Tar and Feathers

Tar and Feathers  (1889) 
by Banjo Paterson

Oh! the circus swooped down
On the Narrabri town,
For the Narrabri populace moneyed are;
And the showman he smiled
At the folk he beguiled
To come all the distance from Gunnedah.

But a juvenile smart,
Who objected to "part",
Went in on the nod, and to do it he
Crawled in through a crack
In the tent at the back,
For the boy had no slight ingenuity.

And says he with a grin,
"That's the way to get in;
But I reckon I'd better be quiet or
They'll spiflicate me,"
And he chuckled, for he
Had the loan of the circus proprietor.

But the showman astute
On that wily galoot
Soon dropped -- you'll be thinking he leathered him --
Not he; with a grim
Sort of humourous whim,
He took him and tarred him and feathered him.

Says he, "You can go
Round the world with a show,
And knock every Injun and Arab wry;
With your name and your trade
On the posters displayed,
The feathered what-is-it from Narrabri.

Next day for his freak
By a Narrabri Beak,
He was jawed with a deal of verbosity;
For his only appeal
Was "professional zeal" --
He wanted another monstrosity.

Said his Worship, "Begob!
You are fined forty bob,
And six shillin's costs to the clurk!" he says.
And the Narrabri joy,
Half bird and half boy.
Has a "down" on himself and on circuses.

This work is in the public domain in Australia because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired. According to Australian Copyright Council - Duration of Copyright, the following works are public domain:

  • published non-government works whose author died before January 1, 1955,
  • anonymous or pseudonymous works and photographs published before January 1, 1955, and
  • government works published more than 50 years ago (before January 1, 1972).

This work is also in the public domain in the United States because it was first published outside the United States (and not published in the U.S. within 30 days), and it was first published before 1989 without complying with U.S. copyright formalities (renewal and/or copyright notice) and it was in the public domain in Australia on the URAA date (January 1, 1996). This is the combined effect of Australia having joined the Berne Convention in 1928, and of 17 USC 104A with its critical date of January 1, 1996.

Because the Australian copyright term in 1996 was 50 years, the critical date for copyright in the United States under the URAA is January 1, 1946.


This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.