Lost Children's Nursery Rhyme


In the Year of Children's Safety 2017 we put out a request for anyone knowing the words and music sung by children as nursery rhyme about lost Babes in the Woods. Although not our Lost Children their story triggered memories from the Old Country


Thank you so much Jennifer for taking such an interest in our search. Jen googled a search and came up with not only the words to the nursery rhyme but also it being sung on YouTube. The words are from an earlier time in the Old Country so the seasons are opposite and references to certain birds and their habits pinpoint the country but the age of the song definitely puts it in the 19th century or earlier. We put the word out for the search because Margaret has a 99 year old aunt who remembered a slightly different version of the song and that it had been sung to her by her mother which made the timing approximately right for when the Lost Children of Daylesford went missing and sadly found in the spring of 1867 in the hollow of the tree. Tragedies such as this were common in Pioneer Australia and often it only takes a word or a hint of a tune to have us remember. Margaret can now go back to her aunt with the nursery rhyme and it might unlock other memories of her mother and the reason why this song came to be sung. Did Margaret's grandmother hear of the Daylesford Lost Children  from her mother and learn the changed words of the original nursery rhyme from this source and were her parents involved in the actual search. This family settled in the area in 1864 and the disappearance happened three years later so this theory is quite fesable. And if so was/is an eyewitness account there hidden among the family history records?

Looking to the words that Margaret's aunt remembers of this Babes in the Wood nursery rhyme the words seem to have been changed to suit the situation. What Margaret got from her aunt was:

It was winter you know such a long time ago, the poor little children were lost in the snow. Babes in the wood they were so very good, Poor little children lost/died in the wood.

Looks like a variation to suit the time of the Lost Children of Daylesford

This is our next call out- for anyone whose ancestory goes back to living in and around the township of Daylesford or any of the thriving Hamlets connected who have first hand accounts either in diaries, letters, photos, word of mouth storytelling of being involved in or witness to the search for the children; or in the spring when the Inquest was held at Philip's Farmer's Arms or watched or took part in the grand funeral through the streets arranged especially for those who wanted to say their goodbyes, to come to terms with not being able to save the boys from their fate, and so move on. This forward thinking arrangement to help the people overcome their grief didn't work for all and much happened to many of them. Many moved away, some never quite forgot, some made sure that their children and their generations to come learnt how to respect the bush for its beauty as well as its fickleness. Some though may have written their experiences down and these are the ones we are looking for. It is time for some to at last face their demons, to know that all that could be done was. This year, the 150th year of the Lost Children, is the chance to put the spirits to rest and move on. We should now look to the present and future of our children today and know that what we do to give our children confidence and knowledge regarding situations they find themselves in is the best we can do. 

In the Year of Children's Safety we hope the Lost Children's story will not be just about three boys getting lost in the bush and then dying but to hopefully change the story into a positive story for children. Saying instead 'If you were lost in the bush what survival lessons have you learnt that will bring you safely home' It really doesn't matter if it is for bush safety or for any other situation our children find themselves in. Our children need to be given positive hands on training, no matter the age, to instinctively know the best thing to do in a situation outside of their normal environment. Many suggestions have been put forward regarding things such as basic First Aid in primary schools, compulsory swimming techniques and what I am suggesting learning bush craft and skills but it has to be more than just suggestions and talk. Children learn from hands on experience and confidence in their ability in any situation. We must give them that confidence rather than frighten them into bad reactions to even simple things.


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Last updated: 20/03/2017


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