Bluey Brink

An Australian shearer - mounted.

The pioneering English folklorist and singer A.L., Bert, Lloyd was a great collector of Australian ballads including many songs of the sheep shearer's. He learned most of these first hand in 1924–1930, when he himself worked on various sheep stations in New South Wales . Bert learned this song from "Old Dad Adams" of Cowra, New South Wales and sang it on two albums he made of Australian songs.

This hilarious song was also recorded by the Australian country singer and yodeler Tex Morton in 1939 with a somewhat different tune and title, "Bill Brink." Morton became fairly well known in North America as a singer, hypnotist, memory expert, whip cracker and sharpshooter. He was a very successful recording artist in Australia on through the 1970's.

Many Australian bush songs need a glossary of sheep sharing jargon in order to be fully understood. This one has only a couple. "Bluey" is a common nickname for a red-haired man. A "ringer" is the lead shearer who set the pace in a shed.

This is the first Australian song in my collection, but it won't be the last.


There once was a shearer by name Bluey Brink
A devil for work and a terror for drink
He could shear a full hundred each day without fear
And drink without winking four gallons of beer

Now Jimmy the barman who served out the drink
He hated the sight of this here Bluey Brink
Who stayed much too late and who came much too soon
At morning, at evening, at night and at noon

One day as Jimmy was cleaning the bar
With sulphuric acid he kept in a jar
Along comes this shearer a bawling with thirst
Saying whatever you've got Jim just give me the first

Now it aint in the history, you wont find it in print
But that shearer drunk acid with never a wink
Saying that's the stuff Jimmy why strike me stone dead
This'll make me the ringer of Stephenson's shed

All through that long day as he served up the beer
Poor Jimmy was sick with his trouble and fear
Too anxious to argue too worried to fight
He saw that poor shearer a corpse in his fright

But early next morning when he opened the door
Well there was that shearer a yelling for more
With his eyebrows all singed and his whiskers deranged
And holes in hide hide like a dog with the mange.

Says Jimmy and how did you find the new stuff?
Says Bluey it's fine but I've not had enough
It gives me great courage to shear and to fight
But why does that stuff set me whiskers alight?

I thought I knew grog, but I must have been wrong
The stuff that you gave me was proper and strong
It set me to coughing and you know I'm no liar
But every damn cough set me whiskers on fire