The words for Andy’s Gone with Cattle were written by the well-known Australian writer/poet Henry Lawson and published in The Australian Town and Country Journal on 13 October 1888. Six weeks later, a sequel, Andy’s Return, was published in the same journal.
Lawson was born in 1867 in a tent on the New South Wales goldfields, the son on a Norwegian father and an English mother. He experienced a rather miserable childhood on a poor bush farm in what is now western Sydney and this greatly influenced the subject matter of many of his later writings.
The happenings described in this poem take place during a period of severe drought, when the principal character, Andy, is forced to take a job droving cattle in order to financially sustain his family. The poem reflects on the lives of family members left behind on their small free-selection in the Australian Outback. Droving was a difficult and sometimes dangerous occupation, affecting both the drovers and the families they left behind, often for long periods of time.
These three arrangements of Andy’s Gone with Cattle are part of a larger collection of choral arrangements across 20 Australian folk song titles. The works were commissioned in 2022 by the Queensland Kodály Choir as a legacy project of Australian Choral Music and are collectively available in a two-part anthology titled On a Distant Shore.
The Queensland Kodály Choir has generously determined that these anthologies and all of their associated resources should be made freely available to anyone who would like to make use of them. To facilitate this, whilst each of the arrangements is copyright, the full set of project resources has been licensed under Creative Commons International Licence, meaning that they can be freely shared, copied and/or redistributed.
Conductors/choirs wishing to access the Anthology – Parts 1 & 2 – and/or the companion rehearsal tracks, can do so by following the link to the Cuskelly College of Music website. The complete individual titles (including cover title page, vocal score, piano accompaniment, extracted instrument parts, performance notes and glossary of terms) are available in the Anthology Catalogue on this website.
Perusal and download copies of the three arrangements of Andy’s Gone with Cattle are available below.
Featured Image: “Morning” by S.T. Gill, public domain via Wikimedia Commons