[BROADSIDE] Lively flea. / Australia our home.
A rare broadside with a ballad about the Victorian gold diggings.
[s.l. : s.n., circa 1855]. Single lithographed sheet, printed on thin paper, 255 x 190 mm, containing two anonymous ballads, each presented in a single column separated by a vertical divider; in the left column a humorous verse titled ‘Lively Flea’ (a parody of Charles Dickens’ ‘Ivy Green’), and in the right column a topical ballad about the Victorian gold diggings titled ‘Australia our home’; an illustration at the head of each column, with the gold digger depicted as a rakish character holding a bag marked [£]’5000′; titles in bold with the text filling the remainder of each column; a fine example.
We can locate only six other copies of this broadside in collections worldwide (National Library of Australia; State Library of New South Wales; Bodleian Library, Oxford; University of Chicago Library; University of Pennsylvania Library; Memorial University of Newfoundland, Lubrano Collection of Broadside Ballads).
‘Australia our home’.
‘Here’s off, here’s off to the diggings of gold,
Australia’s our home where wealth is untold;
Up, up with your picks, take your shovel in hand,
Here’s off, here’s off to a happier land.
We dread not the voyage, though distant and long,
We’ve a compass to steer by, our arms they are strong,
And ne’er into misery unheeded we’ll fall,
While Melbourne’s rich gold fields are open to all.
Quick, quick, “ALL’S SERENE” – at trifles don’t stand,
I’ll warrant we’ll soon have a fortune in hand;
Up, up with your picks, let your courage be bold,
Here’s off, here’s off to the diggings of gold.
The gold fields are near – see the diggers how thick –
What matters, here’s into the work like a brick,
What to us is the toil, or pain-blister’d hands,
If a barrow we wheel o’er the gold-yielding sands.
They may tell us of hardships – of dangers unknown,
Of knives and bullets – but there we will roam;
With mountains above us, and valleys below,
To Melbourne’s rich gold fields right onward we go.
Huzza! fellow-townsmen, ye may dig till you’re rich,
The gold fields are open, our tents there we’ll pitch,
Up, up, with our picks, the treasures unfold,
Here’s off, here’s off to the diggings of gold.’