The Wild Colonial Boy (J Meredith) score, tabs, MIDI
See also: Wild Colonial Boy (Irish)
And also: Wild Colonial Boy (MacEdward Leach)

sheet music

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It's of a wild colonial boy, Jack Doolan was his name,
Of poor but honest parents he was born in Castlemaine;
He was his father's only hope, his mother's pride and joy,
And so dearly did the parents love their wild colonial boy.

Then come along my hearties and we'll roam the mountains high,
Together we will plunder, together we will die;
We'll wander o'er the valleys and we'll gallop over plains,
And we'll scorn to live in slavery bound down in iron chains.

'Twas in eighteen hundred and sixty-five he started his wild career,
With a heart that had no danger, no foeman did he fear;
He stuck up the Royal Mail beach coach and robbed Judge MacEvoy,
With a tremble hand gave up the gold to the wild colonial boy.

As John rode out one morning and riding slowly on,
When listening to the little birds they sweetly sang their song;
He spied three mounted troopers Kelly, Davis and Fitzroy,
All riding up to capture the wild colonial boy.

Surrender now Jack Doolan, you see there's three to one,
Surrender in the Queen's name, it's of a victory won;
He fired at trooper Kelly and he brought him to the ground,
And returning right to Davis he received a mortal wound.

####.... Variant of Irish convict Frank "The Poet" MacNamara's verse, Bold Jack Donohue, c.1832 ....####
¹ In Australian Folk Songs, a selection of Australian traditional songs, Mark Gregory writes:
This variant is from the singing of Sally Sloane, collected by John Meredith. The Adventures of Jack Donohoe (c.1847) is in Cambridge University Library, reprinted in Hugh Anderson's Farewell To Old England. Donovan, Dowling, Dowlan, Dolan, Doolan, Davis, Dollard, Dubbin, Duggan as well as Donahoe with first name Jack or John have all appeared in what are called the Donohoe ballads.
The 18-year old Irish transport John Donohoe arrived at Sydney Cove in 1825. Three years later he was convicted of highway robbery and sentenced to death. He escaped and waged a guerrilla war against the wealthy for more than two years in the country around Sydney. On September 1, 1830, he was ambushed by a police party near Campbelltown and shot dead, his companions Webber and Warmsley escaping into the bush. In his Old Bush Songs, Banjo Patterson wrote: "It will be noticed that the same chorus is sung to both The Wild Colonial Boy and Bold Jack Donahoo. Several versions of both songs were sent in, but the same chorus was always made to do duty for both songs."

² In Folk Songs Of North America, Alan Lomax writes:
The Donahue story began in 1823, in Dublin, when Bold Jack was sentenced to be transported to Australia for life for 'intent to commit a felony'. Brought to Australia in chains, Jack soon bunked out of his convict stockade and turned bushranger. His mates acted as his spies and in return Donahue kept them supplied with rum and tobacco and wrought instant retribution on any planter who oppressed his convicts. The whole colony was kept in an uproar by Donahue's daring robberies until 1830 when the bush police at last surrounded him and shot him down. His ballad spread like wildfire through the colony - such a focus for popular discontent that soon it became a civil offence to sing it in any public place. Several variant songs thereupon appeared, with precisely the same content but different names for their heroes. One of these ballads, The Wild Colonial Boy, can be heard today in Irish pubs 'round the world. The original ballad, meanwhile, took refuge in America, where fishermen, lumberjacks, and cowboys kept the bold bushranger's memory green.

Notes On Tabs:
All tabs have been contributed by visitors to this site and represent their interpretation of the tune. We are unable to verify their accuracy.

Capo 3rd fret

[C] It's of a wild co-[F] lonial [G7] boy, Jack Doolan was his [C] name
Of poor but honest [G] parents he was [G7] born in [C] Castlemaine;
He was his father's [G] only hope his [G7] mother's pride and [C] joy,
And so dearly [G7] did the [F] parents [G] love their [G6] wild [G7] colonial [C] boy.


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