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Lyr/Tune Req: Black Jack Ballarat

Moira Cameron, Yellowknife 22 Jun 98 - 03:39 AM
Joe Offer 22 Nov 04 - 10:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Nov 04 - 11:11 PM
Big Al Whittle 23 Nov 04 - 02:53 AM
John in Brisbane 23 Nov 04 - 07:11 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Nov 04 - 03:17 PM
Joybell 23 Nov 04 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 24 Nov 04 - 08:43 AM
Bob Bolton 24 Nov 04 - 05:07 PM
Joybell 24 Nov 04 - 05:56 PM
Jim Dixon 26 Nov 04 - 01:36 AM
John in Brisbane 26 Nov 04 - 06:27 AM
Joybell 26 Nov 04 - 05:07 PM
John McDonnell 21 Jan 05 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 21 Jan 05 - 08:54 PM
John McDonnell 23 Jan 05 - 11:34 PM
Joybell 24 Jan 05 - 08:20 PM
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Subject: Black Jack Ballarat
From: Moira Cameron, Yellowknife
Date: 22 Jun 98 - 03:39 AM

I made a fascinating discovery a couple of days ago. A new friend, Robert Rodriguez, is presently staying with me in Yellowknife for a short visit. (He made a hell of a long trip from New York to get here.) He mentioned in one of our conversations a song called Black Jack of Ballarat, based on a real-life Australian outlaw in the 1850's. The name "Black Jack" was very familiar to me. I am somewhat of a Sherlock Holmes fanatic. Sure enough, I found a Holmes story about Black Jack of Ballarat. The story is called the "Boscombe Valley Mystery" and is about this character who, after making his 'fortune' in Australia, takes up the life of a country squire in England. He is, in fact, Black Jack himself, trying to make an honest living for himself as an attempt to attone for his former career as a highwayman in the Australian Outback.

Well, needless to say, Conan Doyle must have heard stories in the local papers about Black Jack and decided to include him in one of his own stories.

Now all of this has made me want to learn the song. Does anyone know the lyrics and tune?


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Subject: RE: Black Jack Ballarat
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 10:04 PM

refresh...


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Subject: RE: Black Jack Ballarat
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 11:11 PM

Ballarat is a town in central Victoria, where fortunes were made in gold starting in the middle 19th century. The name comes from a native word for resting place. Can't find any trace of a Jack Ballarat.
Need Bob Bolton here.


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Subject: RE: Black Jack Ballarat
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Nov 04 - 02:53 AM

I seem to remember being told by Barrie Roberts about a book called Keating's Bush Ballads. Might be the place to start - perhaps our Australian friends can help.


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Subject: RE: Black Jack Ballarat
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 23 Nov 04 - 07:11 AM

One of the reasons that I now live in Brisbane is that I spent the last four years of my schooling in Ballarat and I have no desire to ever be that cold again. (it's probably quite balmy in comparison to much of the UK or USA).

Ballarat is a very beautiful city and retains many fine examples of public buildings, banks, hotels and homes from prosperous times of the gold rush and subsequent agricultural booms. It has fine Botanical Gardens which are home to Australia's only population of wild red squirrels.

As for Black Jack, the best known Australian with that name wa 'Black Jack' McEwen who was Prime Minister after the 'death' oh Harold Holt. His bust along with all of Australia's PM's is located in the Ballarat Gardens. McEwen wasn't born in Ballarat btu an amazing number of his predecessors came from that area.

BTW the official name for the local government was the City of BALLAARAT and in my youth there were still a number of premises bearing the longer name.

As for the outlaw, never heard of him, which makes me think that possibly my memory is shot, he was a minor felon, or the work of fiction. A betting man would put his money on the first option.

Almost forgot, the Ballarat Art Gallery is home to a very fine collection of Australain Impressionist paintings - and of course the original flag of the Southern Cross - first hoisted at the battle of Eureka Stockade, about 15 minutes stroll from the city centre.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Black Jack Ballarat
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Nov 04 - 03:17 PM

I think 'Black Jack Ballarat' was a Conan Doyle invention.


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Subject: RE: Black Jack Ballarat
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Nov 04 - 03:58 PM

No I've never heard it either. My family were from near Ballarat (pronounced with the emphasis on "rat"). We still live not far from there. Well a few hours. There are a lot of oldtimers and young "folkies" in the area. I'll snoop around.

John, we were there a week or so back. It was warm and Spring-like everywhere else around, but the city of Ballarat was being whipped by the usual freezing gale. How my ancestors survived the goldrush in a tent city near there I'll never know.
A lady in a thrift shop in Ballarat said, "Cheery-bye". Brought back the past. Cheery-bye, Joy


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Subject: RE: Black Jack Ballarat
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 24 Nov 04 - 08:43 AM

the thread title JUMPED out at me. Can't help with the ballad, sorry. IIRC, the older man in the story was not "Black Jack Ballarat" but rather "Black Jack" OF Ballarat. Bet it was a Baker Street Irregular who made the song up.


