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(The Peg-Leg Whaler)

Lyrics and Music: Harry Robertson

Timber ship — canvas sail,
Blood-stained sea and angry whale,
Is the story of the whalers long ago
In the Great Australian Bight
Windy days and stormy night,
Roaring Forty winds that blew up from below.

But today — whaling men
Sail from Albany again,
Captain Stubbs is our Master Gunner man,
Oh his right leg torn away
With the harpoon rope one day,
But he’s back — shooting whales on every span.

Up on deck — all hands go,
When the lookout cries, “Whale oh!”.
The Skipper goes from bridge to harpoon gun
In the cold sou’wester breeze
Cursing loud at choppy seas
As he kills that great Sperm on the run.

Screw the throttle — open wide,
It’s for home upon the tide,
Hear the rhythm of the quadrants clacking clear
Pistons turn the crankshaft round
As we leave the whaling ground
For tonight it’s ashore and on the beer.

In the darkness — of the night.
Load the stores and harpoons right
For we sail in the chill before the dawn
Oh you suffer hard and dear
For your nights upon the beer
And the thunder in your head is throbbing on.

Not a whale — caught today,
Bloody Jonah’s had his way
For I’m sure there is one among us still,
There were plenty of whales around,
We gave chase but never found
One of them that was big enough to kill.

But we’ll rant — we will rove
For the Sperm whale treasure trove
And we’ll roar like the early whaling men,
Gunner Stubbs and men like me
Live upon the rolling sea
Haul away boys, from Albany again.

HISTORY: This song was written for an A.B.C. “Big Country” film in 1971.
The film, entitled “The Whalers” depicted the last remaining whaling station in Australia at Albany WA.
The song was written for the film, thus the content and imagery, to a certain extent, was controlled. HR.

© Harry Robertson,
and subsequently ©1995 Mrs Rita Robertson, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
Registered with APRA/AMCOS www.apra-amcos.com.au