Broken Hill 1984
By correspondence.


The Man That Works in the Mine
(Tune: Mansion of Aching Hearts)

You can go down the streets of the Barrier each day
And gaze at the grand things around,
See people in cars with jewellry and fine clothes
That no doubt cost many a pound.
On the edge of the footpath a man sits alone
With face all drawn, haggard and grey,
Just ask who he is—that wreck of skin and bone,
And lo, to one you’ll hear them say:


He’s a man that works down in the mine,
Down in the struggle and strife,
Swallowing lead to earn bread
For his poor children and wife.
He’s a man that is hounded from pillar to post,
He’s a wreck before reaching his prime,
All broken and maimed while the boss reaps the gain,
He’s the man that works down in the mine.

Just take a quiet walk ’round our city so fair
And see the fine buildings in town;
There’s no need to ask who put them there
It’s the man that works under the ground.
Then see the fine homes where the dear master lives
With tennis court, carriage and pair.
Go round on the outskirts, see the tumble down homes,
Go inside and see what you’ll find there.

A man who once worked in a mine,
Down in the struggle and strife,
Broken in health to produce wealth,
For masters he’s given his life.
His work days are over; his strength has all gone;
His kids must go on the breadline
For they’ve cast him aside, on the scrap heap to die,
The man that worked down in the mine.

Note: This was by George Hibberd, a retired Broken Hill miner who had this item as a manuscript. Collected, by Warren Fahey in 1984, via his cousin who was headmaster of the BH High School.

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