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United We Stand -- Divided We Fall (1891)

To every brother worker
I say now hold your own !
For the squatter's trying every means
To break our unions down.
Keep true to one another ;
Stand firm, now, one and all.
United we are sure to win,
Divided we will fall.

In days gone by we made mistakes
In rashness and in haste,
Although we were defeated then
We never were disgraced.
Though traitors may betray
And sneaks may cringe and crawl,
Unite and we're victorious--
Divide and we will fall.

There's some of the employers
Who with our cause take part,
While others, as their actions prove,
Are tyrants in their heart ;
Their creed to crush the workers
And drive us to the wall.
Unite and we are bound to win--
Divide and we will fall.

Although we are but sons of toil,
And not the favoured few,
We now will show what willing hands
And honest hearts can do.
Although we work with shear and pick,
With shovel and with mall,
United my friends, and we will win--
Divide and we will fall.

They talk about free labour,
And say they can get men,
But let them try that little game
And see what happens then.
Their talk is idle bombast ;
So let them shout and bawl.
Stand firm, true, and united,
No danger that we fall.

O. M., Barcaldine.


From the Brisbane newspaper the Worker Saturday 7 February 1891, p. 6.

This poem was published as the 1891 Shearer's Strike was looming. Some 30 such lyrics were published in the Worker between December 1890 and December 1891.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory