The Long Paddock is a unique part of working and living history of rural Australia, and there is a significant body of films, stories, poems and songs.
The songs and poems of Banjo Paterson and the more contemporary John Williamson, amongst many others, romanticise the adventurous life of the drover in their work on the stock routes. The Australian drover is a character that stands larger than life in Australian outback folklore, which is replete with stories of epic, even heroic, droving feats. Whilst present day drovers may have slightly more comfortable lifestyle than their predecessors, their independence and position in the great outdoors, seemingly far from the stresses of everyday life conjures up many images attractive to those of us without this apparent freedom.
Much literature has been written about droving, particularly balladic poetry. an idealised image of the droving life is described in the poem " Clancy of the Overflow", and more realistically depicted in the historical film The Overlanders, a the story of 'one man' and his small group of drovers' journey crossing three state's of Australia and 2000 miles with over a thousand head of cattle. Starring Chip Rafferty.
Robbery Under Arms (1985). an adaptation of the classic Australian bushranger novel "Robbery Under Arms" by Rolf Boldrewood. Filmed in the Flinders Ranges, it stars Sam Neill as Captain Starlight, and features the story of Harry Readmond's famous cattle drive across the Strzelecki Desert.
Hugh Jackman played a drover in the film Australia.
Other examples include:
• "The Ballad of the Drover " (poem)
• “Andy's Gone with the Cattle" (poem)
• The Drover's Wife" (short story)
• "Clancy of the Overflow " (poem)
• "The Travelling Post Office" (poem)
• “Saltbush Bill” (poem)
• “In the Droving days” (poem)
Judith Wright - "South of My Days" (poem)
Adam Lindsay Gordon - "The Sick Stock Rider" (poem)
Rolf Harris - "Tie me Kangaroo down, Sport! " (folk song)
Anonymous - "The Overlander" (folk song)
Anonymous - "Wrap me up in my Stockwhip and Blanket" (folk song)
John Wheeler/William G.James. - "The Three Drovers " (Christmas song)
Saul Mendelsohn - "Brisbane Ladies" (folk song)
Bill "Swampy" Marsh - Great Australian Droving Stories
John Williamson – “Campfire on the Road ” (song)
Photo by John Thorpe