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Obit: Ruth Park, author,1917-2010

Little Robyn 17 Dec 10 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,John Moulden 17 Dec 10 - 10:00 AM
Sandra in Sydney 17 Dec 10 - 09:36 PM
GUEST,Ana 17 Dec 10 - 10:39 PM
Andrez 18 Dec 10 - 07:00 AM
Little Robyn 18 Dec 10 - 02:44 PM
Andrez 20 Dec 10 - 09:58 PM
Uke 21 Dec 10 - 06:34 PM
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Subject: Obit: Ruth Park, author
From: Little Robyn
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 06:42 AM

NZ born author, Ruth Park, who spent most of her life in Australia, has died aged 93.
An obit is here.

Her contribution to NZ folk was through her novel One-a-pecker, Two-a-pecker, about the Otago gold rush of 1861.

John Archer, on his NZ Folk site says:
"Park's husband D'Arcy Niland was a poet and may have written some of the verses in this novel.

Near the start of the novel, Park writes

...three or four children played a game of hopscotch in a backwater beside a shop. Currency (the heroine) bent down low to hear what they were chanting, and she learned for the first time this rhyme:

One-a-pecker, two-a-pecker, bright fine gold
Spend it in the summer and you die in the cold.

About 170 pages and 2 years later in the story, a young miner with yellow fluff all round his chin, and some others, are caught by a snow-storm whilst tending to a sick miner. To amuse themselves they start singing

Then (the young miner) sang that other Otago song, since attributed to Jimmy the Blow, but sounding too serious for him

One-a-pecker, two-a-pecker, bright fine gold
Spend it in the summer and you die in the cold.
It cannot light a lantern, or ever ease a pain
And yet we go on searching tho' we search in vain

We joined in the chorus,singing soft and low... "The snow's over" said my mother, "...and we'll be on our way" ...The voices drew further ahead

One-a-pecker, two-a-pecker, send me home
To my sweetheart waiting far across the foam,
I'm weary of Otago, I'm weary of the snow,
But let me make one lucky strike, before I go

How far they were ahead. I could just hear the voices and that was all.

One-a-pecker, two-a-pecker, years go by,
All the gold I'll ever find is in the sky
Some are sons of fortune, but I have come to see
There's riches in the river, but they're not for me.

Wikipedia tells you about her life here.

Robyn


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Subject: RE: Obit: Ruth Park, author
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 10:00 AM

Her novel, 'Playing Beatty Bow' turns on providing a supernatural, historical explanation of a children's game 'Beatty Bow'.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Ruth Park, author
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 09:36 PM

Obit - Ruth Park (Sydney Morning Herald)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Ruth Park, author,1917-2010
From: GUEST,Ana
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 10:39 PM

Her use of "one-a-pecker, two-a-pecker" makes more sense, when it's understood as a clever play on words. Wangapeka and Tuapeka were both colonial NZ gold sites.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Ruth Park, author,1917-2010
From: Andrez
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 07:00 AM

I first heard the song Bright Fine Gold sung in Australia by a number of New Zealand "expats" (for want of a better word) and always loved the song.

In my copy of "New Zealand FolkSongs: Song of a Young Country" edited by Neil Colquhoun (1973), the credits for the lyrics are listed as Anon with the claim for the music as being "reconstructed" by the aforesaid Neil Colquhoun.

Credits for recorded versions are also given to Phil Garland, Gary and Everill Muir and The Song Spinners. The documented lyrics are as follows:

Spend it in the winter
or die in the cold
One a pecker, Tuapeka,
Bright fine gold

Ch: Bright fine gold, bright fine gold
One a pecker, Tuapeka, bright fine gold

Some are sons of fortune
And my man came to see,
But the riches in the river
Are not for such as he.

I'm weary of Otago,
I'm weary of the snow.
let my man strike it rich,
And then we'll go.

So then the connection with Ruth Park is complete news to me..... not that I am any kind of expert here but I wonder if anyone out there in 'catter land can elaborate on the history of these lyrics? Are we talking simply the folk process? Or can the connection with Ruth Park be expanded fer us ignorant Aussies?

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Obit: Ruth Park, author,1917-2010
From: Little Robyn
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 02:44 PM

Andrez, check the NZ Folk site

John Archer has researched the history and given dates.
We were singing it at least 10 years before the Young Country thing came out.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Obit: Ruth Park, author,1917-2010
From: Andrez
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 09:58 PM

Whoa cool! That sure covers anything I ever wanted to know and then some. Thanks heaps for the info Little Robyn.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Obit: Ruth Park, author,1917-2010
From: Uke
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 06:34 PM

Just another piece of info about 'Bright fine gold'.

The first recorded version was released as 'Tuapeka gold' in 1958, only a year after Ruth Park's novel was published, on an EP by Neil Colquhoun's Song Spinners group: Songs of the Gold Diggings (Kiwi M31-2). It's actually a very nice version, a solo number for Lorna McLeod with guitar backing.

The text is the chorus, and the first and third verses, from the 1972 Song of a Young Country book.


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