MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Wild Colonial Boy
Ernest Poole NFLD 1 Tape 17A Track 6
Cape Ray Audio:
Ballad / outlaw Laws L20

It's of a wild Colonial boy Jack Nolan was his name
He was brought up by honest parents brought up in Castle main
He was his father's only help and his mother's only joy
The pride of all the family was that wild colonial boy

He scarce had been the age sixteen when he toot his wild career
A heart that knows no danger and a stranger to all fear
He robbed those Belfast coachmen and he robbed George Victor Wright(?)
With trembling hands they gave up their gold to the wild colonial boy

Says Jack unto his comrades, "Now boys be true to me
Together we will ramble and together we will stray
We will rob those lofty squires and their … we will destroy."
With trembling hands they gave up their gold to the wild colonial boy

Leach: Alright

As Jack rode out one evening he gaily marched along
A-listening to those mockingbirds as they wobbled out their song
When out of the woods came three horsemen Scotty, Dave, and Dan Fitzroy
They all marched out to capture that wild colonial boy

"Surrender now Jack Nolan you outlawed blundering son
Surrender in the king's name you see we're three to one."
He drew a pistol from his belt a tiny little toy
"I will' fight but I won't surrender," says that wild colonial boy

He fired first through Scotty he brought him to the ground
And turning round he gave … his deathly wound
When a bullet sharp pierced his heart from the pistol of Fitzroy
And that's the way they captured that wild colonial boy


Sources: Mercer 195 and 343; Laws L20; Leach 148; Ryan 21; for recordings by the Dorymen, John White, Omar Blondahl, see Taft 98. Henry 750. Roud 677.

History: Thought to be of Australian origin, this song was very popular in the lumbercamps. May be about Jack Dowling, a bushranger in the 1870s, but some suspect an earlier origin (

Text notes:   Deportee to Australia turns outlaw and is eventually captured.

Tune notes: A slow 6/8 metre and abba form.

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