The Wild Colonial Boy (MacEdward Leach)
See also: Wild Colonial Boy (John Meredith)
And also: Wild Colonial Boy (Irish)
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It's of a wild colonial boy,
Jack Nolan was his name,
He was brought up by honest parents,
brought up in Castlemaine;
He was his father's only help
and his mother's only joy,
The pride of all the family
was that wild colonial boy.

He scarce had been the age sixteen
when he took his wild career,
A heart that knows no danger
and a stranger to all fear;
He robbed those Belfast coachmen
and he robbed Judge Victor Wright,
With trembling hands they gave up their gold
to the wild colonial boy.

Says Jack unto his comrades,
"Now, boys, be true to me,
Together we will ramble
and together we will stray;
We will rob those lofty squires
and their flocks we will destroy."
With trembling hands they gave up their gold
to the wild colonial boy.

As Jack rode out one evening
he gaily marched along,
A-listening to those mockingbirds
as they warbled out their song;
When out of the woods came three horsemen:
Scotty, Dave, and Dan Fitzroy,
They all marched out to capture
that wild colonial boy.

"Surrender now, Jack Nolan,
you outlawed blundering son,
Surrender in the King's name,
you see we're three to one."
He drew a pistol from his belt,
a tiny little toy,
"I will fight but I won't surrender,"
says that wild colonial boy.

He fired first through Scotty,
he brought him to the ground,
And turning 'round he gave Dave
his deathly wound;
When a bullet sharp pierced his heart
from the pistol of Fitzroy,
And that's the way they captured
that wild colonial boy.

####.... A lumber camp variant of Irish convict Frank "The Poet" MacNamara's verse, Bold Jack Donohue, ca.1832 ....####

Sung in 1950 by Francis (Ernest) Poole [1881-?] of Cape Ray, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

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."

See more lumber camp songs from NFLD.


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