Wednesday 4 August 2021

Screenshots from the 8th John Dengate Memorial Zoom Get together, August 2021

Click images for larger size.

2020 Zoom concert -  
Screenshots from the 7th John Dengate Memorial Zoom Get together, August 2020
ZOOM video - 7th Annual John Dengate Memorial Get together

You can now watch the full video of the 2021 ZOOM on YouTube via this link:

Dale, Lachlan, Sean and Family were amazed and delighted that so many gave generously of their time and talents to share time recalling John’s songs, verse and sentiments. In spite of the technology which gave us a virtual link but was not as clear as when we could all get together, it was still a special afternoon thanks to Leyne and Max Elbourne. It is so good to hear so many who continue the traditions of Australia and political satire. Stay safe and hope we can meet, one way or the other, in a year’s time.


81 of John's friends & fans gathered to sing, listen, chat & reminisce.

Thanks to Leyne for all her work & for the Videos & Lyrics - including 2 contributions omitted on the day - video of Peter Hicks’ and Geoff Francis’ Tribute to Peter Dutton & audio of No Such Thing’s Sir Terence Lewis’s Triumphal March To The Gates Of Boggo Road Jail - Queensland My Home - “It was composed by one of our group who was a serving police officer in Queensland at the time of the infamous Bjelke-Petersen government and the subsequent Fitzgerald inquiry to uncover the rampant corruption. Our police associate had the pleasure of locking up his boss who was then the police commissioner at the time. Knowing John’s talent and political views for some great parody songs, I think that could be something suitable.” (Yvonne O'Grady, NST)

1. MC Leyne Elbourne

2. Virago, Di Griffiths & Kath Morgan from Dubbo, sang John's Bare Legged Kate
3. Peter Russell sang John's Take Your Bulldozers Away

4. Chloe & Jason Roweth sang John's Bill from Erskineville

5. MC Rex Havoc recited Henry Lawson's One Hundred
and Three
, & also a poem of John's about Great Leaders!

6. Comrade Sir Big Russ with a parody Mug. He also
contributed some of his incomparable limericks
7. Illawarra Folk Festival Parody award
8. Dale Dengate, in a dark room, recited 2 of her poems
A Parody Mug Mystery & Scomo Scares me, this I know

9. Sean Dengate sang his The Things I shouldn't have said to China & Mandy recited Easter 1916 by William Butler Yates

10. Cal Dengate played California Dreaming

11. Colleen Burke recited her poems 
The Missing Link What's For dinner?

12. Evan Mathieson sang John's Queensland Policeman
13. Robin Connaughton recited his poem
The Brick & the Old Trout

14. John Warner singing Ecclesiastical Bastards, about
Bishop & Abbott leaving politics, to the tune of Dinki Di.
  Ten Quid Poms also sung John's Bill from Erskineville

15. Chris Maltby sang his latest parody, Pork Barrel
Song (
tune Travelling down the Castlereagh) lyrics

16. Margaret Bradford sang John's 
Train Trip to Guilford

17.  John Tubridy sang his 2019 Illawrra Dengate
Parody winner, Banking Royal Commission

18.  Margaret Walters sang Down in Abercrombie  Street,
a song she & John Warner wrote for Len Neary's 50th Birthday  lyrics

19. Megan Roweth recited John's No Political Songs.

20.  Seamus Gill sang Bill Scott's  Hey, Rain

21. Kate Scott played several strathspeys

22. Gene Smith sang Morton Bay & Tony also played
Moreton Bay/ Boulavogue, a good rebel tune 

23. Doug Jenner sang John's  True Dinkum Aussie

24. Kerith Power sang her 1980's composition
Dungarubba Prawn Night

25. Allan Wright sang John's Anti-Metrics

26. Margaret Fagan sang John's Song of Childhood

27. Joanna Roweth recited Twinkle, Twinkle Little Cow 

28. Daniel Kelly sang his latest composition, inspired by a 
recent space flight - When you Ride the Giant Penis in the Sky 
lyrics (to the tune of She'll be comin' round the mountain)
29. Songwriters Chris Maltby & Cathy Rytmeister
enjoying the songs

