Stockman's Last Bed, The
DESCRIPTION: A song lamenting the death of poor Jack, the stockman, (gored to death by a cow). "And we laid him where wattles their sweet fragrance shed, And the tall gum tree shadows the stockman's last bed."
EARLIEST DATE: 1865 (AndersonStory)
KEYWORDS: death Australia lament
FOUND IN: Australia
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Meredith/Anderson, pp. 46, 92, "The Stockman's Last Bed" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Tritton/Meredith, p. 87, "Down Where the Coolibahs Grow" (1 text, 1 tune)
Anderson-Story, pp. 215-218, "The Stockman's Last Bed I/II" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Fahey-Eureka, p. 168, "The Stockman's Last Bed" (1 text, 1 tune)
Manifold-PASB, pp. 84-86, "The Stockman's Last Bed" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Paterson/Fahey/Seal, pp. 233-235, "The Stockman's Last Bed" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Bill Beatty, _A Treasury of Australian Folk Tales & Traditions_, 1960 (I use the 1969 Walkabout Paperbacks edition), pp. 302-304, "The Stockman's Last Bed" (1 text)
John Greenway, "The Stockman's Last Bed" (on JGreenway01)
NOTES [132 words]: Anderson reports that this is derived from "The Boatswain's Last Whistle" by Charles Dibdin (1865?), but Manifold questions this, observing that the tune does not fit well. AndersonStory says that a George Moran claimed to have written it in 1863, but this version apparently was not published until 1885, twenty years after the first printing. Thus I'd consider the author uncertain.
Gwenda Beed Davey and Graham Seal, A Guide to Australian Folklore, Kangaroo Press, 2003, p. 266, say of the Wattle "Folk name of the native [Australian] plant species Acacia. Wattle is a popular Australian icon, and is also favoured in folksong and popular verse for romantic and sentimental death scenes. Possibly due to this association, some people believe it is unluck to have wattle in the house. - RBW
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