Happy Australia Day

Hope all my Aussie friends are enjoying a wonderful Australia Day. And for my non-Aussie friends, here is a bit of Australiana that is worth knowing, at least if you hope to travel Down Under.

I’m celebrating Australia Day up here in the frozen north by listening to Slim Dusty songs (and I may have a bit of Vegemite later — still have a jar from my last trip). It’s hard to pick a favorite Slim Dusty song to share, as there are so many I came to love during my travels in Australia — so maybe I’ll just have to post a few more songs this week.

With more than 100 albums released over a 6-decade career, Slim Dusty’s music has been called “the soundtrack of Australia.” His songs celebrate the most notable elements of Australia’s history, culture, and present. Dusty did a lot of songs about cowboys (known as ringers, drovers, or stockmen in Australia), and at least as many about truck drivers. He also sang of country pubs, old friends, family, food, traveling, life in the Outback, and how life was changing. He passed away in 2003, but his music lives on.

One of his earliest hits — a song that has itself become part of the Australian culture — was his recording of a humorous lament by Gordon Parsons titled “The Pub With No Beer.” I believe this may be almost as widely known in Australia as “Waltzing Matilda.”


Filed under Australia, Lore, Video

2 responses to “Happy Australia Day

  1. philip peluso

    Dear Cynthia

    Thanks for remembering Australia Day! I follow all your posts, and of course, have read your book (several times!)

    One little correction – a Ringer is not a cowboy/stockman – he is the “Gun Shearer” (the fastest and most experienced shearer) in a sheep shearing shed.

    The word “drover” is usually applied when stock are being moved a long way to another pasture (or another property), and they use the “Long Paddock”, which is the name given to all recognised stock routes.

    “Stockman” is applied to men or women who normally deal with cattle or sheep within the property they live on.

    Thanks again and best wishes!

    Philip Peluso

  2. Thanks, Philip. I knew that a fast sheep sheerer was a ringer, but since it is said that a drover “rings the mob” (and my authority for that is impeccable — it’s in a Slim Dusty song!!), I believed the several places I ran into the term “ringer” in relation to cowboys. Perhaps it has just gone out of use in that sense. Here is one site that offers only “ringer” as the word for “cowboy” — http://www.fionalake.com.au/other-info/other-references/rural-words/stockman-words (though I found several sites that only offered “sheerer” or “look alike” for ringer — so clearly that is the more common usage now).
    So maybe it’s just one of those uses that has slipped away with time.
    And delighted that you liked my book. It’s wonderful to be able to share with others the delights I found in Australia.

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