30. Jane Scott sang her winner, Slaving on a Sunday
(tune Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon lyrics

31. Lachlan Dengate sang Song for Tilly, a parody
of 500 miles, a song about a dog, watched by a dog

32. Bruce Watson sang Barnaby Joyce, to the tune of
Chattaanooga Choo Choo  lyrics 

33. Chris Clarke, disliking rap as much as he dislikes
 Trump, rapped Take the Rap, a poem about Trump - lyrics

34. Neil Rowsell sang The Covid Cruise (to the tune of Ocean Liner lyrics

Tuesday 3 August 2021

2 previously unpublished songs written by a convict on Norfolk Island

These songs are on Don's CD The Convict Voice, details here  

Two previously unpublished songs written by a convict on Norfolk Island and copied into the diary of a constable in 1846.

to the tune of Liverpool Judies (verse only.)

Article copyright Don Brian.

The Cooking Pot Riot

As that sun in the morn on the 1st of July
It rose in its splendour with man to comply
And the dark shores of Norfolk it seemed to look sad
As the grass on its hills were all withered and dead

The bells even seemed for to give a dead knell
As if summonsing tyrants to heaven or hell
Convicts rose from their beds for revenge to prepare
And the clergy remarked they seemed in despair

They walked to their mess room, poor creatures they gazed
All seemed in silence and all quite amazed
Wm Westwood broke silence, those words he did say
Let’s go for our pots men, without more delay

The pots were retaken and each man returned
The blood in their veins it seemed to be warmed
Poor Jackey he said what say if we pay
The debts of Ash Wednesday on the 1st of July

Each man manned their weapons the conflict began
And the blood of those tyrants were soon made to run
They called loud for mercy O mercy they cried
No, no, was the answer you have mercy denied

Smith and Morris were left laying dead in their gore
And at the lime kiln was two wretches more
There was wretches escaped for they could not be found
And some that were beat lay in pain on the ground

Now to Barrow the screw come let us go quick
And to this base tyrant we will soon play a trick
For his brains we will bash them clean out of his head
And his own wife will kneel and thank God that he’s dead

Now the news of the murders round the island did ring
And the soldiers to arms they soon did them bring
There was Boland and Lawler and Pickford also
They agreed for to hang all of them they did know

Thirteen in number they died on a tree
And the names I’ll endeavour to tell them to thee
There was Davis and Pendergrass, Cairns the lad
Cavanagh and Pearson, God bless them they’re dead

Brown and Scrimshaw, Maquire as well (Ed. McGuiness)
God bless them I hope in heaven they dwell
Young Whiting and Kenyon you may him well know
I hope that our saviour has called them from woe

There’s Kummusky and Pickthorn they made the thirteen
That ended the last of this tragical scene
Death they feared it not, that bad it come soon
For they knew that their saviour would grant them a boon

Side by side in one grave poor creature they lay
Not a stone marks the spot but a manchineel tree
And the boatswain and swallow oft visits the grave
It screeches and flies to its solitary cave

The song was titled “A song composed by the prisoners at Norfolk Island, relative to the 1st of July 1846”. It comes from the James Stevens Diary Transcript 12 May 1846, p21-22 at the Norfolk Island Museum (NIM 7128), copied by Don Brian in 2016
William Westwood was also known as Jacky Jacky the gentleman bushranger
The hanged convicts were buried in ‘Murderers Mound’ outside the cemetery at Kingston NI.

The Manchineel tree is misidentified. It is a tree known locally as a Melky tree (Excoecaria agallocha). Both were toxic and irritant to touch.
Barrow was an unpopular stipendiary magistrate removed from NI for his own safety just before the Cooking Pot Riot in July 1846
Stevens was constable at NI and became chief constable on drowning of Baldock 1848.

(Photo Sandra Nixon)

Barrow’s Tour of Hell

Barrow was a (screw) of low renown
Many is the prisoner he’s cut down
He neither fights for honour nor renown,
He fights for colonial wages

The morning this affray took place
This tyrant wouldn’t show his face
Until the soldiers did arrive
But then this coward crept behind.

As soon as ever Barrow dies
At hell’s gate he will arrive
Come in, come in the devils will all cry
And surround him with blazes.

