2003 2002 2001 2000 1999

 

2003

1st

MARALINGA DAWN

Maralinga morning when the sand turned gold
No late whispered warning when the world grew old
Maralinga morning, Maralinga dawn
No late whispered warning when the new suns were born

Hunters gathered there where the game began
Where the parrots flew, where the lizards ran,
Where the dawn chased stars, where the seasons turned,
Where new suns where born when the land was burned

Maralinga nightfall when the sand turned black
Only private death-calls, Dreamtime down the track
Maralinga nightfall, Maralinga night
Only private death calls with the fading light

Children wandered there where the darkness grew,
Where the moonlight bled, where the fallout blew
Where the womens cries carried time away
Like the ash-grey dust on the wind that day

Maralinga morning, now the deserts clean
Only cautious land-rights where the dust has been,
Maralinga morning, Maralinga dawn
Bureaucratic bargain since the new suns were born

Kangaroos crouch there where wild flowers grow
Where the tourists pause, where the hot winds blow
Where the birds fly high, where the sand flows free,
Where new fungi bloom like the mushroom tree

Maralinga days when the world grew old.

© Jan Turner-Jones

 

2nd

CUTTIN CANE

By the field a mud-brown river snakes its way along
See a small bent figure as he cuts with arms so strong
Images of other worlds flash by in a murmered song
And all the time hes cuttin…
Cuttin cane

Overhead the suns a fire and the glares so hard and bright
But little rest for the man till he beds down late tonight
Old eyes fix on the ceiling and then he shuts out the light
And even in dreams he’s cuttin…
Cuttin cane

(Chorus)
Heavy trucks are rollin down the highway
He stops to watch and feels a drop of rain
He dreams of other days as the trucks vanish ‘round the bend
Of cutting bark and making colours flow again
Instead of always cuttin…
Always, always cuttin…
Always, always cuttin…
Cuttin cane

(Solo)
Black hand holds the blade, stained red by Mother Earth
Once it painted native culture in his place of birth
“Long ago, he tells himself, “and what is culture worth”?
When it seems hes always cuttin…
Always, always cuttin…
Seems hes always cuttin…
Cuttin cane

(Bridge)
A heart that lies on the open plain
Not in these fields so green
From endless miles to endless pain
He thinks of things that might have been
But bends his back to cuttin
Cuttin cane

Pretty soon hell hitch up north to work another property
Idle dreams and the open road are his only company
His eyes look to the west, further than the eyes can see
But hell wind up cuttin…
Always, always cuttin…
Always, always cuttin…
Cuttin cane

© Tony McCall

 

3rd

TOMATO CREEK WAY

Smoke is risin
So much: so strange
Turns the sky grey.

Smoke is risin
At the other mob’s land
So strange: so dark
Can’t understand

(Chorus)
Our mob’s movin out
To see what’s at play
Walkin the distance
Down Tomato Creek way.

Smoke is risin
Along whitey’s run.
So dark: so wrong.
Blocks out the sun.

(Chorus)
Our mob’s movin out
To see whats at play
Walkin the distance
Down Tomato Creek way.

(Bridge)
Shot in cold blood;
Lost in the flame;
Treated like rats
In a white fellas game.
Flames run fast
All through the day,
Blackenin Spinifex
Down Tomato Creek way

Smoke is risin
Gunfiren bloodshed.
So wrong: so evil.
They’re burning our dead.

(Chorus)
Our mob’s movin out
To see whats at play
Walkin the distance
Down Tomato Creek way.

© Julie Tawse

 

2002

1st

TELL ME NOW

Tell me now when you look into my eyes
Do you see the signs of a life hard lived?
Do you see the pain behind the lines
That mark where I have smiled?

My father fought in the dust and the mud
And he died a long way from home.
But his name don’t appear on the memorial here
Because his skin was not as white as his bones.

So the only thing I ask of you
Is that you don’t judge me hard, you judge me true.
‘Cause I have lived my life all at sea
In a land that wouldn’t own me.

My mother lived in a far flung town
Where the cotton spray now veils the streets.
And she kept a loving eye on us as we grew
But she couldn’t stop them from taking us away.

So the only thing I ask of you
Is that you don’t judge me hard, you judge me true.
‘Cause I have lived my life all at sea
In a land that wouldn’t own me.

Oh I have watched as the rivers slowly die
Seen the scrub go under the plough.
And as the dust clouds blow the land’s soul away
I’ve learned to close my heart.

So the only thing I ask of you
Is that you don’t judge me hard, you judge me true.
‘Cause I have lived my life all at sea
In a land that wouldn’t own me.

© Anthony English

 

2nd

SHACKLETON

He sailed from Plymouth Harbour as the First World War began
His mighty ship endurance and twenty-six brave men
To cross the frozen continent by foot and then return
The greatest of survivors in that icy southern land
Was Shackleton

As they docked at Buenos Aires a young man stowed away
In search of rich adventure but what a price he’d pay
To travel to Antarctica this ship would not return
The only grace in that cold place a man they called the Boss
Was Shackleton

From the island of South Georgia to the pack ice of the flow
A thousand miles of fighting with a hundred left to go
When ice entrapped endurance and held her in its arms
Its tight embrace began a race to test the very crew
Of Shackleton

(Chorus)
I heard the story years ago and with the passing of the years I know
I’ve never heard it told an epic quite as bold
To survive a frozen hell and tell the tale.

Entombed the pack ice drifted for a thousand miles alone
Till it crushed her like an eggshell and sank her like a stone
So they camped with steely patience till they heard the thaw begin
Wrote Shackleton

Then they dragged the tiny life