From the recording Wild And Wicked Youth

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Robbie O'Connell, © Slievenamon Music BMI / Administered by Cappal Beag Music BMI

Mark Clavey: lead vocals, guitar
Mary Hanover: vocals, hammered dulcimer
Rachel Gaither: vocals, fiddle

The third of our themed-pieces was adapted by Waterford’s own Robbie O'Connell, and tells the tale of 'Bold' Jack Donahue, Australia’s most famous bush-ranger. He was born in 1804, in Dublin, and was transported, in 1823, to New South Wales for a life-term on the charge of “intent to commit felony". He worked on a settlement at Parramatta, stole away, was caught and returned in chains, and finally absconded to the bush. His crime in Australia was robbing livestock with companions Geo.Kilroy and Wm.Smith. All three were taken and sentenced to hang, but Donahue escaped. On September 1 1830, a Private Muckleston overtook Donahue and accomplices Jack Walmsley, Wm. Webber, and Wm. Underwood near Campbelltown. His confederates escaped in the excitement, but Donahue was shot and killed, and so passed into legend. The opening tune, "Over the Waterfall", is an American, old-time breakdown, popularized by turn-of-the-century Glen Lyn VA fiddler Henry Reed, and reminiscent of the Irish tune "The Dark Girl Dressed in Blue" in O'Neill's 1850 collection.


It’s of a wild colonial boy, Jack Dolan was his name… of poor but honest parents, he was born in Castlemaine. He was his father's only hope, his mother's pride and joy, and dearly did his parents love that wild colonial boy. ‘Twas scarcely 16 years of age when he left his native home, and to Australia's sunny clime a bush-ranger he roamed. He robbed them wealthy squatters and their stocks he did destroy - a terror to Australia was that wild colonial boy.

"So come along my hearties, we'll roam the mountains high; together we will plunder, and together we will die. We'll wander o’er the valleys and gallop o'er the plains; we'll scorn to live in slavery, bowed down in iron chains."

'Twas 1861 commenced his wild career with a heart that knew no danger; no foeman did he fear. He robbed the Beechworth mailcoach and held up Judge MacEvoy, who trembled and gave up his gold to that wild colonial boy. One misty, Autumn morning as old Jack, he rode along while listening to those little birds - their pleasant laughing song. Up rode a band of troopers - Kelly, Davis, and Fitzroy - a’riding up to capture him, that wild colonial boy.

"So come along my hearties, &c"

"Surrender now, Jack Dolan, for you see we're three to one. Surrender now, Jack Dolan, or your life will not be long." Jack took two pistols off his belt and he shook them up on high. "I'll fight, but not surrender," cried that wild colonial boy. He fired at trooper Kelly and it brought him to the ground, and in return from Davis, he received a fatal wound. All shattered through the jaw he lay, still firing at Fitzroy, and that's the way they captured him, that wild colonial boy.

"So come along my hearties, &c"