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Subject: RE: Black Jack Ballarat
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 24 Nov 04 - 05:07 PM

G'day Q (et al),

Without checking a few 19th century books and lists of notorious bushrangers, I would go with Joybell, who live a lot closer to the spot. I had noticed this thread ... but the name Black Jack (of) Balla(a)rat doesn't ring any bells.

I'll check the books at home, tonight ... but I would be surprised if I've overlooked him!

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Black Jack Ballarat
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Nov 04 - 05:56 PM

Me too, Bob. I've scoured those bushranger books looking for just one ancestor. All the males on the Cornish side of my family tree were called Jack. Of course so were nearly all the other Cornish men. Thing is though, I think I'd have noticed a "Jack" in our area.

There was a "Black Jack" who could possibly be called a "Bushranger" but he was in Tasmania. He was an Aboriginal raider/defender of his people, depending on which side you stood. He teamed up with "Musquito" a daring and very clever Aboriginal escaped prisoner. (The crime Musquito had committed was not against his people's law, but that's another story.) This Black Jack would not seem to be our man. There is no connection with Ballarat. Could Conan Doyle have been taken with his name, however? Cheery-bye, as they say in Ballarat, Joy


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Subject: Lyr Add: BLACK JACK OF BALLARAT (John McDonnell)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Nov 04 - 01:36 AM

IMO, this is a song only a devoted Sherlock Holmes fan could love.

Copied from a page of "Sherlockian Poems and Songs":

BLACK JACK OF BALLARAT
based on "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" (1891)
Words, John McDonnell
Tune, "Waltzing Matilda"

"I was in a gang of six that murdered to get gold.
I spared the driver, McCarthy his name.
I was one of the three surviving to be wealthy men.
Free from suspicion to England we came.
I would soon marry, and though my wife died,
She left me Alice, whose wee hands held fast,
Which inspired me to turn o'er new leaf in my guilty life.
I did my best to make up for my past.

"All was going well. I met McCarthy in the street.
'Here we are, Jack, we'll be family to you.'
Anything that he wanted I would have to give to him
Or he would tell the police what he knew.
Twenty years later, he urged his son to
Marry my Alice to gain all my wealth,
For he knew that my time in this world's almost over now
Due to disease that has blasted my health.

"I will sign confession that McCarthy have I killed
That my dear girl won't be caught in his mesh."
Bidding farewell, John Turner slowly stumbled from the room,
Tott'ring and shaking from ills of the flesh.
After long silence, Holmes said, "God help us!
Why are such tricks played on souls who repent?
In all cases like this I always think of Baxter's words,
'There, but for grace, goes myself likewise bent.' "


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: Black Jack Ballarat
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 26 Nov 04 - 06:27 AM

Fantastic piece of sleuthing Jim, IMO the worst lyrics ever to grace this tune.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: Black Jack Ballarat
From: Joybell
Date: 26 Nov 04 - 05:07 PM

Yes I'll second that John. I do like the ills of the flesh bit, though. And the last line - now that's inspired and it rhymes so desperatly well. Good work Jim. Cheery-bye, Joy


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: Black Jack Ballarat
From: John McDonnell
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 07:28 PM

Moira Cameron's request for the lyrics and tune of "Black Jack of Ballarat" was made in 1998.

Jim Dixon found my song "Black Jack of Ballarat" and posted the lyrics of it in 2004.

However, Moira Cameron's 1998 request could not have been referring to my song of that title,
because I did not begin writing "Sherlockian Poems and Songs" until 2001.

Therefore, Moira Cameron was requesting a song other than the one I wrote.

John McDonnell


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: Black Jack Ballarat
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 08:54 PM

Sherlock Holmes would have agreed entirely with John McDonnell's deductions. JD has got to be right UNLESS there really is such a thing as a timewarp. Could it be that we have wandered into one?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: Black Jack Ballarat
From: John McDonnell
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 11:34 PM

I called this lyric/tune request to the attention of the online Sherlockian group WelcomeHolmes. One of its members made this
reply to my request for information:

"Nothing is listed in the UNIVERSAL SHERLOCK HOLMES (1994). The only
Black Jack ballad that springs to mind is an old English one "Black
Jack Davey" recorded by, among others, Steeleye Span. Woody Guthrie
recorded the "Gypsy Davey" variant, and it exists in a number of
other variants in the UK and US. It may have been Australianised at
some point.

Adrian"

John McDonnell


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: Black Jack Ballarat
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 08:20 PM

The Carter Family were very popular here in Australia. I haven't heard of an Australianized version of "Black Jack Davy" only the version they recorded. I could be wrong about that. Be interesting to know. Cheers, Joy


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