Henry Lawson

Tambaroora Jim

He never drew a sword to fight a dozen foes alone, Nor gave a life to save a life no better than his own. He lived because he had been born the hero of my song And fought the battle with his fist whene’er he fought a wrong. Yet there are many men who would do anything for him A simple chap as went by name of ‘Tambaroora Jim.’ He used to keep a shanty in the ‘Come-and-find-it Scrub,’ And there were few but knew the name of Tambaroora’s pub. He wasn’t great in lambing down, as many landlords are, And never was a man less fit to stand behind a bar Off-hand, as most bush natives are, and freckled, tall, and slim, A careless native of the land was ‘Tambaroora Jim.’ When people said that loafers took the profit from his pub, He’d ask them how they thought a chap could do without his grub; He’d say, ‘I’ve gone for days myself without a bite or sup ‘Oh! I’ve been through the mill and know what ’tis to be hard-up.’ He might have made his fortune, but he wasn’t in the swim, For no one had a softer heart than ‘Tambaroora Jim.’ One dismal day I tramped across the Come-and-find-it Flats, With ‘Ballarat Adolphus’ and a mate of ‘Ballarat’s’; ’Twas nearly night and raining fast, and all our things were damp, We’d no tobacco, and our legs were aching with the cramp; We couldn’t raise a cent, and so our lamp of hope was dim; And thus we struck the shanty kept by ‘Tambaroora Jim.’ We dropped our swags beneath a tree, and squatted in despair, But Jim came out to watch the rain, and saw us sitting there; He came and muttered, ‘I suppose you haven’t half -a-crown, ‘But come and get some tucker, and a drink to wash it down.’ And so we took our blueys up and went along with him, And then we knew why bushmen swore by ‘Tambaroora Jim.’ We sat beside his kitchen fire and nursed our tired knees, And blessed him when we heard the rain go rushing through the trees. He made us stay, although he knew we couldn’t raise a bob, And tuckered us until we made some money on a job. And many times since then we’ve filled our glasses to the brim, And drunk in many pubs the health of ‘Tambaroora Jim.’ A man need never want a meal while Jim had ‘junk’ to carve, For ‘Tambaroora’ always said a fellow couldn’t starve. And this went on until he got a bailiff in his pub, Through helping chaps as couldn’t raise the money for their grub. And so, one rainy evening, as the distant range grew dim, He humped his bluey from the Flats did ‘Tambaroora Jim.’ I miss the fun in Jim’s old bar the laughter and the noise, The jolly hours I used to spend on pay-nights with the boys. But that’s all past, and vain regrets are useless, I’ll allow; They say the Come-and-find-it Flats are all deserted now. Poor ‘Tambaroora’s’ dead, perhaps, but that’s all right with him, Saint Peter cottons on to chaps like ‘Tambaroora Jim.’ I trust that he and I may meet where starry fields are grand, And liquor up together in the pubs in spirit-land. But if you chance to drop on Jim while in the West, my lad, You won’t forget to tell him that I want to see him bad. I want to shake his hand again I want to shout for him I want to have a glass or two with ‘Tambaroora Jim.’

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