Singing the South

The items in this book create a timeline in song and verse that tell a small part of the history of the Illawarra so I call the result a Songline-Timeline. They were written after my involvement in a writing project organised by the Kiama Library called 'Memories of Kiama' and ran by Rae Luckie who specializes in teaching Life Writing.

The experience re-awakened my song-writing muse along with a deep interest in the history of my adopted living place. I read history books, talked to local people and found topics of much interest in the Pilot's Cottage in Kiama. With one exception the songs were all written roughly between April and November 2019.

They were fired by beliefs that:

  • Knowledge of history is of importance to individuals, areas and countries.
  • Songs are a special way of carrying that history.
  • Everyone can be a singer (if they choose), and singing can be of benefit to the mental health of individuals.

  • These songs are constructed in such a way that people can easily join in the performance if they so desire. In the notes for the song 'JEWEL BOX' I quote a remark to a friend in reference to working on this project. She had asked, 'What are we doing?'

    The answer I gave was 'We're doing life...'. This roughly is also part of my answer to requests for a definition of folk music.

    'A celebration of the 'reality of life' and the responsibility to tell it as it is or was in a format that others can use to pass on that reality.'

    View Singing the South Album here!


    Writer’s Note:

    ‘In memory of Geri Lobl and with the hope that the past and the presence of First Australians of this area will be recorded, remembered and respected.’


    A grant from KIAMA COUNCIL ARTS BOARD assisted the presentation of a concert 

    The singers and musicians for that concert improved some songs with word change & chord change suggestions and in true Folk Tradition some accidental improvements through performance. Throughout the practice sessions they have helped inject the songs with greater personality and spirit. They are thanked from the heart.

    SINGERS: Shayna Stewart, John Broomhall, Alan Morrison,
    INSTRUMENTALISTS & Occasional Chorus: Bob McInnes, John Spillane, Stuart Leslie.

    Margret RoadKnight appeared as a special guest on the first concert and brought her special talents of interpretation to two songs on the later CD.

    Tim Atkinson helped with the images for the concert.
Mark Wilmott made concert props and offered sound advice.

    THE CD
    Michael Roberts did the arrangements, much of the accompaniment and the production of the CD and is acknowledged for his considerable talents and invaluable contribution.

    Glenn Santry of 'HeartBeat Studio' Penshurst mixed and mastered the CD.

    Instrumentalist George Washingmachine and Christ Wheller appear on the companion CD to his book playing Fiddle, Whistle and Flute.

    The Material
    The Kiama Library for a program that enabled Rae Luckie to conduct a course 'Memories of Kiama', which re-awakened the writer's Muse, and to the library staff who are always helpful.

    Leanne Webster for her History Pappers and for vetting the song notes.

    Mark Whalen, who put in many hours at the Pilot's Cottage in a voluntarily capacity, was of great support in suggesting topics for songs and for help with images, his interest and input was of great value.

    People of the town who supplied snipperts of knowledge, awareness or opinion should know it was valued. These who helped with content are acknowledged on the lyric page of each song.

    The Book
    Mark Holder-Keeping, Stuart Leslie both had a part to play in turning the tunes into notatoin, which made this a songbook and not just a collection of lyrics.

    Printed and designed by: Creative Visions Print and Design Warrawong.
    Book Cover: Blowhold - Circa 1880's
    Photo Source: Pilot's Cottage, Kiama

    Ghanterintee – View Song Details

    George Bass – View Song Details

    Red Gold – View Song Details

    Coast Ghost – View Song Details

    The Butter Track – View Song Details

    Moonshine – View Song Details

    Mountain Dew – View Song Details

    Black Diamond Disaster – View Song Details

    Blue Metal Worker – View Song Details

    Hollow Log Jack – View Song Details

    Daisy – View Song Details

    Song of The Fishing – View Song Details

    All Down The South Coast – View Song Details

    Sweet Weekend- View Song Details

    Traveller’s Polka- View Song Details

    Jewel Box – View Song Details