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Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia

DigiTrad:
THE MAID OF AUSTRALIA


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Maid of Australia


bill\sables 12 Mar 99 - 06:45 PM
12 Mar 99 - 06:56 PM
Pete M 14 Mar 99 - 03:05 PM
bill\sables 14 Mar 99 - 03:30 PM
Martin Graebe 14 Mar 99 - 06:41 PM
Bob Bolton 15 Mar 99 - 01:49 AM
Pete M 15 Mar 99 - 03:12 PM
Sandy Paton 16 Mar 99 - 12:19 AM
Bob Bolton 16 Mar 99 - 01:18 AM
Pete M 16 Mar 99 - 07:21 PM
freda underhill 28 Jun 05 - 11:13 AM
Dave Bryant 28 Jun 05 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,Lighter at work 28 Jun 05 - 12:23 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jun 05 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Lighter at work 28 Jun 05 - 02:36 PM
Snuffy 28 Jun 05 - 07:58 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jun 05 - 10:08 PM
Snuffy 29 Jun 05 - 08:37 AM
pavane 24 Feb 10 - 08:56 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Feb 10 - 09:33 AM
Uncle_DaveO 24 Feb 10 - 09:36 AM
pavane 24 Feb 10 - 10:19 AM
IanC 24 Feb 10 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,PeterC 24 Feb 10 - 02:54 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Feb 10 - 03:23 PM
freda underhill 10 Feb 11 - 06:46 PM
cloudstreet 11 Feb 11 - 01:12 AM
Joe Offer 18 Dec 15 - 01:20 AM
Joe Offer 09 Jan 18 - 03:48 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Jan 18 - 01:31 PM
Richard Mellish 11 Jan 18 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,julia L 11 Jan 18 - 05:50 AM
OldNicKilby 11 Jan 18 - 07:17 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 18 - 08:26 AM
OldNicKilby 11 Jan 18 - 08:45 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 18 - 08:57 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 18 - 09:05 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 18 - 10:45 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 18 - 10:54 AM
Bruce D 11 Jan 18 - 06:54 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 04:27 AM
Richard Mellish 12 Jan 18 - 09:51 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 10:55 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 11:35 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 12:03 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 12:41 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 01:10 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 01:30 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 01:33 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 01:59 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 02:18 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 02:47 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 02:55 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 02:56 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 03:10 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 05:13 PM
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Subject: Maid of Australia
From: bill\sables
Date: 12 Mar 99 - 06:45 PM

I am looking for the words of the song Maid of Australia I think the first lines went something like this; "One day when I strolled by the Oxborough Banks Where the maids of Australia play their wild pranks." Roy Harris used it sing it in the U.K. around twenty years ago Cheers Bill.


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From:
Date: 12 Mar 99 - 06:56 PM

In Peter Kennedy's 'Folksongs of Britain and Ireland', #183, from Harry Cox. I think it's also on a Harry Cox recording.


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: Pete M
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 03:05 PM

Bill, I've got a recording of it by Martyn Wyndham-Read somewhere, I'll dig it out if you can't find Kennedy's book.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: bill\sables
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 03:30 PM

thanks pete I don't have Kenedy's book I have been looking for this song for a while


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Subject: ADD: Maid of Australia
From: Martin Graebe
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 06:41 PM

This version was collected by Sabine Baring-Gould from George Doidge of Chillaton in West Devon on 28th September 1896. The missing line in verse three in other versions has the young woman floating on her back.

This has been transcribed from the unpublished Baring-Gould manuscripts
(see www.btinternet.com/~greenjack/sbghome.html)

MAID OF AUSTRALIA


As I walked out upon Oxberry Banks
Where the fair pretty maidens were playing their pranks
Then beneath the green bushes I sat myself down
To view the sweet damsels that flourished around
    In the forests of happy Australia
    In the forests of happy Australia
    Where the maidens are handsome and gay

Then a beautiful damsel to me did appear
To the banks of the river the light did draw near
Then slipped off her clothes, before me did stand
As fair as did Venus just come from the wood
    In the forests of happy Australia
    In the forests of happy Australia
    Where the maidens are handsome and gay

She plunged in the river without fear or dread
With her hands all extended in swimming outspread
Her long lovely hair hung in ringlets so slack
(line omitted)
    In the forests of happy Australia
    In the forests of happy Australia
    Where the maidens are handsome and gay

