Spotlight: Captain Thunderbolt by Slim Dusty

When we think of bush ballads and Australian folk songs, there’s really only two voices that jump to mind: John Williamson and Slim Dusty. Here, Slim sings about Captain Thunderbolt painting a colourful portrait of the bandit by contrasting him and his exploits with the land itself, concentrating on his lookout – Thunderbolt’s Rocks.

uralla-thunderbolts-rock

Captain Thunderbolt

West of Uralla in wild mountain ranges,
Where frost devils swaddle the landscape in white
Where long grasses wilt in the cold autumn changes,
And woodfires at evening in homesteads burn bright

Where sunrise breaks red like a wound that is bleeding,
The hills of New England lie misty and dim
By the highway where modern day vehicles are speeding,
Thunderbolts lookout rears rugged and grim

Bushranger bold like a hawk in its eyrie,
Scanning the road for the mounted pursuit
Cynically watching for police tired and weary,
Seeking the mail coach in search of its loot
Plundering while baffled the troopers debated,
Easily evading the ambush they lay
Swift to the cave where the dark woman waited,

Where sunrise breaks red like a wound that is bleeding,
The hills lie all misty and dim
By the highway where modern day vehicles are speeding,
Thunderbolt’s lookout rears rugged and grim

Was he a brave hero or scoundrel defiant?,
Taking and heeding the pathway to crime
Kneeling to know God or Devil suppliant,
Shot like a dog in the waterhole slime
Only a name now for history’s researchers,
Living forever in legend and tales
Bushman still claim on the old lookout perches,
Thunderbolts ghost as the evening grows pale

Where sunrise breaks red like a wound that is bleeding,
The hills lie all misty and dim
By the highway where modern day vehicles are speeding,
Thunderbolt’s lookout rears rugged and grim

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