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Joe Wilson and His Mates   By: (1867-1922)

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by Henry Lawson

Transcriber's Note: This etext was entered twice (manually) and electronically compared, by Alan R. Light This method assures a low rate of errors in the text often lower than in the original. Special thanks go to Gary M. Johnson, of Takoma Park, Maryland, for his assistance in procuring a copy of the original text, and to the readers of soc.culture.australian and rec.arts.books (USENET newsgroups) for their help in preparing the glossary. Italicized words or phrases are capitalized. Some obvious errors may have been corrected.

An incomplete glossary of Australian, British, or antique terms and concepts which may prove helpful to understanding this book:

"A house where they took in cards on a tray" (from Joe Wilson's Courtship): An upper class house, with servants who would take a visitor's card (on a tray) to announce their presence, or, if the family was out, to keep a record of the visit.

Anniversary Day: Mentioned in the text, is now known as Australia Day. It commemorates the establishment of the first English settlement in Australia, at Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), on 26 January 1788.

Gin: An obvious abbreviation of "aborigine", it only refers to female aborigines, and is now considered derogatory. It was not considered derogatory at the time Lawson wrote.

Jackaroo: At the time Lawson wrote, a Jackaroo was a "new chum" or newcomer to Australia, who sought work on a station to gain experience. The term now applies to any young man working as a station hand. A female station hand is a Jillaroo. Variant: Jackeroo.

Old fashioned child: A child that acts old for their age. Americans would say 'Precocious'.

'Possum: In Australia, a class of marsupials that were originally mistaken for possums. They are not especially related to the possums of North and South America, other than both being marsupials.

Public/Pub.: The traditional pub. in Australia was a hotel with a "public" bar hence the name. The modern pub has often (not always) dispensed with the lodging, and concentrated on the bar.

Tea: In addition to the regular meaning, Tea can also mean a light snack or a meal (i.e., where Tea is served). In particular, Morning Tea (about 10 AM) and Afternoon Tea (about 3 PM) are nothing more than a snack, but Evening Tea (about 6 PM) is a meal. When just "Tea" is used, it usually means the evening meal. Variant: Tea time.

Tucker: Food.

Shout: In addition to the regular meaning, it also refers to buying drinks for all the members of a group, etc. The use of this term can be confusing, so the first instance is footnoted in the text.

Sly grog shop: An unlicensed bar or liquor store.

Station: A farm or ranch, especially one devoted to cattle or sheep.

Store Bullock: Lawson makes several references to these. A bullock is a castrated bull. Bullocks were used in Australia for work that was too heavy for horses. 'Store' may refer to those cattle, and their descendants, brought to Australia by the British government, and sold to settlers from the 'Store' hence, the standard draft animal.

Also: a hint with the seasons remember that the seasons are reversed from those in the northern hemisphere, hence June may be hot, but December is even hotter. Australia is at a lower latitude than the United States, so the winters are not harsh by US standards, and are not even mild in the north. In fact, large parts of Australia are governed more by "dry" versus "wet" than by Spring Summer Fall Winter.

A. L.


Author of "While the Billy Boils", "On the Track and Over the Sliprails", "When the World was Wide, and other verses", "Verses, Popular and Humorous", "Children of the Bush", "When I was King, and other verses", etc.

The Author's Farewell to the Bushmen.

Some carry their swags in the Great North West Where the bravest battle and die, And a few have gone to their last long rest, And a few have said "Good bye!" The coast grows dim, and it may be long Ere the Gums again I see; So I put my soul in a farewell song To the chaps who barracked for me... Continue reading book >>

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