Stir the Wallaby Stew
DESCRIPTION: Dad's in jail, Mother unfaithful, the sheep are dead, the farm's for sale. Dad gets out, sees this, and goes back to jail. Chorus: "So stir the wallaby stew, Make soup of the kangaroo tail, I tell you things is pretty tough Since Dad got put in jail."
EARLIEST DATE: 1957
KEYWORDS: work unemployment poverty hardtimes prison family mother father infidelity humorous
FOUND IN: Australia
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Hodgart, p. 234, "Stir the Wallaby Stew" (1 text)
John Greenway, "Wallaby Stew" (on JGreenway01)
NOTES: John Greenway writes of this piece, "Australia's Tobacco Roaders (without the sexual propensities of Jeeter Lester's relatives) are the delightful family of Dad and Dave and the other residents of Shingle Hut -- Mother, Mabel, Sal, Dan, Joe, and Cranky Jack.
Originally the creation of the first great Australian humorist, Steele Rudd (Arthur Hoey Davis) in his books On Our Selection and Our New Selection, Dad and Dave were the archetype of the hard-working but hard-luck free selectors... but the characters were taken away from him and became progressively more lazy and stupid....
"Wallaby Stew" is a shameful example of the degeneration of the Rudd family (as the tune is a degeneration of the "Bungaree" melody), but it represents an important area of Australian folklore."
Rudd [1868-1935] wrote the first portion of in 1895, and it was published in The Bulletin in that year; the complete book On Our Selectoin came out in 1899. The degradation described by Greenway took place in a movie and radio show which came out in Rudd's lifetime but in which he had no part; indeed, Wikipedia says he despised the result.
Gwenda Beed Davey and Graham Seal, A Guide to Australian Folklore, Kangaroo Press, 2003, p. 83, write of the folk evolution of the characcters, "Dad and Dave yarns portray Dave as a harmless simpleton, very much in the tradition of the widely distributed 'numb skull' folk stories. - RBW
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