HARRY CHAPLIN


HARRY CHAPLIN

Broken Hill
1974

COLLECTED MATERIAL

In my books ‘Balls of Bob Menzies’  (Angus & Robertson) and ‘Ratbags & Rabblerousers’ (Currency Press) I mention some lines from a song about Percy Brookfield who was the MLA for Broken Hill. Percy Brookfield was shot dead on March 22, 1921, by a ‘Russian madman’ at Riverton Railway Station, South Australia. The circumstances of the murder remain clouded and the ‘Mad Russian’ was detained in a SA institution.

Mr Harry Chaplin of Broken Hill sang the following song however he felt it might have had another verse. Since Brookfield was sympathetic to the Communist party (although not a member) I suspect this song was popular within CPA circles. The tune harry used is familiar to me but I still haven’t managed to put an identifying name to it. The verses have a touch of ‘Wild Colonial Boy’ but the chorus is a mystery to be solved.

Mr Chaplin was a champion cyclist for several years.

Percy Brookfield

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Recently I came across another song and make the note that it is the work of P F Collins who was also known as ‘Percy the Poet’. Collins regularly wrote and printed broadsides, which he personally hawked at venues like the Sydney Cricket Ground and Paddy’s Market. I understand Hugh Anderson has been undertaking considerable research into Collins and, hopefully, this will result in a publication.

Percy Brookfield

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The following song is an Australian version of the IWW songwriter Harry ‘Haywire’ McClintock’s original. Haywire also wrote the most famous ‘bum’ song of all – ‘Halleluiah I’m A Bum’

Two Professional Hums

(Tune: Jolly Lads Are We)
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Toast

Here’s to women creature divine
That blossom forth once a month
And bears fruit once in nine
They’re the only creature this side of hell
That can extract the juice from the nut
Without breaking the shell

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