Wild Colonial Boy, The

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  • Teideal (Title): Wild Colonial Boy, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 850110.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 677.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): L20.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): James Cowdery.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): between 1979 and 1981.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): private.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

There was a wild colonial boy, Jack Duggan was his name
He was bred and born in Ireland, in a place called Castlemaine
He was his father’s only son, his mother’s pride and joy
And dearly did his parents love the wild colonial boy.

At the youthful age of sixteen years he began his wild career
With a heart that knew no terror and a spirit that knew no fear
He robbed a wealthy squire, all arms(?) he did destroy
A terror to his parents was the wild colonial boy.

At the early age of eighteen years he left his native home
And to Australia’s sunny lands he was inclined to roam
He robbed the rich, and helped the poor; he shot James McEvoy
A terror to Australia was the wild colonial boy.

One day upon a prairie, as Jack he rode along
Listening to the mockingbirds singing their pleasant song
Out sprang three armed troopers – Kelly, Davis and Fitzroy
They all set out to capture him, the wild colonial boy.

Now, I’ve made a mistake there, now. I left out one verse, you know. And this verse I’m going to sing now, before the last verse.

‘Surrender now, Jack Duggan, we are three to one
Surrender in the Queen’s own name, you are a plundering son!’
Jack drew two pistols from his breast, and loudly cried on high,
‘I’ll fight but not surrender!’ said the wild colonial boy.

He fired a shot at Kelly that brought him to the ground
Turning then to Davis, he gave him his fatal wound;
But a bullet pierced his brave young heart from the pistol of Fitzroy
And that is how they captured him, the wild colonial boy.

I knew I was missing something there, you know. It’s only when I started singing it I found out.


It’s hard to imagine what Joe thought he was doing wrong, for all the verses are in the correct narrative order as he sang them.