Where's Your License?
DESCRIPTION: "The inspector of traps said, 'Now, my fine chaps, We'll go license-hunting today.'" The inspectors set out to find illegal traps and diggers. But they find few traps, and the illegal diggers all make their escape
AUTHOR: Charles Thatcher
EARLIEST DATE: 1854
KEYWORDS: hunting escape technology law
FOUND IN: Australia
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Meredith/Anderson, pp. 102-103, "Where's Your License?" (1 text, 1 tune)
AndersonStory, pp. 75-77, "Where's Your License" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Bill Wannan, _The Australians: Yarns, ballads and legends of the Australian tradition_, 1954 (page references are to the 1988 Penguin edition), pp. 168-169, "Where's Your Licence?" (1 text)
NOTES: According to Wannan, this is a sort of Australian Music Hall song" "From ''"Where's Your Licence?" a celebrated parody on "The Gay Cavalier." and sung by Mr. Thatcher, on the Gold Fields, with great applause.'"
Gwenda Beed Davey and Graham Seal, A Guide to Australian Folklore, Kangaroo Press, 2003, p.247, give this micro-biography of Charles Thatcher: "Popularly known as 'The Goldfields Minstrel' and 'The Colonial Minstrel,' Charles Thatcher (1831-1878) migrated from England in 1853. He was well known on both the Australian and New Zealand goldfields, specializing in humorous parodies of popular songs, his new lyrics reflecting the lifestyles and attitudes of the gold diggers."
Manning Clark, A Short History of Australia, Penguin, 1963; fourth edition, 1995, p. 151, says, "During the years 1858 to 1861 a colonial minstrel, Charles Thatcher, wandered from town to town in the colony of Victoria singing to audiences who clapped, catcalled, whistled, and cheered him to the echo as he boasted of the power of the people to:
"Upset squatterdom's domination,
Give every poor man a home."
Clark argues that Thatcher's lyrics were emblematic of the changes in the land laws in the period 1861-1883 that gave an economic opening to "the Bourgeoisie." - RBW
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