Here we are, large as life in a Sussex cowshed. The song is ‘The Woolloomooloo Lair’ and the thing I’m playing is called a ‘lagerphone’ – more about this in another post.
On the day that I was born, it was a cold and a frosty morn,
In the famous suburb known as Woolloomooloo.
It was down in Riley Street where my folks first heard me bleat
‘Cause at the time I’d nothing else to do.
Oh me mother she died of fright when she saw me in the light
And my father thought he’d send me to the zoo,
But I owe a lot to him, ’cause he taught me how to swim,
When he heaved me off the pier at Woolloomooloo
Oh my name it is McCarty & I’m a rorty party
I’m rough & tough as an old man kangaroo
Some people say I’m crazy, I don’t work because I’m lazy
And I tag along in the boozing throng, the Push from Woolloomooloo.
And when I was just a lad I went straight’way to the bad
A larrikin so hearty that’s a fact – oh strike me blue,
But the government was kind and they didn’t seem to mind
And in Darlinghurst I spent a night or two.
Now the judge gave me a stare and he said, “You’re a lair”
They heaved me into Darlinghurst (jail – you understand),
They gave me clothes, they cut my hair, but I didn’t seem to care
And every night you’d find me in the van.
After spending years in gaoll I began to quail
I resolved to live upon a different lay
So I enlisted in the ranks of the Salvation Army ‘cranks’
You can bet I made the bloody business pay!
Well hallelujah! I’m a lout and I knows me way about,
I kicks the mugs that I’m converted to,
And all the lassies there I dash and I’m never short of cash
‘Cause I beats me drum all over Woolloomooloo.
In the early days in Sydney a “push” was a street gang. The term
has not been in use much this century. The word derives from the German
Putsch which roughly means riot, unruly crowd etc.