Union Songs

The Union Boy

When I first arrived in Quirindi those girls they jumped for joy
Saying one unto the other here comes a union boy

We'll treat him to a bottle and likewise to a dram
Our hearts we'll freely give too to all staunch union men

I had not been long in Quirindi not one week two or three
When an handsome pretty fair maid she fell in love with me

She introduced me to her mother as a loyal union man
Oh mother dearest mother now he's gently joined the gang

Oh daughter dearest daughter oh this can never be
For four years ago oh he scabbed at Forquadee

Oh mother dearest mother now the truth to you I'll tell
He's since then joined the union and the country knows it well

Now Fred you've joined the union so stick to it like glue
For the scabs that were upon your back they're now but only few

And if you ever go blacklegging or scabbing it likewise
It's with my long long fingernails I'll scratch out both your eyes

I'll put you to every cruelty I'll stretch you in a vice
I'll cut you up in a hay machine and sell you for Chinese rice

Come all you young men oh wherever you may be
Oh it's hoist oh the flag oh the flag of unity

Then scabbing in this country will soon be at an end
And I pray that one and all of you will be staunch union men


When John Meredith first visited Gulgong NSW he recorded this song from Bill Coughlin, then in his seventies. Coughlin had learned the song during the 1902 shearers' strike when he was 16. John Lahey prints another version in his Great Australian Folk Songs .

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