“Rousie's Song”


"They shore them wet on Monday, And they shore them wet again; How in the hell can a rousie live On twenty points of rain?"


Meredith et al explain that rouseabouts were paid by the week, and were allowed to "laze about" -- and get paid! -- if the shearers declared it too wet to work.

This doesn't make sense, though -- if rain lets workers get a paid vacation, why should they complain about it? And if it doesn't rain, they can always finish up and go elsewhere. So I have to suspect that this predates the work of the shearers' union, and comes from the days when the workers were paid only for work done. I'll admit that I don't know, though. - RBW


  1. Meredith/Covell/Brown, p. 278, "Rousie's Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, MCB278


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1987
Keywords: work sheep
Found in: Australia