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The song tells of an incident in November 1963 when police made a surprise arrest of 10 aboriginal leaders from Old Mapoon Queensland. The leaders were transferred to a settlement 90 miles from their home. The official explanation was that the leaders were having undue influence on the rest of the community. A typical reaction to Aboriginal claims to ownership of traditional land and freedom of settlement.

 

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WHOSE HAND

Words: Hills, Tune: Kitamura

It was late one Friday afternoon. Whose hand?
The prison boat came silently down stood a little out of town
Its purpose they would learn too soon.

They came upon them after dark. Whose hand?
'Pack your bags' the order ran 'We'll take your leaders child and man.'
And not a dog had time to bark.

Two policemen lay at head and toe. Whose hand?
The reason why no one could tell before the dawn they knew quite well.
And women and children were next to go.

Their house burned or taken down. Whose hand?
To the Government dip like a cattle herd, songs and tears within them stirred
With one last look at their former home.

They protest with fear and woe. Whose hand?
Have we no rights no race no land we are people you understand.
Have we no say in where we go? Whose hand? Whose hand?

 

 

 
 
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