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Bound For South Australia is a sea shanty from Here Comes A Song.

Origins

Information on the age, spread, and practical use of the shanty is relatively sparse. However, the evidence at hand does not suggest there is anything particularly or locally "Australian" about the song, contrary to how it has become popularly envisioned since the late 20th century.

It was first noted by sea music author L.A. Smith, who collected it "from a coloured seaman at the [Sailors'] 'Home'" in London and published it in her 1888 collection, The Music of the Waters.

In the 1930s or 1940s, at Sailors' Snug Harbor, New York, shanty collector William Main Doerflinger recorded veteran sailor William Laurie of Greenock Scotland, who began a career in sailing ships in the late 1870s. The one verse sung by Laurie was published, with tune, in Doerflinger's 1951 book.

The shanty is not mentioned again until the 1900s (decade). Patterson (1900) mentions a heaving chanty titled "Bound to Western Australia," and the veteran African-American sailor James H. Williams mentioned the song in a 1909 article.

This shanty is not attested in writing again until Lydia Parrish's study of the music tradition of Georgia Sea Islanders, published in 1942.

In 1946, J.T. Hatfield shared his recollections of a much earlier, 1886 voyage as a passenger traveling from Pensacola to Nice. During this voyage, Hatfield had noted the shanties sung by the crew, who were all Black men from Jamaica. This version, which includes both tune and text, includes the unusual phrase, "Hooray! You're a lanky!", which may have been a mishearing by Hatfield.

Another remembered version comes in F.P. Harlow's Chanteying Aboard American Ships (1962), in which the author recalls shanties sung aboard the ship Akbar on a trip from Massachusetts to Melbourne, Australia in 1876. A crew mate "Dave" is said to have taught this to the crew while pumping at the windlass. As no references to the song put it any earlier than the mid-1870s, it may well be that the song was new at the time.

Production

Greg sings and plays the acoustic guitar, Anthony provides additional vocals and plays the tin whistle and bauldron, Murray plays the bass guitar, and Jeff plays the accordion.

Song Credits

Musicians

  • Lead Vocals - Greg Page
  • Additional Vocals - Anthony Field
  • Bass Guitar - Murray Cook
  • Acoustic Guitar - Greg Page
  • Accordion - Jeff Fatt
  • Tin Whistle/Bauldron - Anthony Field

Listen

15 Bound for South Australia

Song Lyrics

Greg: In South Australia I was born
Heave away, haul away
South Australia round Cape Horn
Bound for South Australia

Haul away, you rolling king
Heave away, haul away
Haul away, oh hear me sing
Bound for South Australia

Anthony: There's just one thing that grieves my mind
Heave away, haul away
To leave me box of toys behind
Bound for South Australia

Greg: Haul away, you rolling king
Heave away, haul away
Haul away, oh hear me sing
Bound for South Australia

The wind was cold, the rain was wet
Heave away, haul away
That wavy trip I won't forget
Bound for South Australia

Haul away, you rolling king
Heave away, haul away
Haul away, oh hear me sing
Bound for South Australia

Anthony: I jumped right up, I jumped right down
Heave away, haul away
I jumped all around that crazy town
Bound for South Australia

Greg: Haul away, you rolling king
Heave away, haul away
Haul away, oh hear me sing
Bound for South Australia

Album Appearances

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