A fiery helmet on his head they’ll place
A burning sash around his waist
The cats and triangles on his back they’ll place
To keep him in fighting order

Oh says Barrow if a prisoner should come
With a drop of water to cool my tongue
To him I’d own if I’ve done great wrong
And perhaps he would relieve me

Says Beelzebub,” How can you tell
That ever a prisoner entered hell
It was for the kettles those men fell
And Heaven shall be their portion

Then they shoved him in a fiery din
Along with the rest of those tyrant men
And there his soul it will burn right well
On the hot flags of damnation

With grease and tar they’ll oil him well
To give him a write good tyrant smell
And there his soul it will burn in hell
It’s a song called prisoners glory

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Monday 2 August 2021

2 ballads collected by Don Brian

A couple of old English songs recorded in Australia and not previously published. Collected by Don Brian.

Article copyright Don Brian.

These songs were collected from Stanley Cullen. They were recorded in 1959 by his sons Mout and Pat and more recently copied from tape in possession of Pat’s son Peter Cullen.

He learnt them 65 years earlier on his father’s property, from an employee, a ticket of leave man. (about 1894)

The Green Mossy Banks of the Lee - Stanley Cullen 1959

One May morn as I carelessly rambled
Way down by a sweet pearly stream
Its there I espied a fair creature
Some goddess appearing to be.
As she rose in the reeds of the waters
On the green mossy banks of the Lea
As she rose in the reeds of the waters
On the green mossy banks of the Lea

I stepped up and bid her good morning
Her fair cheeks they blush like a rose.
(I see your) green meadows are charming
Your guardian I’ll be if you choose

Kind Sir, Oh I don’t want a guardian
Kind Sir, you’re a stranger to me
For yonder’s my father a’coming
On the green mossy banks of the Lea
For yonder’s my father a’coming
On the green mossy banks of the Lea

I waited till up came her father
Summoned my courage once more
Say aye that this may be your daughter
This beautiful maid I adore

Ten thousand a year be her fortune
And a lady your daughter will be
She’ll ride in a chariot and horses
On the green mossy banks of the Lea

So they welcomed her home to the cottage
In wedlock next day they were bound
And now they live happy together
In splendour and (luxury found)……

So come all you pretty fair maidens
And a warning take by me
By flattery let no one persuade you
Except those that’s got lots property

Similar versions are to be found in West Midlands songs in the George Butterworth manuscripts

and in:

Ballads and Sea Songs from Nova Scotia, Mackenzie, 1963.

More Irish Street Ballads, O'Lochlainn, 1960.

American Balladry from British Broadsides G Malcolm Laws 1957


The Briar and the Rose
(Mother, mother, make my bed) as sung by Stanley Cullen 1959

Oh where, oh where is the little fat (foot?) boy
That was my sister’s joy
Let him go and tell my lord that his true love lies a dying
And will die before he can come

Now the first three miles this little boy walked
And the next three miles he ran
He ran till he came to a broad river side
Then he bent his back and he swam

He swam till he came to the other side
And he took to his heels and he ran
He ran till he came to a nobleman’s hall
Where they all seated down to a meal (meat?)

If you knew what news I have brought
Not one more bite would you eat

What news have you brought for me my boy,
What news have you brought (my son) for me1
I’ve come to tell you that your true love lies a dying
And will die before you can come.

Saddle up, saddle up my dark bay horse
And bridle him up so neat
That I may kiss those cherry cold lips
That once to me were so sweet

It was when riding o’er those hills
At twelve o’clock in the night
It was there he met four jovial men
And the corpse was shining bright

Set her down, set her down my jovial men
Set her down upon her feet
That I may kiss those cherry cold lips
That once to me were so sweet

Now this lady she died of grief
And me Lord he died of sorrow
Out of my ladies grave there grew a White rose4
And out of the Lords a sweet briar

Now the briar it grew to such a height
It grew till it couldn’t grow any higher
It doubled and it trebled and it tied a true loves knot
And the rose grew around the sweet briar.

Folklorists may see here a number of features of Child ballads and a type of song not commonly found in the canon of Australian collected folk-song.


In 2009 Alan Musgrove & His Watsaname Band recorded both of these songs on Behind the Times, available from Trad and Now

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