Like lightning I hasted and came to the strand
When her feet chanced to slip and she slid on the sand
With my arm round her waist I so closely did twine
Till the Sun in the west had begun to decline
    In the forests of happy Australia
    In the forests of happy Australia
    Where the maidens are handsome and gay

(two lines omitted)
Then I left the fair maid in Australia behind
To pace forth her sighs and to mourn in the wind
    In the forests of happy Australia
    In the forests of happy Australia
    Where the maidens are handsome and gay


Martin


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 01:49 AM

G'day all,

If anyone tries to find the aforementioned Oxborough or Oxberry River they will be in trouble but the Hawkesbury River, some 40 kilometres north of Sydney, is were these inter-racial encounters happened.

I will see if we have an Australian collected version (nothing against the dear old Rev S-B).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE MAID OF AUSTRALIA
From: Pete M
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 03:12 PM

Hi Bill, better late than never I hope.

Despite Bob's note above, Martyn definitely sings "Oxborough" on the recording I've got. Although Martyn spent many years in Australia, he doesn't give any indication where he learnt the song, so I don't know if it counts as an "Australian collected" version.

THE MAID of AUSTRALIA

As sung by Martyn Wyndham-Read

One day as I walked by them Oxborough Banks
Where the maids of Australia they play their wild pranks,
Down by a green bush I sat down to read
While the birds they sang sweetly in the bushes and trees
In the forests of happy Australia,
In the forests of happy Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

And as I sat viewing this beautiful scene
All the birds they sang sweetly and the trees they were green,
A pretty fair damsel before me appeared
To the banks of the river she swiftly drew near
This daughter of happy Australia,
This daughter of happy Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

Well she stripped stark naked, before me she stood
Just as naked as Venus that rose from the flood,
She blushed with confusion and smiling said she,
"These are the clothing that nature gave me
On the day I was born in Australia."
On the day I was born in Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay

Well she plunged in the stream without fear or dread,
Her delicate limbs she extended and spread,
Her hair hung in ringlets her colour was black,
"Sir, you shall see how I float on me back
In the streams of me native Australia."
In the streams of me happy Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

But growing tired of swimming she drew to the brink,
"Oh assistance kind sir, I'm afraid I shall sink."
I flew to her aid and took hold of her hand,
Her feet they did slip she fell back on the sand,
And I entered the bush of Australia,
And I entered the bush of Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

We kissed and we cuddled in the highest of glee,
The fairest Australia me eyes they did see,
Long time on her bosom me head I did hide,
'Til the sun in the West it began to decline,
Then I left this fair maid of Australia,
Then I left this fair maid of Australia,
Just as the sun went down.

Pete M
^^


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 12:19 AM

Sam Larner sang this one evening at the Princess Louise in London (1958). He was the great old traditional singer that contributed so much to MacColl's "Singing the Fishing." I remember the almost Music Hall style of his delivery, with many broad gestures to the audience, a delightfully stagey performance. At the point where he sang "I entered the bush of Australia," the gesture was a hilariously obscene pantomime. His audience loved it!

I'm quite sure I also heard Bert Lloyd sing it, at one time or another, so it apparently had a long and lusty life in England, even before Martyn came home.

Sandy


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Subject: ADD Version: The Maids of Australia
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 01:18 AM

G'day all, (and Pete M)

This one was collected in Australia, as noted below. I know of no other Australian collected version - the most common version comes from McCarthy's collection of British Bawdy Songs. There is no indication that any of Martyn's versions are from 'field collection ... he heard old singers in his time in the bush but, just like A.L. Lloyd in his youthful experiencxe of Australia, was not a collector, just a young pom impressed by a new and different folk tradition.

In the latter years of his time in Australia he experienced the new (1960s) wave of the 'Folk Revival' and became an excellent revival singer - who introduced some fascinating new UK songs (I remember particularly his rendition, on ABC TV, of Ewan MacColl's The First Time Ever) and took a great swag of newly collected work back to Britain and made it well-known in the UK.

Pete M: I was not suggesting that iggerant poms sing anything other than the incorrect renderings of Hawkesbury that have been documented in this thread ... what more could you expect? I was just telling people where it actually was.

I would dearly love to have heard old Sam Larner sing this song ... That wicked chuckle of his should have been bottled - it is worth re-playing the Radio Ballad Singing the Fishing just to hear it!

