Kookaburra Sitting in the Old Gum Tree

Australia Photo ~

Kookaburra

This Kookaburra flew ahead of me as I walked through the shady glady gum tree woodland this week.

Image: Kookaburra

“Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Eating all the gum drops he can see.
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
Gay your life must be!”

Image: Kookaburra

“Kookaburra sits on the electric wire,
Jumping up and down, with his pants on fire.
Ouch, Kookaburra, ouch! Kookaburra,
Hot your tail must be!”

This Australian children’s nursery rhyme was written by Marion Sinclair (1895 – 1988), in 1932.

It was an entry in a Girl Guides competition to create a ’round’ and after being launched at a Girl’s Guide Jamboree in 1934 has become an Australian classic.

I’ve been to a few school concerts and enjoyed it.

Do you remember singing it?

Editor’s Note: Here are the 3 most common verses:

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be!

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Eating all the gum drops he can see.
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
Save some there for me!

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Counting all the monkeys he can see.
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
That’s not a monkey, that’s me!

And some of the alternative verses sung:

Kookaburra sits on the electric wire,
Jumping up and down, with his pants on fire.
Ouch, Kookaburra, ouch! Kookaburra,
Hot your tail must be!

Kookaburra sits on a rusty nail,
Gets a boo-boo in his tail.
Cry, Kookaburra, cry, Kookaburra,
Oh how life can be!

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Eating all the gum drops he can see.
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
Gay your life must be!

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7 thoughts on “Kookaburra Sitting in the Old Gum Tree

  1. We recently bought our 5-year-old grand-daughter a ukele and a book and CD of songs to learn. She chose ‘Kookaburra’ as the first one to learn (a very simple arrangement). Needless to say, we heard it many, many times.
    But it’s a delightful little song that’s a fun part of my singing memories

    • It’s a catchy tune though isn’t it?
      One of those ones that once you’ve heard it, it tends to go round and round ~ which I guess was as the song was intended 😉

    • There are a few other verses too, but it’s the first and that alternative verse, which my children seemed to think were the funniest and so were repeated repeatedly 😉

      For interest, I’ve just added a few of the other verses that are sung.

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  3. Hi Linda,

    Great pics of the Kookaburra! I’m so jealous of you with all the wonderful wildlife you experience there on a daily basis.

    I sang that song a gazillion times in Girl Scouts and at summer camp. Back then, it was merely a song, but when I finally experienced a Kookaburra in Mission Beach there in Australia, everything came full circle. The bird was sitting atop the hotel sign when Conrad and I got out of our car. Conrad proceeded inside to check in and I stayed out to watch the little guy. I was then serenaded by his amazing call, or laughing. I was riveted as he carried on for a good minute or two before flying off. It was really wonderful!

    I enjoy your posts!
    Josie
    Josie recently posted..One Guaranteed Tip to Win the House Sitting Assignments You WantMy Profile

    • Hi Josie ~
      I’m so happy a Kookaburra greeted you at your Mission Beach hotel ~
      I agree, their laugh can’t help but bring a smile to your face!
      In fact, they’re highly territorial so at certain times of the year you hear them laughing in family groups affirming their claim to ‘this patch’.

      I’m also very happy to hear you enjoy my posts – Thank you 😀
      Linda

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