Digital Tradition Mirror


[GIF Score]

(This score available as ABC, SongWright, PostScript, PNG, or PMW, or a MIDI file)
Pennywhistle notation and Dulcimer tab for this song is also available


A noble whale ship and commander
Called the Catalpa, they say
Came out to Western Australia
And took six poor Fenians away

cho: So come all you screw warders and jailers
     Remember Perth regatta day
     Take care of the rest of your Fenians
     Or the Yankees will steal them away

Seven long years had they served here
And seven long more had to stay
For defending their country  Old Ireland
For that they were banished away

You kept them in Western Australia
Till their hair began to turn grey
When a Yank from the States of America
Came out here and stole them away

Now all the Perth boats were a-racing
And making short tacks for the spot
But the Yankee she tacked into Fremantle
And took the best prize of the lot

The Georgette armed with bold warriors
Went out the poor Yanks to arrest
But she hoisted her star-spangled banner
Saying  you'll not board me I guess

So remember those six Fenians colonial
And sing o'er these few verses with skill
And remember the Yankee that stole them
And the home that they left on the hill

Now they've landed safe in America
And there will be able to cry
 Hoist up the green flag and shamrock
Hurrah for old Ireland we'll die

First published in Three Street Ballads  in 1957
This version was collected by Russel Ward from Victor Courtney a journalist
on the Sunday Times, Perth, Western Australia, who commented, "I remember in
my early days as a cadet hearing a band of old boys in a pub in Fremantle
singing this song. It is said that the song became so popular that it
was banned by the authority of the day and jail was threatened to anyone
caught singing it. It was suggested, too, that the escape was made easy
because there was plenty of American gold and some of it was placed in the
hands of unscrupulous warders. The incident took place in April 1876."

The escape of the six Fenians from Freemantle Jail was funded by
collections in Australia and the United States. Over three thousand pounds
was collected in Australia.

Several tunes are associated with this song, including tunes used for
'Botany Bay' and 'The Dying Stockman'

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

Contents: ? A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Main Page