Phyl Lobl

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Warren Fahey needed a song about Old Sydney for a project with which he was involved. I did some research and came up with this song. Jill Stevens also recorded the song. In the 'folk process' some lines changed. So what I sing and what is printed may differ. I now prefer the printed version.

 

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OLD SYDNEY TOWN

Words & Music: Phyl Lobl

The tank steam1 ran silent through shaded green banks,
When first I saw Sydney I offered no thanks.
And the pleasant bush scenery gave me no cheer,
For the eyes of a convict are blinded by fear.

Oh Old Sydney Town I once was a rover,
But now I can see that you've fair won me over,
From the Hero of Waterloo
2 up at the rocks
To Blackwattle Bay with its dirty old docks,
I'll sing of your pleasures that satisfy me
Of your harbour, your pubs and your Circular Quay3.


The stone and the sweat that they used for the Quay,
Was culled from the earth and poor bastards like me.
How I hated that stone from the Argyle Cut,
And I wished it were my bones they'd hung at Pinchgut.

They gave me a pardon and set me quite free,
But the white cliffs of Dover no more will see me,
For I'm working a ferry run, I'm doing fine
From Blues Point to Dawes Point4 I'm straight down the line.

Now Phillip he formed you for he chose the place,
Macquarie came after and quite changed your face,
But for prisoners of Old Mother England who slaved
To build up your city, no names are engraved5.


1 The 'Tank Stream' was Sydney's earliest water supply.
2 Hero Of Waterloo is a pub in the Rocks area of Sydney, the early area of settlement.
3 Circular Quay was once called semi-circular Quay because it was semi-circular. I used to sing semi instead of your but abandoned the practice.
4 Before there was a bridge there was a ferry.
5 Phillip and Macquarie early Governors.

 

 

 
 
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