Digital Tradition Mirror

Wee Dark Engine Room

Wee Dark Engine Room
(Harry Robertson)

     (G) C G7 C G / G C F G7 C / C G7 C F C G C G / C F C F C

     In that wee dark engine room,
     Where the chill seeps through your soul,
     How we huddled round that wee pot stove
     That burned oily rags and coal.

C F C G7 G /

How the winter blizzards blow, and the whaling fleet's at rest,
Tucked in Leigh harbor's sheltered bay, safely anchored ten abreast.
The whalers at their stations, as from shed to shed they go,
Carry little bags of coal with them, and a little iron stove.


The fireman Paddy worked with me on the engine stiff and cold.
A stranger to the truth was he - there's not a lie he hasn't told.
And he boasted of his gold mine, and of all the hearts he'd won,
And his bonny sense of humor shone just like a ray of sun.


We labored seven days a week, with cold hands and frozen feet.
Bitter days and lonely nights making grog and having fights
Salt fish and whalemeat sausage, fresh penguin eggs a treat
And we trudged along to work each day through icy winds and sleet.


Then one day we saw the sun and factory ships' return.
Meet your old friends, sing a song; hope the season won't be long,
Then homeward bound when it's over; we'll leave this icy cove,
But I always will remember that little iron stove.



Words and music by Harry Robertson; Copyright Harry Robertson

Recorded by Harry Robertson, Whale Chasing Men; The Larrikins, A Larrikin
History of Australia;  Nic Jones, Penguin Eggs, Ed Trickett on
"The Ways of Man," FSI-68 copyright 1978.

   "Many songs are sung about whaling and whalers.  Almost all describe
   a voyage, or the catch of the whale, or some of the men and their
   needs. This song describes the bone-chilling existence of the men
   who stayed with the ships when they were laid up for the winter,
   doing routine maintenance and engine overhaul in the clammy,
   unheated holds of the engine rooms." -ET


Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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