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BALLINA WHALERS

There are two forms of Harry Robertson’s famous song “Ballina Whalers”. The words remain the same for both, but the style of singing is different.
(1)  In the 1060’s Harry wrote the original “Ballina Whalers” words in couplets which he then sang in shanty style, unaccompanied, and leading a strong chorus.
(2)  When Alex Hood recorded “Ballina Whalers” on Harry’s 1971 LP “WHALE CHASING MEN — Songs of Whaling In Ice And Sun”,
it was sung in four line verses with instrumentation added.

Later Harry Robertson’s “Ballina Whalers” was also recorded in the 1980’s by Nic Jones in the UK on his LP “PENGUIN EGGS”. Nic recorded Harry’s song under the mis-title “The Humpback Whale” and failed to acknowledge/credit Harry’s authorship of the Lyrics and Music.
On the “Penguin Eggs” LP Nic Jones also recorded Harry Robertson’s famous “Wee Pot Stove” under the mistitle “Little Pot Stove”, and once again failed to credit Harry’s authorship of the Lyrics and Music of this fine song.



BALLINA WHALERS (1)

Lyrics and Music: Harry Robertson

In ‘fifty-six I sailed on board a ship called ‘Byron I’,
She carried trawler men on deck, and a harpoon whaling gun.
Chorus

Heigh-ho ye trawler men come on, forget the snapper and the prawn,
And it’s out of Ballina we’ll sail, a-fishing for the Humpback whale.

With a tractor for a whale winch, the ship an old Fairmile,
Twin diesels turned the props aroon’, we whaled the Aussie style.
Chorus
So keep a sharp lookout me lads, for the whale is on the run,
And we’ll chase them into Byron Bay, and we’ll kill them with our gun.
Chorus
The harpoon and the line fly true, bedding deep into the whale,
But she split the timbers of that ship, with a flurry of her tail.
Chorus
The rigging struts were snapped in two, we reeled beneath the blow,
Then the gunner fired the killer shot, and that Humpback sank below.
Chorus
Now make her tail fast to the bow, we’ve got no time for bed,
For four-and-twenty hours each day, we kept that factory fed.
Chorus
The flensing men upon the land, some had been jackaroos,
But they skinned the blubber off them whales, like they’d skinned the kangaroos.
Chorus
One hundred whales then fifty more, to the factory we did send,
‘Til a message said, “Knock off me lads, the season’s at an end.”
Chorus
Back into Ballina we sailed, tied up and stowed the gear,
Then all hands headed for the pub, and we filled ourselves with beer.
Chorus

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

 

BALLINA WHALERS (2)

Lyrics and Music: Harry Robertson
(As performed by Alex Hood on Harry’s 1971 LP “WHALE CHASING MEN”)

In ‘fifty-six I sailed on board a ship called ‘Byron I‘,
She carried trawler men on deck, and a harpoon whaling gun.
With a tractor as a whale winch, the ship an old Fairmile,
Twin diesels turned the props aroon’, we whaled the Aussie style.

Chorus
Heigh-ho ye trawler men come on, forget the snapper and the prawn,

And it’s out of Ballina we’ll sail, a-fishing for the Humpback whale.

So keep a sharp lookout me lads, for the whale is on the run,
And we’ll chase them into Byron Bay, and we’ll kill them with our gun.
The harpoon and the line fly true, bedding deep into the whale,
But she split the timbers of that ship, with a flurry of her tail.

Chorus

The rigging strutts were snapped in two, we reeled beneath the blow,
Then the gunner fired the killer shot, and that Humpback sank below.
Now make her tail fast to the bow, we’ve got no time for bed,
For four-and-twenty hours each day, we kept that factory fed.

Chorus

The flensing men upon the land, some had been jackaroos,
But they skinned the blubber off them whales, like they’d skinned the kangaroos.
One hundred whales then fifty more, to the factory we did send,
‘Til a message said,”Knock off me lads, the season’s at an end.”

Chorus

Back in to Ballina we sailed, tied up and stowed the gear,
Then all hands headed for the pub, and we filled ourselves with beer.

Chorus

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

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