually reached a hundred pounds.
When the police caught him, Donahue cursed them and tried to fight, but was shot in the head by a trooper named Muggleston. His confederate Walmsley would later turn informer, and led police to some thirty settlers who had traded with him.
Ironically, Donahue was the only famous bushranger of the transportation era. - RBW
File: LL22

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Note from Bob Bolton: