Earliest printed version of Click Go the Shears?
Back in June during my regular scan of recent comments in Trove, a comment by Trove user 'mgregory' drew my attention. It was on this article from 1891 which had the lyrics to a song, the Bare Belled Ewe, attributed to a C. C. of Eynesbury. The comment suggested that this was possibly the “earliest printed version of the iconic bush song, Click Go the Shears”. Bare Belled Ewe is sung to the tune of Ring the Bell, Watchman.
It’s absolutely fantastic that Trove can unearth gems such as these and add richness and colour to our history. An addition to the Wikipedia entry on Click Go the Shears has been made to reflect the new find of the 1891 lyrics.
Although the lyrics are slightly different to what we know them, it’s clear that it’s the same song. In 1953, Dr Percy Jones of the Melbourne University Conservatorium collected various folk songs and together with singer Burl Ives recorded them. You can listen to the Click Go the Shears on YouTube.
The Bare Belled Ewe was written in a time when the working conditions of shearers were pretty dismal. This Wikipedia article gives some information about the strike in 1891, the same year that Bare Belled Ewe was printed. There were other songs and poems written about this time, such as Banjo Paterson’s Waltzing Matilda and Henry Lawson’s Freedom on the Wallaby.
But who is C.C. of Eynesbury? Eynesbury is most certainly Eynesbury Estate, owned by one Samuel Thomas Staughton, Esq.. His eldest son was also named Samuel Thomas, which made for some confusing search results. Cattle and sheep were raised at Eynesbury so it seems most likely that the mysterious C.C. was employed on the property.
Perhaps in time Trove will shed some light on our old friend C.C. of Eynesbury. But for now, they remain a mystery. Do you have any thoughts on whom C.C. might be? Add a comment on this thread.
Last edited by jdrake [NLA]; 07-11-2013 at 03:22 PM.