Wild Colonial Boy
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John Renfro Davis


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This tune originated in Ireland and emigrated to Australia. It first appeared in print circa 1830. The villian is alternately called Jack Donohue or Jack Doogan.

The villian may be based on the career of Jack Donahue. Jack Donohue was a criminal who was transported to Australia. He escaped and resumed a life of crime, but was eventually captured and shot in 1830. Jack Dowling was a bushranger in the 1870s. The two share initials and were credited with many of the same feats - and shared the same fate.

There was 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 only joy,
The pride of both his parents was the wild colonial boy.
So come all me hearties, we'll range the mountainside
Together we will plunder; together we will ride.
We'll scour along the valleys, and gallop o're the plains
We scorn to live in slavery bound down with iron chains.

In sixty-one this darling boy commenced his wild career.
With a heart that knew no danger, no foeman did he fear.
He held up the Beechworth mailcoach and he robbed Judge MacEvoy
Who trembled and gave up his gold to the wild colonial boy.
So come all me hearties, we'll range the mountainside
Together we will plunder; together we will ride.
We'll scour along the valleys, and gallop o're the plains
We scorn to live in slavery bound down with iron chains.

One day as he was riding the mountainside along,
A-listening to the little birds their pleasant laughing song
Three mounted troopers came in view, Kelly, Davis and Fitzroy
And thought that they would capture him, the wild colonial boy.
So come all me hearties, we'll range the mountainside
Together we will plunder; together we will ride.
We'll scour along the valleys, and gallop o're the plains
We scorn to live in slavery bound down with iron chains.

'Surrender now Jack Doolan, you see there's three to one
Surrender now Jack Doolan, you daring highwayman!'
He drew a pistol from his belt and twirled it like a toy.
'I'll fight but I won't surrender,' said the wild colonial boy.
So come all me hearties, we'll range the mountainside
Together we will plunder; together we will ride.
We'll scour along the valleys, and gallop o're the plains
We scorn to live in slavery bound down with iron chains.

He fired at Trooper Kelly and brought him to the ground,
And in return from Davis received a mortal wound.
All shattered through the jaws he lay, still firing at Fitzroy.
And that's the way they captured him, the wild colonial boy.
So come all me hearties, we'll range the mountainside
Together we will plunder; together we will ride.
We'll scour along the valleys, and gallop o're the plains
We scorn to live in slavery bound down with iron chains.
Related Links
Information from The Traditional Ballad Index