Look Out Below
DESCRIPTION: A young man goes to Australia to escape poverty at home. He goes to work in the mines, and in time grows rich. He returns home and marries, but finds that he misses Australia. Back he goes, to resume the miner's life
AUTHOR: Charles R. Thatcher (1831-1878)
EARLIEST DATE: 1869 (Thatcher-ColonialMinstrel-Songsters)
KEYWORDS: mining emigration poverty Australia
FOUND IN: Australia
REFERENCES (10 citations):
Thatcher-ColonialMinstrel-Songsters, pp. 93-94, "Look Out Below" (1 text, from "Thatcher's Colonial Songster")
Anderson-StoryOfAustralianFolksong, pp. 44-45, "Look Out Below!" (1 text, 1 tune)
Anderson-GoldrushSongster, pp. 26-27, "Look Out Below!" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hoskins-GoldfieldBalladeer-LifeAndTimes-Charles-R-Thatcher, pp. 141-142, "Look Out Below!" (1 text)
Anderson/Thatcher-GoldDiggersSongbook, pp. 31-32, "Look Out Below!" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fahey-Eureka-SongsThatMadeAustralia, pp. 92-93, "Look Out Below" (1 text, 1 tune)
Manifold-PenguinAustralianSongbook, p. 42, "Look Out Below!" (1 text, 1 tune)
Paterson/Fahey/Seal-OldBushSongs-CentenaryEdition, pp. 128-130, "Look Out Below" (1 text)
Stewart/Keesing-FavoriteAustralianBallads, pp. 78-79, "Look Out Below!" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Bill Beatty, _A Treasury of Australian Folk Tales & Traditions_, 1960 (I use the 1969 Walkabout Paperbacks edition), pp. 308-309, "Look Out Below" (1 text)
NOTES [225 words]: Hoskins-GoldfieldBalladeer-LifeAndTimes-Charles-R-Thatcher lists the tune as "The Pirate King"; Thatcher has it as "Smuggler King."
Hugh Anderson, The Colonial Minstrel (biography of Charles R. Thatcher), F. W. Cheshire, 1960, p. 25, explain this as referring to "shepherding," which took place in the gold fields of Ballarat although not at Bendigo. "Shepherding" apparently referred to doing just enough work on a claim to maintain the claim, without doing serious mining. At Ballarat, the gold was often thirty feet below the surface (hence the need to "Look out below"!), so digging for it was hard. A man with a claim would "shepherd" it by doing a little digging and watching the success of the neighbouring claims. If one of the neighbours struck gold, the people on the shepherded claim would start digging at the point closest to the neighbours' strike, but otherwise would do minimal work.
For brief background on Charles Thatcher's career, see the notes to "Where's Your License?" For an extensive collection of his songs, see Anderson-StoryOfAustralianFolksong or Hoskins-GoldfieldBalladeer-LifeAndTimes-Charles-R-Thatcher.
According to Hoskins-GoldfieldBalladeer-LifeAndTimes-Charles-R-Thatcher, p. 13, this is one of two Thatcher songs that have unquestionably survived in oral tradition, "Where's Your License" being the other. - RBW
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