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I’m Going Back Again to Yarrawonga

"I’ll linger longer in Yarrawonga"

Year:1919

Location:Recorded in the UK

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I’m Going Back Again to Yarrawonga

"I’ll linger longer in Yarrawonga"


Year: 1919

Length: 3:01

Credits: Songwriter: Neil McBeath / Performer: Leonard Hubbard

Source: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

Catalogue Reference: NFSA title: 402859


People: Songwriter: Neil McBeath / Performer: Leonard Hubbard

Location: Recorded in the UK

Tags: Yarrawonga, popular music

Subject: popular music


‘I’m Going Back Again to Yarrawonga’ is a jaunty tune, re-recorded many years later by Australian country singer, Slim Dusty. The protagonist, simply called ‘Digger’, is sent home after serving at Gallipoli and elsewhere. Digger extols the many virtues of his hometown, Yarrawonga, about 100km west of Albury in NSW. But at home he can’t settle in and decides to re-enlist. The song appears to be the source of the well-known Australian phrase, “I’ll linger longer in Yarrawonga”

‘I’m Going Back Again to Yarrawonga’ was written by Neil McBeath, a corporal in the AIF and a member of the Coo-ees Concert Party. The Coo-ees were established in December 1916 to provide Christmas and New Year entertainment for AIF troops, and performed along the battlelines in Europe until 1919. Originally there were six members but eventually the troupe expanded to over 30 and included an orchestra. They would often perform in village halls when the Division was resting. When the battalions mobilised the troupe followed, travelling from one battalion to another, presenting as many as six shows a day. Performances would take place in sheds, barns, stables or any type of building that could serve their purpose. Sometimes the performances would be given in the open air, simply setting up on a flat piece of ground. 

McBeath also wrote ‘My Old Bushland Home in Australia’, in France in 1917. Like ‘Yarrawonga’, it contained themes of homesickness and longing for family members.

‘I’m Going Back Again to Yarrawonga’ was arranged by Claude McGlynn and sung by Leonard Hubbard on this recording. Neil McBeath himself sung on a recording made in France.


I’m Going Back Again to Yarrawonga - lyrics

Now Digger was a soldier, and he sailed across the sea

With the first Anzac Brigade,

And Digger was a soldier as brave as one could be,

And a grand old name he's made.

From the landing at Gallipoli till the war clouds left the skies

He wandered round the Continent, a tourist in disguise,

Then after years of battling, when three parts full of lead,

The MO said, "We'll send you home"; 'twas then old Digger said,

"I'm going back again to Yarrawonga,

In Yarrawonga I'll linger longer,

I'm going back again to Yarrawonga,

Where the skies are always blue,

And when I'm back again in Yarrawonga

I'll soon be stronger than old Mahonga*.

You can have all your Tennessee and Caroline,

France and Belgium thrown in, take the whole lot for mine.

I'm going back again to Yarrawonga

And the land of the Kangaroo."

Now Digger was a soldier, so he went back home again

In the good ship Majarine,

And Digger was a soldier, he couldn't settle down,

For a dinkum Anzac he'd been.

He daily read the papers of doings at the Front,

Of all the latest victories and every blooming stunt.

One day he re-enlisted, he did without doubt,

And out in France when peace had come again they heard him shout,

"I'm going back again to Yarrawonga,

In Yarrawonga I'll linger longer,

I'm going back again to Yarrawonga,

Where the skies are always blue,

And when I'm back again in Yarrawonga

I'll soon be stronger than old Mahonga.

You can have all your Tennessee and Caroline,

France and Belgium thrown in, take the whole lot for mine.

I'm going back again to Yarrawonga

And the land of the Kangaroo."

*Mahonga was a famous Australian horse