National Library of Australia



Access conditions: Varied

Rob Willis worked closely for a number of years with the late John Meredith in field recording trips in New South Wales, and has also carried out recordings for the National Library's Bringing Them Home Oral History Project between 1998 and 2002. He has recorded extensively in New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland, together with his wife Olya Willis who has photographed many interviewees.

Selected excerpt from this collection

Some children's taunts and rhymes are less than polite, but in most cases they are sending up the customs of the adult world. The Smith sisters provide some rhymes 'just for fun', and some counting-out rhymes:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Garbage is smelly
And so are you.

Made you look
You dirty chook
Hanging on
A butcher's hook

Made you stare
You teddy bear.

There's a bear in there
In an electric chair
People with AIDS
And hand grenades
Open wide
Commit suicide
It's Playschool.
[parody of ABC-TV 'Playschool' program theme song]

Can't cope
Don't mope
There's hope
Smoke dope.

There's a party on the hill
Would you like to come?
Then bring a bottle of rum
Can't afford it.
Then get lost.

It dip dog shit
You are not it.

Miss Piggy fell down the sink
How many gallons did she drink?
[Give number.]

Children's folklore items found in this collection

TRC 2608/14. View record

Hans Hoffman. Children's songs.

TRC 2608/16. View record

Tom Bobbin and Carrie Milliner - children's song. Recorded in Nerthercote, New South Wales, in 1993.

TRC 3388/143. View record

Leonie Pheeney, recorded 1998. Reminiscences of childhood games in Mallacoota, Victoria.
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