Australian Folk Songs

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A Strike Song (1917)

Singing choruses is a new feature of strikes in Australia.
One sang in the Domain the other day is that of the English Transport Workers :--

We meet to-day in Freedom's cause,
And raise our voices high,
We'll join our hands in union strong,
To battle or to die.

Hold the fort, for we are coming,
Union men be strong ;
Side by side we battle onward,
Victory will come.

Look, my comrades, see the Union,
Banners waving high ;
Reinforcements now appearing,
Victory is nigh.

See our numbers still increasing,
Hear the bugle blow ;
By our Union we shall triumph
Over every foe.

Fierce and long the battle rages,
But we will not fear ;
Help will come whene'er its needed,
Cheer, my Comrades, cheer.


From the NSW Newspaper the Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer 14 Aug 1917 p. 2.

This song was one of a number of union songs on a sheet published distributed by the Sydney IWW at a huge General Strike demonstration in 1917. The IWW song sheet upset the NSW Government so much that it ordered a facsimile of it to be published in NSW regional newspapers. This is probably the only reason we have a copy of it today. The English Transport Workers origin of the song was cited on the IWW song sheet.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory