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Codfish Shanty

Melbourne girls, they have no combs
Heave away, heave away
They comb their hair with cod-fish bones
And we're bound for Australia

Heave away, my bully bully boys, heave away, heave away
Heave away, why don't you make a noise
And we're bound for Australia

Melbourne boys, they have no sleds
Heave away, heave away
They slide downhill on cod-fish heads
And we're bound for Australia

Liza Lee, she promised me
Heave away, Heave away
When I return she'll marry me
And we're bound for Australia


In his notes for this song in Tradition (Oct 1966) Edgar Waters writes "Versions of this shanty are not uncommon in print, but they are mostly to be found in rather recent, popular books for singers. The shanty is found only rarely in the works which are reliable records of collecting from sailors at first hand".

In Feb 2001 I received an additional verse by email from Rich Gough who writes
"25 years ago I learned it in Boy Scouts from a scout master who fought in Korea, I suspect he picked it up from someone there"

Australian ships, they have no sails
heave away, heave away
They sail their ships with codfish tails
We are bound for Australia


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory