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On Kileys Run

Written by: Andrew Barton Paterson | Biography
 | Quotes (1) |
 The roving breezes come and go 
On Kiley's Run, 
The sleepy river murmurs low, 
And far away one dimly sees 
Beyond the stretch of forest trees -- 
Beyond the foothills dusk and dun -- 
The ranges sleeping in the sun 
On Kiley's Run. 

'Tis many years since first I came 
To Kiley's Run, 
More years than I would care to name 
Since I, a stripling, used to ride 
For miles and miles at Kiley's side, 
The while in stirring tones he told 
The stories of the days of old 
On Kiley's Run. 

I see the old bush homestead now 
On Kiley's Run, 
Just nestled down beneath the brow 
Of one small ridge above the sweep 
Of river-flat, where willows weep 
And jasmine flowers and roses bloom, 
The air was laden with perfume 
On Kiley's Run. 

We lived the good old station life 
On Kiley's Run, 
With little thought of care or strife. 
Old Kiley seldom used to roam, 
He liked to make the Run his home, 
The swagman never turned away 
With empty hand at close of day 
From Kiley's Run. 

We kept a racehorse now and then 
On Kiley's Run, 
And neighb'ring stations brought their men 
To meetings where the sport was free, 
And dainty ladies came to see 
Their champions ride; with laugh and song 
The old house rang the whole night long 
On Kiley's Run. 

The station hands were friends I wot 
On Kiley's Run, 
A reckless, merry-hearted lot -- 
All splendid riders, and they knew 
The `boss' was kindness through and through. 
Old Kiley always stood their friend, 
And so they served him to the end 
On Kiley's Run. 

But droughts and losses came apace 
To Kiley's Run, 
Till ruin stared him in the face; 
He toiled and toiled while lived the light, 
He dreamed of overdrafts at night: 
At length, because he could not pay, 
His bankers took the stock away 
From Kiley's Run. 

Old Kiley stood and saw them go 
From Kiley's Run. 
The well-bred cattle marching slow; 
His stockmen, mates for many a day, 
They wrung his hand and went away. 
Too old to make another start, 
Old Kiley died -- of broken heart, 
On Kiley's Run. 

. . . . . 

The owner lives in England now 
Of Kiley's Run. 
He knows a racehorse from a cow; 
But that is all he knows of stock: 
His chiefest care is how to dock 
Expenses, and he sends from town 
To cut the shearers' wages down 
On Kiley's Run. 

There are no neighbours anywhere 
Near Kiley's Run. 
The hospitable homes are bare, 
The gardens gone; for no pretence 
Must hinder cutting down expense: 
The homestead that we held so dear 
Contains a half-paid overseer 
On Kiley's Run. 

All life and sport and hope have died 
On Kiley's Run. 
No longer there the stockmen ride; 
For sour-faced boundary riders creep 
On mongrel horses after sheep, 
Through ranges where, at racing speed, 
Old Kiley used to `wheel the lead' 
On Kiley's Run. 

There runs a lane for thirty miles 
Through Kiley's Run. 
On either side the herbage smiles, 
But wretched trav'lling sheep must pass 
Without a drink or blade of grass 
Thro' that long lane of death and shame: 
The weary drovers curse the name 
Of Kiley's Run. 

The name itself is changed of late 
Of Kiley's Run. 
They call it `Chandos Park Estate'. 
The lonely swagman through the dark 
Must hump his swag past Chandos Park. 
The name is English, don't you see, 
The old name sweeter sounds to me 
Of `Kiley's Run'. 

I cannot guess what fate will bring 
To Kiley's Run -- 
For chances come and changes ring -- 
I scarcely think 'twill always be 
Locked up to suit an absentee; 
And if he lets it out in farms 
His tenants soon will carry arms 
On Kiley's Run.