Chinese Emigration

George Chanson


The talk of young Australia, upon each settler's station,
Is the evil of this mighty rush, the Chinese emigration;
Ships from Canton, and famed Hongkong, will bring us all up standing,
Because each day in Sydney town, more Chinamen they're landing.

If any of our bark-built towns you happen just to enter,
Proceed along the burr-clad street, and look about the centre;
There John has got his signboard up of "lodging for the nation",
He charges you quite moderate, it's all through emigration.

Oh glorious feeds he'll give you then, fat poodles rich and racy,
Rat-sausages and cat-meat pies, a Chinese delicacy;
And bullocks which have been worked-out upon some neighbouring station
You get your share of for two bob, it's all through emigration.

And John has got a nice young wife, some wealthy dustman's daughter,
Who for her faults in London streets was forced to cross the water.
She is content to stay with him, and eat his musty ration,
One thing she's left upon the shelf - it's all through emigration.

The legislatives of our land at last poor John they're taxing,
The quickest way to clear him out would be a good pole-axing.
For right and left we find his hosts, upon each settler's station,
And old hands now are out of work, it's all through emigration.

The news is mooted everywhere, and 'twill not be surprising
Ere long if tidings come to us, "The Chinamen are rising";
Be warned just in the nick of time, by our sad situation,
Or Australia yet may rue the days of Chinese emigration.

Note: This comes from George Chanson's Sydney Songster, which is not dated, but Hugh Anderson attributes it to about 1869. Chanson did not specifically claim authorship.
Originally, this was sung to the tune of "Guy Fawkes"; with the words "Bow, wow, wow" at the end of each stanza.
"John" is an abbreviation of the then often used term of "John Chinaman" (or "Johnny Chinaman").

Fire of the Southern Cross: A Collection of Poetry for Australian Nationalists

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