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South Australia

Lyrics

Like most shanties of this type, “South Australia” was sung to a flexible combination of customary verses, floating verses from within the general chanty repertoire, and verses improvised in the moment or particular to individual singers. The song was of indefinite length, and created by supplying solo verses to a two-part refrain followed by a grand chorus. The following is a sample.

(solo) Oh South Australia’s my native home
(chorus) Heave away! Heave away!
(solo) Oh South Australia’s my native home
(chorus) We’re bound for South Australia.
Heave away, heave away
Oh heave away, you ruler king,
We’re bound for South Australia

Solo verse couplets documented to have been sung to “South Australia” include the following from sailors of the 19th century.

I see my wife standing on the quay
The tears do start as she waves to me.

I’ll tell you the truth and I’ll tell you no lie;
If I don’t love that girl I hope I may die.

And now I’m bound for a foreign strand,
With a bottle of whisky in my hand.

I’ll drink a glass to the foreign shore
And one to the girl that I adore.[1]

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July 31, 2014 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment


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