Australian Folk Songs

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Not yet the time (1954)

We swung a mighty hammer.
Our fourteen days of war;
The rock of Menzies shuddered,
We wedged his prison door.
But the clink of foreign money
Has sounded in his ear;
He signed the union warrant
Though his lips were white with fear.
"All out, and we will smash him,
All out, this is the day".
But though our hearts are burning
What does our knowledge say?

Not yet the day, not yet the time,
But every blow will speed the day.
With millions working for that time.

Our fathers fought before us
In bitter seventeen;
No honest man could stomach
The treachery they'd seen.
But the union had been handcuffed
And hunger beat them back;
Till Bloody Sunday freed them,
Gave Bloody Hal the sack.
Two years they toiled and waited
But time runs swifter now;
We'll clear our land of Menzies,
Our hand is on the plow.

Not yet the day, not yet the time,
But every blow will speed the day,
With millions working for that day.

(From 1917 to 1919 Fremantle wharfies were locked out and victimised. Although one of their members, Tom Edwards,
was killed on Bloody Sunday, May 4, 1919, the wharfies' courageous stand against armed force won victory against
Premier Colebatch and the employers.)



From the NSW Newspaper the Tribune Wed 24 Nov 1954 p. 8.

Many thanks to Sandra Nixon for alerting me to this poem. Vic Williams was a highly regarded Western Australian wharfie poet.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory