“The Old Bullock Dray”


The bullock driver is preparing for a good life in the bush. He seeks a wife, and prepares to head out to find land. He urges others along: "So it's roll up your blankets, and let's make a push; I'll take you upcountry and show you the bush...."


Settlers in Australia had two major problems: Lack of women (since most convicts were men) and lack of land (since the good properties had been snatched up by early settlers and the wealthy). In 1861, Sir John Robertson (the "Jackie Robertson" of some versions of the song) promoted the New South Wales Free Selection Act, which made at least some land available to newcomers. Although it didn't really solve the problem, it promoted the era of good feeling apparently described in this song.

The "depot" mentioned in some texts is the compound at Parramatta where female immigrants were kept. Referred to as the "Female Factory," it allowed settlers to come in and seek wives. - RBW


  • John Greenway, "The Old Bullock Dray" (on JGreenway01)


  1. Meredith/Anderson, p. 127, "The Old Bullock Dray" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Fahey-Eureka, pp. 66-67, "The Old Bullock Dray" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Manifold-PASB, pp. 140-141, "The Old Bullock Dray" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Paterson/Fahey/Seal, pp. 143-149, "The Old Bullock Dray" (1 text)
  5. BI, MA127


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1905 (Paterson's _Old Bush Songs_)
Found in: Australia