Bush ballad

The bush ballad, bush song or bush poem is a style of poetry and folk music that depicts the life, character and scenery of the Australian bush. The typical bush ballad employs a straightforward rhyme structure to narrate a story, often one of action and adventure, and uses language that is colourful, colloquial and idiomatically Australian. Bush ballads range in tone from humorous to melancholic, and many explore themes of Australian folklore, including bushranging, droving, droughts, floods, life on the frontier, and relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Though the style has since declined in popularity, works from the period leading up to Federation remain among the best-known and loved poems in Australia, and "bush bards" such as Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson are regarded as giants of Australian literature. Clubs and festivals devoted to bush poetry can be found throughout the country, and the tradition lives on in Australian country music.
Although not technically bush ballads, there are also numerous sea shanties formerly sung by whalers and other sailors, as well as songs about the voyage made by convicts and other immigrants from England to Australia, which are sung in a similar style.
The distinctive themes and origins of Australia's bush music can be traced to the songs sung by the convicts who were sent to Australia during the early period of the British colonisation, beginning in 1788. Early Australian ballads sing of the harsh ways of life of the epoch and of such people and events as bushrangers, swagmen, drovers, stockmen and shearers. Convict and bushranger verses often railed against government tyranny. Classic bush songs on such themes include: The Wild Colonial Boy, Click Go The Shears, The Eumeralla Shore, The Drover's Dream, The Queensland Drover, The Dying Stockman and Moreton Bay.
The diversity in Australia has increased, but even in the 1920s Poncie Cubillo introduced the rondalla with their Filipino string band in Darwin. The ballad tradition has grown to include some of these influences including Chinese and Filipino. There were also the Italians growing tobacco, the de Bortoli family, in "Texas in Queensland", adding to the amalgam of folk tunes and Tex Morton hillbilly tunes. Morton, a country music singer originally from New Zealand, released a number of Australian-themed 78s between 1936 and 1943 (including "Dying Duffer's Prayer," "Murrumbridgee Jack," "Billy Brink The Shearer," "Stockman's Last Bed," "Wrap Me Up in My Stockwhip and Blanket," "Rocky Ned (The Outlaw)," and "Ned Kelly Song"), which can be considered to have been inspired by the bush ballad tradition. However, Morton sang without an Australian accent and his yodeling style was closer to that of the American singer Jimmie Rodgers than earlier Australian folk singers.