|Australia has a long history of socialist thought including the publication of newspapers and magazines produced by the Left.
Those interested in this subject are advised to refer to Warren Fahey’s two books on the subject: ‘The Balls of Bob Menzies’ and its later revised edition ‘Ratbags & Rabblerousers’
The shearers had their own newspaper called the Shearer’s and
General Labourer’s Record and its contents were not too far
removed from many union newspapers of today with the exception
that their newspaper carried a lot of songs, poems and games-
all designed to increase the awareness of the labour struggle.
|COLLECTED MATERIAL||TUNE||FIRST LINE||COMMENT|
|Unity Boys||Tramp, Tramp, Tramp||Now the shearing’s at an end||Printed in the Shearer’s Record Newspaper and attributed to G. T. Rilley a union representative stationed at Moonbria. It is interesting to see how many political songs have used this same tune including many of Joe Hill’s IWW songs. The Faulkner family were leading pastoralists in New South Wales.
Rupert Murdoch purchased their main station.
|The Union Marching Song||Marching Through Georgia||You union men of Buckingbung, just listen unto me||Attributed to P. C. of Humula.
MARCHING SONGS do not necessarily mean that they were used for marching and this next song, set to that ever-popular song ‘Marching Through Georgia’, is more like a testament to the Amalgamated Shearers* Union. It has a stirring chorus that is aimed at ‘getting the union message across’ and encouraging membership.
|Shearing Time||–||The shearing time has come again;||Oct 15, 1889
|The Song of the Union Men||–||Come let us be banded together||Jan 1890|
|COLLECTED MATERIAL||TUNE||FIRST LINE||COMMENT|
|My Bonnie Lies In Long Bay||My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean||Judge Kelly first asked for the money||Anonymous song from the September 1949 issue of the Maritime Worker and concerns the jailing of the ‘twelve’ International labour’ quasi Communists.|
|The Screw and The Keys||The Man on the Flying Trapeze||Once I was happy and now I’m forlorn,||Anonymous song from 1949 issue of the Maritime Worker. It appears that this song could have been written by union leader Jack King in Long Bay Prison.|
Songbook Published Adelaide circa 1915
The International Labour Party was a socialist group that came out of the International Workers of The World, an American labour organization funded by Joe Hill. There was a very active Australian IWW movement and many drifted into the ILP which had essentially the same platform based on ‘one big union’. Many of the songs the ILP and IWW sang, and they sang often, were American IWW compositions however localisation was obviously encouraged, as was the composition of original material. Parody was the popular tune vehicle and we find several songs written to the one tune. ‘Tramp, Tramp, Tramp’ was a popular vehicle as was ‘Marching Through Georgia’.
|One Big Industrial Union||Marching Through Georgia||The good old red book, boys, we’ll sing another song.||By G. Allen.|
|Where The Parramatta River Flows||Where the River Shannon Flows||Fellow workers pay attention, to what I’m going to mention||The gaoling of twelve ILP/IWW members – they became known as “The Twelve’ – became a popular subject for songwriters. The men were gaoled on a pretext and held in Parramatta Gaol for over a year.|
|Help The Jailed||Wrap Me Up In My Stockwhip & Blanket||At this hour when the plutes are dictators||‘plutes’ obviously refers to plutocrats|
|Bump Me Into Parliament||Yankee Doodle||Come listen, all kind friends of mine,||Written by Casey, of the One Big Union League, Melbourne, this is one of the most popular songs from that period. ‘Casey’ was a prolific songwriter and this version, probably the first printed version, has additional verses to the usual published versions.|
Industrial Labour Party. 117 Bathurst St. Sydney.
This appears to be the local IWW and the booklet, songster sized, includes references to the Gang of Twelve (unionists who were put in Parramatta Goal) including Tom Glynn.
Songs include usual Joe Hill and IWW songs plus the following local items of Australian composition.
|A New Song For The Girl Slaves||There Is A Happy Land||There is a shirt factory over the way||By ‘Menzies’|
|Bump Me Into Parliament||Yankee Doodle||–||see above|
|Help The Jailed||Wrap Me Up In My Stockwhip & Blanket||At this hour when the plutes are dictators||see above|
|Where The Parramatta River Flows||Where The River Shannon Flows||Fellow workers pay attention, to what I’m going to mention||see above|
The following two songs come from a pamphlet published by A W Beard, George Street, Sydney. The dates are unclear but it is very early, possibly around 1880. The leaflet only offered three songs. The third song was a song on behalf of a sewing machine company titled “I Can Mind My Wheel, Mother”
|Fair Work for a Fair Day’s Pay||Auld Lang Syne,” OR ” Partant Pour la Syria||Let’s raise our voices, loud proclaim,||–|
|I’m An Eight-Hour Working Man||” Auld Lang Syne,” OR “Partant Pour la Syria.”||I’m an eight hour working man, hooray !||–|
Adelaide newspaper of the One Big Union movement.
The newspaper devotes considerable space to the ‘IWW Twelve’
The true path to freedom has ever been blazed
By the Larkin’s, the Connolly’s, the Deb’s and ‘The Twelve’
They come, but to tell us if wrongs must be razed
The workers must do it, and do it themselves,
|The Sundowner||–||He built the road||Nov 1920|
|The One Big Union||–||Oh, come and join our valiant band||1920 May No 3
By Monty Miller
Note: in a future issue the paper mentions Monty Miller (86) as being ‘The greatest working class rebel in Australia’
|Threshing Machine||Ta ra ra boom de ay||HI had a job once threshing wheat||July 1919 No 7|
|Song of the Wheat Lumpers||–||Lump, lump, lump||Nov 1919
|Happy Days||When Jesus Washed My Sins Away||Happy day! Happy day!||July 1919|
Published in Glebe. Newspaper of Industrial Labour Party
|Will We Wake||–||I’ve been thinking, fellow members|| April 1918
This song, signed ‘Jerry Tumble’, addresses the Australian Workers Union internal fight where the Union asked the membership to vote on whether it should proceed with direct action or seek arbitration.
|The Slaves Doxology||Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow||Praise Boss when morning work-bells chime||1918/June 15
With a note: Written by Bill Casey who also wrote Bump Me Into Parliament.
|Bump Me Into Parliament||–||I have been asked what would I do||1918/June 15
including two verses that appear not to have been reproduced in future uses because of their relevance to the era.
|Bump Me Into Parliament.||(report)||I have read my Bible through and through,||Interesting report from the Sydney courts where an ILP member was arrested for singing Bump Me Into Parliament.|