The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168402   Message #4081858
Posted By: rich-joy
04-Dec-20 - 12:43 AM
Thread Name: Mudcat Australia/NZ Songbook
Subject: RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia

Bill Jones (The Lost Quays), WA

Heave away, Haul away
The Georgette’s goin down, me boys
Heave away, Haul away
The Georgette’s goin down.

The Georgette was a mighty ship that sailed the coast in ‘76
From Fremantle she plied her trade and chased The Fenians away,
Catalpa’s tale is often told, but here’s a story we should know
For Sam and Grace and their rescue bold, heed well, it will unfold.   

To Adelaide that ship did go, with passengers and cargo stowed
It was just passed Cape Naturaliste when trouble it began,
The hull was breached, the water came, the wind it roared with might and main
But in night when the pumps gave ‘way, the Georgette’s time had come.

The passengers and crew they bailed, but by the dawn the engine failed
The captain steered her to the coast, ‘twas all that he could do,
She drifted to Calgardup Bay with ragged coast and rugged spray
But on the cliffs, a stockman watched and knew just what to do.

To the Bussell homestead Sam did race, and there he found Ellen and Grace
The men were all out working and would not be back in time,
But young Grace Bussell had a plan, she gathered horses, ropes and Sam
They head off to the cliffs that day, a rescue to perform.

Now in the Bay, the Georgette struck, the lifeboats all capsized and sunk,
The passengers and crew they were a-tossed into the waves,
When down the cliff came Grace and Sam, across the beach and through the sand
Without a thought for life and limb, they raced into the surf.

By hanging onto horse and ride, the passengers were swept aside
For four long hours young Grace and Sam, they rescued all they could,
The tale was told throughout the land and round the world their story sang
So raise a glass to Grace and Sam and the fate of the Georgette.

The story (in song) of “The Catalpa” and its rescue in April of 1876 of the “six bold Fenians” from Fremantle, WA, to freedom in Americle, has been posted above by Stewie on 27Sept.   
The fate of the vessel that failed to stop HMG’s political prisoners escaping (“The Georgette”) is the subject of this song : wrecked 144 years ago, almost to the day!   A presentation in May2020 by the Lost Quays of the story of the “Georgette”, who remark : “This is the product of minds pushed to the edge by the isolation of the strange times in which we live!”

I posted this song link on 28Sept but without lyrics, along with this blurb :

“…..It tells of Aboriginal stockman, Sam Isaacs, sighting the distressed SS Georgette (built 1872, 211 tons, steam/sail), from the clifftops around Calgardup Bay (allegedly, her cargo of mainly jarrah timber, leather, hides, and whale oil, had shifted and holed the vessel and the incoming water stuffed the boilers.) Sam ran the 20 Kms to Wallcliffe House where 16 year old Grace Bussell then joined him and together they rode their horses back and forth from ship to shore for around 4 hours (and remember, West Aussie does rather a good line in sharks!), and rescued many of the 50 or so remaining passengers and crew (some had drowned, but some had already made it to shore). I sure hope the horses were okay. Grace was naturally and rightly claimed a heroine (Australia’s youngest) and plaques and citations followed.   
As can be expected, recognition for Sam, took somewhat longer…………..
WA’s generally inhospitable coastline, with its tricky winds, strong surf and currents, chilling water and unusual underwater topography, is (literally) littered with shipwrecks and “lost vessels” that will probably never be found.
However, the Georgette’s final resting place is at Redgate Beach, near Margaret River, in about 5metres of water.

However, the interesting writeup by the WA Museum as regards the state of the vessel before leaving Fremantle (bound for Adelaide), indicates perhaps, that all was not as it should be ……