Click go the shears• Click go the shears is a traditional old Australian bush ballad, dating back to the 19th century when shearing was un- mechanised and shearers used hand shears, sometimes referred to as the tongs, which resemble garden secateurs. Some of the words heard in the song are still valid today, while others have "gone out with the blades" – an Aussie bush expression that is doubly relevant in this instance.
Chorus Click go the shears boys, click, click, click, Wide is his blow and his hands move quick, The ringer looks around and is beaten by a blow,And he curses the old snagger with the bare-bellied joe. This chorus is about a Shearer who is shearing his sheep. A ringer is the fastest Shearer in the shed
First verse Out on the board the old shearer stands Grasping his shears in his long bony hands Fixed is his gaze on a bare-bellied "Joe" Glory if he gets her, wont he make the ringer goThis verse is about an old shearerholding his shears with his handshe has his eyes on a sheepstomach and a ringer is the fastestperson to shear a sheep
Second verseIn the middle of the floor in his cane-bottomedchair Is the boss of the board, with eyeseverywhere Notes well each fleece as it comesto the screen Paying strict attention if its takenoff clean According to James parson There is a supervisor, possibly the shed contractor, who oversees the work. "The Board" is the length of shed where the shearers are lined up working. the "screen" is another term for the skirting table, where the finished fleece is thrown and the scrappy bits taken off the edges.
Third verseThe tar boy is there, awaiting hisdemand With his blackened tar potin his tarry hand,Notes one oldsheep with a cut upon her back,Here is what hes waiting for – its"Tar here, Jack!“The tar boy was assigned to a task towatch the shearer shear the sheepand help him when he needsanything
Verse 4Now the shearing is all over, weve all got our cheques,So roll up your swags and its off down the trace,The first pub we come to its there well have a spree,And everyone that comes along its Have a drink on me.• According to James parson Most shearers in the early days of the colony were itinerant workers who walked between sheds, carrying a bedroll or "swag". Often, with little else to do, shearers would spend most of their earnings in the pub (bar) in a drinking spree. The most famous swagman song is, of course, Waltzing Matildas.