The Queensland Drover (sometimes called The Overlanders) is a traditional folk song that reflects on the life and times of that iconic Australian worker – the drover.
Drovers were (and still are) experienced stockmen who were responsible for moving herds of livestock – most commonly cattle or sheep – over long distances. The reasons for such movements included taking animals to market; delivering animals to a new owner’s property; or, in times of drought, searching for better feed and/or water.
The drovers were characteristically excellent horsemen, experienced in handling stock, tough and independent. They worked in what were often harsh conditions and could be ‘on the road’, away from their homes, for very long periods of time. Drovers who covered very long distances opening up new country were known as ‘overlanders’. They were a tough breed of men, from many nations and from many walks of life, who were often regarded somewhat as social outcasts by the squatters and the townsfolk whose paths they crossed on their long journeys across the country.
The chorus of The Queensland Drover is a toast to these pioneers of the Outback.
These four arrangements of The Queensland Drover are part of a larger collection of choral arrangements of 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 four arrangements of The Queensland Drover are available below.
Featured Image: “The Overlanders”, watercolour by S T Gill. State Library Victoria