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  • THE RODNEY

    The Rodny needs protection, Captain Dixon cried
    There's mobs of angry shearers out to get my hide
    I've forty two non-union men Tolarno station bound
    The magistrate just shrugged and cast his eyes down to the ground..

    Cast off boys, don't let me hear you moan
    If the traps don't want to come along
    We'll make the trip alone

    Further up the Darling a horseman waved them back
    Bad news to tell, the strikers are planning to attack
    They tried to take The Fairy, to run your ship aground
    And they're tying wire from tree to tree to knock your wheelhouse down..

    They loaded up with firewood to make the final dash
    Clouds were coming over and the air was thick with ash
    A night attack they could not risk, so they planned a morning run
    They kept the fires alight and tied the steamer to a gum..

    Early in the morning a crewman gave a shout
    The swamp has come alive, there's men all round about
    The captain rushed up on the deck to steer the boat from harm
    But his way was blocked by men in black who grabbed him by the arm..

    The fighting it was fierce but the crew were overcome
    They set them adrift upon the barge and took the kero drum
    And poured it down below the decks till everything was damp
    And they grabbed the free men from their bunks and threw them in the swamp..

    A flint was struck and instantly the flames began to dance
    The captain tried to scuttle her but the heat was too intense
    He made it to a dingy and to the barge he steered
    While the shearers watching all the fun sat on the bank and cheered..

    And what a sight it was to see in the cold and cloudy dawn
    The Rodney blazing end to end, her travelling days were done
    She drifted slowly bank to bank, setting gums alight
    Oh what a piece of history the strikers made that night..

    Cast off boys, don't let me hear you moan
    If the traps don't want to come along
    We'll make the trip alone


    By Peter Harris
    ©2010