Australian Folk Songs
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 Old Palmer Song

The wind is fair and free, my boys, the wind is fair and free
The steamer's course is north, my boys, and the Palmer we will see
The Palmer we will see, my boys, and Cooktown's muddy shore
Where I've been told there's lots of gold, so stay down south no more

So, blow ye winds, heigho
A-digging we will go
I'll stay no more down south, my boys
So let the music play
In spite of what I'm told
I'm off in search of gold
I'll make a push for that new rush
A thousand miles away

They say the blacks are troublesome, and spear both horse and man
The rivers are all wide and deep, no bridges them do span
No bridges them do span, my boys, and so you'll have to swim
But never fear the yarns you hear, and gold you're sure to win

So let us make a move, my boys, for that new promised land
And do the best we can, my boys, to lend a helping hand
To lend a helping hand, my boys, where the soil is rich and new
In spite of the blacks and unknown tracks, we'll show what we can do


Tune 'Ten Thousand Miles Away'. The Palmer River gold rush began in 1873. A version appeared in the Native Companion Songster in 1889. The goldfields on the Palmer River were nearly 100 miles from Cooktown, and the gold seekers met with fierce resistance from the Aborigines whose tribal land they were travelling through.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory