The Dying Stockman by Banjo Paterson

Mateship and Resilience In The Face Of Death

This melancholy bush ballad adopts the perspective of a dying stockman bidding farewell to his companions in the wilderness.

Paterson employs vivid outback imagery as the setting – coolibah trees, dingoes wailing, the Infinity scrub. References to stockmen artifacts like saddles and whips add authenticity.

The Old Bush Songs

by Banjo Patterson

The stockman’s requests for burial evoke the harsh yet intimate relationship between bushmen and the landscape. His longing to fly over the plains conveys deep connection.

Paterson depicts mateship and resilience as the stockman faces death with stoicism. His wishes for a marked grave signify hope his memory will live on in the bush.

The repeated refrain about wrapping the body in artifacts of his trade underscores the stockman’s identity is permanently intertwined with the frontier, even in death.

So through an affecting narrative, “The Dying Stockman” provides insight into the Australian ethos of perseverance, loyalty among bush comrades, and spiritual ties to the environment and lifestyle.


(Air: “The Old Stable Jacket.”)

A strapping young stockman lay dying,
His saddle supporting his head;
His two mates around him were crying,
As he rose on his pillow and said:


“Wrap me up with my stockwhip and blanket,
And bury me deep down below,
Where the dingoes and crows can’t molest me,
In the shade where the coolibahs grow.

“Oh! had I the flight of the bronzewing,
Far o’er the plains would I fly,
Straight to the land of my childhood,
And there would I lay down and die.

    Chorus: Wrap me up, &c.

“Then cut down a couple of saplings,
Place one at my head and my toe,
Carve on them cross, stockwhip, and saddle,
To show there’s a stockman below.

    Chorus: Wrap me up, &c.

“Hark! there’s the wail of a dingo,
Watchful and weird–I must go,
For it tolls the death-knell of the stockman
From the gloom of the scrub down below.

    Chorus: Wrap me up, &c.

“There’s tea in the battered old billy;
Place the pannikins out in a row,
And we’ll drink to the next merry meeting,
In the place where all good fellows go.

    Chorus: Wrap me up, &c.

“And oft in the shades of the twilight,
When the soft winds are whispering low,
And the dark’ning shadows are falling,
Sometimes think of the stockman below.”

   Chorus: Wrap me up, &c.

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