Thursday, August 14, 2014
Click Go the Shears - Australian Folklore 21.7.1986
"Click Go the Shears" is a traditional Australian folk song. The song details a day's work for a sheep shearer in the days before machine shears. The enduring popularity of this song reflects the traditional role that the wool industry has played in Australian life. The song describes the various roles in the shearing shed, including the "ringer", the "boss of the board", the "colonial experience man" and the "tar boy". After the day's shearing, the "old shearer" takes his cheque and heads to the local pub for a drinking session.
The tune is an adaptation of the American Civil War song ”Ring the Bell Watchman” by Henry Clay Work and the first verse follows closely, in parody, Work's lyrics as well.
The second verse in the original 19th century song is as follows:
Click goes his shears; click, click, click.
Wide are the blows, and his hand is moving quick,
The ringer looks round, for he lost it by a blow,
And he curses that old shearer with the bare belled ewe.