THE LAST BUSHRANGER
(The Ballad of Harry Power)

Gather round me children and hear my tale
sit with me for an hour
and I’ll tell you the story of the last bushranger
by the name of Harry Power.

Harry was broad-shouldered in his oilskin coat
in his grey beard he looked older
with a double-barrelled shotgun in his good right hand
in his left a muzzleloader.

Harry Power turned a fugitive
when he escaped from Pentridge gaol
he fled to his gunyah in the King River Valley
with the troopers on his trail.

Harry robbed the house of a Christian woman
she started to read him her Bible
he said save it for those sods that are still in Pentridge
give me your money and the silver on your table.

By Eleven Mile Creek he passed one day
and uttering hardly a sentence
he took the young Ned Kelly away
to take him for his apprentice.

Ned Kelly was but fourteen years old
but his mother she approved
go with Harry Power Ned said she
for the father you hardly knew.

Harry bailed up old Robert Mcbean
a wealthy squatter from Benalla
he stole his horse his saddle his bridle
and a gold watch that he valued.

Harry asked a mate by the name of Jack Lloyd
to act as go-between
to return the gold watch for fifteen pounds
in a deal with squatter McBean.

The Chief of Police a Captain Standish
approached this Judas Jack Lloyd
and persuaded him inform on the old bushranger
for the five hundred pound reward.

Jack Lloyd led those outlaw hunters
up the mountain spur so steep
on a starry night they found Harry’s camp
and they took him in his sleep.

Harry Power was startled but he wasn’t dismayed
he said I guess I was careless
but you boys look hungry so sit back awhile
and he cooked those coppers their breakfast.

Harry was remanded to Wangaratta
where the crowds came out and cheered
but the judge returned him to Pentridge prison
for a further fifteen years.

Harry served his time and he was released
with seven pounds to his name
he had been in prisons almost half his life
he was sixty-six years of age.

Harry’s final years were spent as a guide
on the prison hulk Success
the very same ship where he’d had once been a convict
now a museum for the tourists.

Old Harry drowned in the Murray River
while off fishing alone
the last of the Golden Bushrangers was gone
and his grave remains unknown

so gather round me children and hear my tale
sit with me for an hour
and I’ll tell you the story of the last bushranger
by the name of Harry Power.

 

(unrecorded, published in QUADRANT)