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The Wild Colonial Boy

John Donahoe was born in Ireland in 1804 and transported to Australia for life in 1824 for 'intent to commit a felony'. He was soon in trouble and absconded into the bush with two other bushrangers. They began robbing and thieving before being captured and sentenced to death.

Donahoe (also known as 'Bold Jack') escaped and over the next few years created mayhem in the area of the Hunter Valley. In 1830 a party of soldiers and mounted police caught up with the gang near Campbell Town. In the ensuing struggle Bold Jack was shot in the head by Trooper Michael Muggleston of the 39th Regiment (later the Dorset's).

With the death of Bold Jack his named passed into legend, and a song was sung about him and his exploits. The authorities regarded it as being seditious and it was banned. The names were changed and gradually it developed into the well known Australian folk song 'The Wild Colonial Boy'.

'The Wild Colonial Boy'

Verse One

There was a Wild Colonial Boy,
Jack Doolan was his name,
Of poor but honest parents,
He was born in Castlemaine
He was his father's only hope
His mothers pride and joy,
And dearly did his parents love
The Wild Colonial Boy.

Verse Two

At the age of sixteen years
He left his native home
And to Australia's sunny shores
A bushranger did roam
They put him in an iron gang
In the government employ
But never an iron on earth could hold
The Wild Colonial Boy.

Verse Three

In sixty-one this daring youth
Commenced his wild career,
With a heart that knew no danger
And no foreman did he fear.
He stuck up the Beechworth mail coach
And robbed Judge MacEvoy
Who, trembling cold, gave up his gold
To the Wild Colonial Boy.

Verse Four

He bade the Judge good morning
And he told him to beware,
That he'd never rob a needy man
Or one who acted square,
But a Judge who'd robbed a mother
Of her one and only joy
Sure, he must be a worse outlaw
Than, The Wild Colonial Boy.

Verse Five

'Surrender now! Jack Doolan,
For you see its three to one;
Surrender in the Queen's Own Name,
You are a highwayman'.
Jack drew his pistol from his belt
And waved it like a toy,
'I'll fight, but not surrender', cried
The Wild Colonial Boy.

Verse Six

He fired at Trooper Kelly
And brought him to the ground,
And in return from Davis,
Received a mortal wound,
All shattered through the jaws he lay
Still firing at Fitzroy,
And that's the way they captured him,
The Wild Colonial Boy.


So come away me hearties
We'll roam the mountains high,
Together we will plunder
And together we will die.
We'll scour along the valleys
And we'll gallop or'er the plains,
And scorn to live in slavery,
Bound down by iron chains.