Australian Folk Songs
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Trip To The Tin Mines (1876)
Come all ye Hobartonians, come listen unto me,
To a tale that I'll relate to you which happened on the sea;
The trials and the troubles that you will undergo,
By shipping on the Robert Burns, a mining for to go.
We went down to the Robert Burns, our passage for to pay,
Five and twenty bob, my boys, to carry us to George's Bay.
On Thursday morn, at 10 o'clock, we hauled into the stream
With five and twenty lads, my boys, the finest ever seen.
A barrier 'tween the hatches, the skipper quickly made,
And forrard he did send them that had their passage paid.
We quickly set the foresail, and freely blew the wind,
And with hearts as light as feathers we left the shore behind.
But ere we reached the Pillar, it blew a fearful gale,
And many then repented that ever they set sail;
For crowded down the hatchway were five-and-twenty men,
And packed a great deal closer than sheep in any pen.
A joyful sight when the morning broke; we hailed it with delight,
For all on board that little craft had passed a fearful night.
At 8 o'clock next morning the wind it lightly blew,
But only five or six were there to eat the Irish stew.
The wind it chopped round to the north, and dead ahead did come,
We had to 'bout the ship, my boys, and for Fortescue we run;
We lay there till next morning, when we ran short of meat,
We caught some barracouta, and they were quite a treat.
We stood away for Bicheno with a light and heavy breeze,
And like some light-winged seabird our bark rode o'er the seas;
We anchored in the Bay, some cargo for to land,
Some strolled around the township, and some upon the sand.
We run down to St. Patrick's Head, and hove to for the night,
We drifted down to George's Bay next morn before daylight;
We set the jib and foresail, and stood in for the land,
But as the tide was running out we got upon the sand.
For full three hours to get her off, we, tried with might and main,
But as the tide was running out our efforts were in vain ;
Six men went to the captain, and thus to him did say,
"Captain; land us on the beach, and we'll walk on to the Bay."
The boat was brought round to the stern and it was quickly manned,
We got some ham and biscuits, and pulled in for the land ;
Farewell, farewell, to the Robert Burns, ye breezes ye can blow,
But when we go to Hobart Town, it's by the coach we'll go !
From the Tasmanian newspaper the Launceston Examiner Saturday 20 May 1876 p. 5.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory