The Dandenong

 

Wild and furious blew the blast
And the sky with anger frowned
When the Dandenong from Melbourne sailed
To Newcastle port was bound
She had eighty-three poor souls on board
Through the storm she cleaved her way
And it’s sad to relate the terrible fate
‘Twas just off Jervis Bay

And I long for you, I long for sleep
I dream of being warm
But through the night I have to sail
To brave this raging storm

While steaming through those angry seas
Her propelling shaft gave way
And the waters they came rushing in
Which filled them with dismay
All hands on board did all they could
Till at length all hope was gone
And they hoisted a signal of distress
On board of the Dandenong

It was not long until a barque
With a brisk and a lively crew
Came bearing down and the Captain cried
“We’ll see what we can do!”
Came bearing down with might and main
In spite of wind and wave
They did all they could as sailors would
Those precious lives to save

And I long for you, I long for sleep
I dream of being warm
I pray the sea will let me be
To brave another dawn

Well some in boats they tried to reach
That kind and friendly barque
And numbers of their lives were saved
But the night came on pitch dark
What more could mortal man do then
When the storm increased so strong
And the rest now sleep in the briny deep
Along with the Dandenong

And I long for you, I long for sleep
I dream of coming home
Tonight the sea it buries me
Beneath this raging foam

Traditional arranged by Kate Burke/Andy Irvine

“The Dandenong”, a song that Australian folk singer Kate Burke found in the archives of the National Library of Australia. Collected in 1954 by John Meredith from a Mrs Mary Byrnes, an old lady of Irish descent, the song tells the story of the loss of the Dandenong and most of its passengers during a voyage from Melbourne to Newcastle, NSW in 1876.

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