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Stewie Mudcat Australia/NZ Songbook (1001* d) RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia 14 Oct 20

A song from 'Pilbara Connection' relating to an even darker side of the horrendous ill-treatment of Aboriginal people. Editor's note:

Early Western Australian history tells us of slave trading. Aboriginal women out collecting mai (food) were captured by the two Shay Brothers and sold to fishermen at the port of Broome.


Here's another lubra, Bill
Just push her down the back
Our cart is full of native girls
And who cares if they're black
We've earned some gold this side of Broome
Then brought it to the port
Let's hope this load brings fifty pounds
And none of us gets caught

It's stinking hot around these hills
Those bucks might miss these here
I'd hate to cop a boomerang
Or stop an Abo spear
The horses sweat too much, I guess
Some camels may be best
We'd better get those women there
And we can stop and rest

The sun sinks low in bed of gold
There's thirty miles to sea
I hoped to be in town 'fore dark
... those blacks are after me
You use the gun and kill a few
If someone starts to fight
By looks of faces on our dray
They'd have our guts by night

Another mile, another turn
I need another drink
The water's low - don't give them much
I'm glad they're black, not pink
Yeah! Perfect pearls inside that bay
Are paid to me with price
I'll hand this mob to China Joe
And keep the one that's nice

We've made the grade - a sun-up sale
There's some they train to dive
If we go out again next week
Can we get back alive?
Now shove 'em up ... the stubborn ...cuss!
She bit me on me 'and
I'll use the whip - it keeps them right
To make them understand

Another week - it's time to go
Bought camels from a Jap
I hired a man who's seen some tribe
That's camped along our gap
Hold on, Bill - we're ambushed here
So there's no turning back
I dunno why these blasted blacks
Decided to attack!

Written by V.J. Laughton of South Hedland. Source: pp148-150 'Pilbara Connection' compiled by Roger Montgomery.

I couldn't find anything specifically about the Shay Brothers on the Net, but there is plenty of info about black birding and the pearling industry.


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