Lyrics

South Australia

Capstan and Pump Shanty; sometimes a Halyard Shanty ; also sung as a Forebitter

Traditional

As I walked out one morning fair,
(Resp.) Heave away, haul away,
There I met Miss Nancy Blair,
(Resp.) We’re bound for South Australia. (Lead call in Chorus)

(Chorus)
Haul away, you rolling king,
Heave away, haul away,
Haul away, oh hear me sing,
We’re bound for South Australia.

There’s just one thing that grieves me mind,
(Resp.) Heave away, haul away,
To leave Miss Nancy Blair behind,
(Resp.) We’re bound for South Australia. (Lead call in Chorus)

I rung her all night, I rung her all day,
(Resp.) Heave away, haul away,
I rung her before we sailed away,
(Resp.) We’re bound for South Australia. (Lead call in Chorus)

I shook her up, I shook her down,
(Resp.) Heave away, haul away,
I shook her round and round the town,
(Resp.) We’re bound for South Australia. (Lead call in Chorus)

Miss Nancy Blair ain’t come to harm,
(Resp.) Heave away, haul away,
Been seen at night on a new man’s arm,
(Resp.) We’re bound for South Australia. (Lead call in Chorus)

Haul away, you rolling king,
Heave away, haul away,
Haul away, oh hear me sing,
We’re bound for South Australia.

WHERE TO FIND IT

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Song Notes

From Laura Smith’s 1888 collection, The Music of the Waters.

A. L. Lloyd said in the sleeve notes from his recording, Blow Boys Blow :
“South Australia is a capstan shanty of the wool clippers that plied between the Australian ports and London. A particular favourite as a farewell song, sung to accompany the work of lifting the anchor. Ted Howard, of Barry, from whom our version comes, told how he and other shell-backs were gathered round the bed of a former shipmate. The dying man said: ‘I think I’m slippin’ my cable, lads. Strike up South Australia and let me go happy.'”