Union Songs

The Foreign Digger's Song

A Song by G. of Bathurst©1853

Though Wentworth may bluster, and Thomson look glum,
I care not for either one crack of my thumb ;
But this I can tell them, their new license fee
Will never be paid, though an alien, by me,
In peace I arrived, and in peace I'll depart,
Should the land I have sought be no home of my heart.
But here while I'm one of a stout-hearted throng,
I'll submit to privations, but never to wrong.

How vain thus to plead in Australia's cause ;
She attracts by her wealth, and repels by her laws.
"Come, come !" cries her gold, and lo ! what a host !
"Off, off" say her laws, "from this tyrannous coast."
Her rulers are rocks which some tempest-toss'd tide,
That baulks as it rises, submerging, may hide ;
For her her men of the mines are deeply imbued
With the spirit of freedom, can ne'er be subdued !

In this land of high hopes, where such fortunes are made,
By the diligent use of the pick and the spade,
To till their own acres poor men may aspire,
And reap the full sheaf of each honest desire ;
Then heaven speed the cause of the gullies and glens,
And all who can aid, with their speeches or pens ;
The battle of Labour had ne'er such a field,
Since tyrants were taught by the masses to yield.

Bathurst, February 7, 1853.


In July 2013 I discovered this gold digger's song in the Sydney newspaper the Empire searching for "diggers song" using the National Library of Australia TROVE newspaper search system.

William Wentworth, Gregory Blaxland and William Lawson were the first white men to cross the Blue Mountains. Wentworth founded the the newspaper, "The Australian"

In "A History of Australia" Manning Clark. pp. 241-242 writes of Wentworth and Deas Thomson:

The voices of bourgeois democracy grew impatient with his thunderings and denunciations. The Sydney and country press, the Sydney Morning Herald alone excepted, rebuked him for his 'course anger' and likened him to a 'spent volcano'. By December 1853 all agreed that there should be two houses of Parliament. All agreed that the lower house should be wholly elective. The one contentious issue was still the composition and powers of the upper house. By then Wentworth was prepared to drop the proposal for a hereditary order of colonial nobility, provided the upper house was nominated by the Governor. That and the requirement of a two-thirds majority of both houses to amend the constitution were the 'without which not' of his great aim to 'sow the seeds of good constitutional principles', to make this 'a British community and not a democratic community'. Having won that part of the baltlc for conservative principles Wentworth and Deas Thomson were chosen to act as watchdogs in London when the bill was introduced into the Imperial Parliament. While they were packing their bags Henry Parkes was telling the readers of the Empire that they must persuade Whitehall not to perpetuate squatting because that was the prime cause of barbarism in the Australian bush.

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