By a Fire of Gidgee Coal
Slim Dusty Lyrics


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By a warm electric heater and a softly padded chair
In a loungeroom brightly lighted by a glowing chandelier
Since my early days of drovin' the years have taken toll
But I somehow miss my swag wrap by a fire of Gidgee coal
When I wake from sleep each morning and I ring the bedside bell
The maid brings in my breakfast and she fills my pipe as well
There are cakes and sweetened coffee on a tray of sparkling gold
But I miss black tea and damper by a fire of Gidgee coal
I am driven' out each evening by a chauffer spruce and neat
Through the flowered parks and gardens and the crowded city streets
But I drift back through the ages while the big car softly rolls
To a stock route and a wagonette and a fire of Gidgee coal
I attend all social parties in the rich parts of the town
Drinking wine from fancy glasses as the waiters go their rounds
But I'd rather share a bottle with those drovin' mates of old




In a pair of dusty moleskins by a fire of Gidgee coal
In a pair of dusty moleskins by a fire of Gidgee coal

Overall Meaning

The lyrics to Slim Dusty's "By a Fire of Gidgee Coal" tell the story of a man who has lived a long and prosperous life, but still longs for the simplicity of his days as a drover. The comforts of his current life, including a warm electric heater and padded chair, and having his breakfast brought to him each morning, are no match for the memories of his younger, wilder days.


The song speaks to the universal experience of aging – the desire for the familiar, regardless of the luxuries that surround us. Despite being driven around by a chauffer and attending fancy social events, the singer still sees himself as a drover, longing for black tea and damper by a fire of Gidgee coal with his old friends.


The final line of the song serves as a nostalgic, wistful refrain that brings the story full circle. The singer would rather be sitting in dusty old moleskins by a fire of Gidgee coal than living in his current world of luxury and ease.


Line by Line Meaning

By a warm electric heater and a softly padded chair
In a comfortable, modern setting with all the amenities one could ask for


In a loungeroom brightly lighted by a glowing chandelier
In a well-lit room with all the modern necessities


Since my early days of drovin' the years have taken toll
As time has passed, my youth has faded and my body has weakened


But I somehow miss my swag wrap by a fire of Gidgee coal
Despite the comforts of modern life, I still long for the simple pleasures of the past


When I wake from sleep each morning and I ring the bedside bell
In my current life, I have servants who cater to my every need


The maid brings in my breakfast and she fills my pipe as well
My hired help takes care of all my basic needs


There are cakes and sweetened coffee on a tray of sparkling gold
My meals are extravagant and fit for a king


But I miss black tea and damper by a fire of Gidgee coal
Despite the opulence, I long for the simple meals I once enjoyed in my youth


I am driven' out each evening by a chauffer spruce and neat
I have access to private transportation and can be driven anywhere I want


Through the flowered parks and gardens and the crowded city streets
I am free to explore the city and all its beauty


But I drift back through the ages while the big car softly rolls
Despite the luxury, my mind often wanders back to the past


To a stock route and a wagonette and a fire of Gidgee coal
I long for a simpler time when life was more rugged and rural


I attend all social parties in the rich parts of the town
I am invited to the most exclusive parties and events


Drinking wine from fancy glasses as the waiters go their rounds
I indulge in the finest foods and drinks at these events


But I'd rather share a bottle with those drovin' mates of old
Despite the high society, I long for the companionship of my old friends


In a pair of dusty moleskins by a fire of Gidgee coal
I would trade all the luxury in the world for a simple evening spent with good friends around a fire of Gidgee coal




Contributed by Jayden G. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

@r-notts3472

Lyrics
By a warm electric heater and a softly padded chair
In a loungeroom brightly lighted by a glowing chandelier
Since my early days of drovin' the years have taken toll
But I somehow miss my swag wrap by a fire of Gidgee coal
When I wake from sleep each morning and I ring the bedside bell
The maid brings in my breakfast and she fills my pipe as well
There are cakes and sweetened coffee on a tray of sparkling gold
But I miss black tea and damper by a fire of Gidgee coal
I am driven' out each evening by a chauffer spruce and neat
Through the flowered parks and gardens and the crowded city streets
But I drift back through the ages while the big car softly rolls
To a stock route and a wagonette and a fire of Gidgee coal
I attend all social parties in the rich parts of the town
Drinking wine from fancy glasses as the waiters go their rounds
But I'd rather share a bottle with those drovin' mates of old
In a pair of dusty moleskins by a fire of Gidgee coal
In a pair of dusty moleskins by a fire of Gidgee coal



All comments from YouTube:

@luvagoodsongyeah

I was at Granville RSL in 1974 and Slim was a spectator at a show there. I had more than my share of amber fluid and I went up and asked him if he would sing By A Fire Of Gidgee Coal. He explained that he wasn't working and couldn't do it but thanked me for being a fan of his. In 1993 I was introduced to Slim by Reg Lindsay at Rooty Hill RSL and I told Slim of that occasion and he said that he remembered that day. I thought, he has to be having me on. I said; Slim, did I make that big a fool of myself did I? He replied, no John it wasn't that. I remember how disappointed you were when I told you I couldn't sing it for you and I never like disappointing my fans. I thought right there and then what a genuine man and champion of Australia he is. I was honoured to meet the great man a dozen times or so after that and just couldn't help but admire the man so much, even more, every time I met him. There will never be anyone like Slim Dusty rooting for Australia again, what a great loss. RIP Slim ol' mate

@glendooer6211

You can tell he is genuine by his songs.

@charlesbowen7009

Born in the south eastern part of North Dakota I never heard of Slim Dusty. I grew up on Hank Williams, Roy Acuff, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and all the American Bluegrass, Folk and Country music performers. I found Slim Dusty a couple Days ago when I was searching for Waltzing Matilda. I have been listening to him non stop since.

@davidbowen6544

Hi Charles,
Good comments. I have listened to all those singers you mentioned for decades going back to the 60s and Slim is still one of my favourites and typically country Australian. Gidgee is a tree that is termite resistant in Australia. Keep well.

@thomascollard765

Grew up listening too slim dusty music true blue Australian legend 💙 R.I.P

@paulherring2434

I think this is the best song Slim ever did. It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it because I can relate to it so much. Sadly missed is Slim Dusty.

@geemongo6217

True, brings tears tearts to me eyes too... stock camps in the 1980s...

@amycreighton1705

Reminds me of my Dad and my childhood Fair dinkum I miss those days The droving days where the best

@pittycross

Can't understand why there are so few people listening/looking here. Guess the old days don't do it for the younger generation. Perhaps in the same way I preferred his songs about the old days in camps etc rather than his new stuff.

@rayconnolly2728

not enough younguns going jackarooing or working stock camps any more. No memories to stir

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