Digital Tradition Mirror

When the Coal Blew Away

When the Coal Blew Away
(Maurie [Moz] Mulheron

Do you know how heavy the winds blow here?
His smile was rising from ear to ear
The old miner sat back, he'd a story that day
About the time on the coast when the coal blew away

All the mines around Bulli and further away
Were being worked each week for only two to three days
Just enough to stop them from getting the dole
While the mine-owners secretly stockpiled the coal

cho: The winds were so heavy on the coast that day
     The winds were so heavy that the coal blew away!

So the miners formed a strong picket line
To try and stop the coal from leaving the mine
From Sydney they trucked in the scabs each day
With police on guard to keep the miners at bay

With scabs loading coal by the railway track
The miners stepped forward, the mood blacker than black
The sergeant stood between them with a gun and a sneer
I'll shoot the first Commie who tries to interfere!


A fifty ton load was sent on its way
Scheduled for Sydney the very next day
The miners withdrew, full of anger, despair
No victory this time, no hope in the air

The train slowed down just near Waterfall
The guard heard laughter and this is what he saw
From a wagon some miners jumped onto the track
With shovels, grins and faces smeared black


With his lantern he searched up and down the train
No coal could be seen, he searched in vain
And the headlines in the paper read the very next day
The winds were so heavy, the coal blew away!

Now as you listen to my story today
You might think it strange that coal could blow away
But the miners with their shovels in the wagon that night
Swear it is true and I reckon they're right

cho: The winds were so heavy on the coast that day
     The winds were so heavy that the coal blew away!

notes: Maurie Mulheron writes
"Great true story about a union victory down here in the Illawarra
that occurred in September 1938 at the Old Corn Beef Mine. The story
is told in the song. After the scabs had loaded the coal, 8 miners
stowed away on the train and spent the next couple of hours shovelling
out the scab coal onto the track as the train headed north to Sydney.
The next day, when the police investigated, the Miners Federation
explained to them that they knew nothing about the missing coal.
By way of explanation, the union suggested that it could have been
the heavy winds that had blown the night before! The "Bulli Times"
ran a headline: "THE COAL THAT BLEW AWAY". By the way, after the coal
had been shovelled off the train by the 'stowaway' miners, the
Detective-Sergeant raced down to Thirroul the next day to interview
the miners. An astute fellow, he visited Arthur McDonald, one of the
miners. "Don't insult my intelligence," said the policeman, "by trying
to make me believe that the bloody wind on the South Coast blew all
that coal away. We think you bastards did it."

Copyright Maurie Mulheron 1996

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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