If anyone is interested, I will check out the tune to Warren's collected version against the British versions above and post the ABC/MIDI of it.

Regards,

Bob Bolton

Warren Fahey, Eureka - The Songs That Made Australia, Omnibus Press (a division of Music Sales Pty Ltd), Sydney, 1984, p44.

Collected from Jim Cargill, of Randwick New South Wales, in 1973, by Warren Fahey. Compare the known British version of Sam Larner where opening refers "One day as I walked near those Oxeborough Banks"

This is one of Australia's erotic folk songs chock full of good old fashioned imagery. "The bush of Australia" is not to be found on the map! When the singer of this song was performing for the collector he carefully closed all the windows "just in case the landlady heard any of the verses"

THE MAIDS OF AUSTRALIA

One day as I strolled by the Hawkesbury banks,
Where the maids of Australia, they play their wild pranks,
Near a palm shaded tree I laid myself down,
To admire the young damsels who gather around
The banks of that stream in Australia,
Round the banks of that stream in Australia,
Where the maids are all handsome and gay.

Soon a charming young damsel before me appeared,
She came for to bathe in the streams close by here,
With kissing and caressing she then said to me:
"Can't you see it's the dress kind nature gave me,
On the morn I was born in Australia,
On the morn I was born in Australia,
Where the maids are all handsome and gay."

Soon exhausted by swimming she swam to the brink,
"Come and save me kind sir, I'm afraid that I'll sink",
Like lightning I sprang and got hold of her hand,
I tried for to rise but fell back on the sand,
And I entered the bush of Australia,
And I entered the bush of Australia,
Where the maids are all handsome and gay.

Soon the eighth month was over and the ninth month had come,
And the charming young damsel brought forth a fine son.
She looked for his dad but nowhere could be found
It's then she remembered that fall on the ground,
On the banks of that stream in Australia,
On the banks of that stream in Australia,
Where the maids are all handsome and gay.


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: Pete M
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 07:21 PM

Hi Bob, thanks anyway for the clarification, but I didn't take your comment any way other than as you intended, ie that you were "...just telling people where it actually was." In turn I was only trying say that having read your post, I checked Martyn's version, knowing that he had spent some time in Austalia, in case he gave the correct name, and I had mis-heard it.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: freda underhill
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 11:13 AM

I have a tape of this song somewhere in the back of a cupboard - A. L. Lloyd singing it.


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 11:26 AM

It's one of those songs that always sounds like masturbatory wishful thinking to me.


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 12:23 PM

There's a version in MacColl and Seeger's The Singing island, 1960. I remember only that Lloyd collected it, but can't recall the details.


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 12:53 PM

That was from Sam Larner of Winterton, Norfolk, 1958 (Singing Island, p 22). I don't think that Lloyd was the "collector"; MacColl merely quotes a comment of Lloyd's from the Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society on the subject of the river name, which had been made with reference to Harry Cox's set. It will have been Sam's set that Martin Wyndham Reed sang, I think. Beside Harry Cox, Walter Pardon also sang it; in the late 1970s, Jim Carroll and Pat MacKenzie recorded it from two other singers at Winterton. They had, presumably, learned it from Sam. The Roud Folk Song Index lists it at number 1872; it has also turned up in Newfoundland and Arizona.


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 02:36 PM

Thanks, Malcolm. I'm slowly learning not to push the memory cells too far.


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: Snuffy
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 07:58 PM

J M Carpenter also collected a version in 1928 from a retired sailor, Robert Yeaman, in Dundee


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 10:08 PM

From Peter Kennedy's bootleg cd, presumably. I don't think that one's listed in the Carpenter Index, so perhaps written documentation was lacking. Carpenter got sets from William Prosser and William "Paddy" Gaul (Royal Alfred, Belvedere, London, 1928) as Hawksbury Banks, though the tunes are classed as Maids of Australia (http://www.hrionline.ac.uk/carpenter/.


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: Snuffy
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 08:37 AM

I have previously had cause to doubt some of the attributions on Kennedy's Carpenter CDs, and this may be another such case.

The Carpenter index lists seven songs from Yeaman/Yeoman, which do not include Maid of Australia. In addition there is a separate sheet listing Yeaman's repertoire. As that is 7 lines long, we may perhaps safely infer that it contains the 7 songs in the online index.

In that case the singer on the CD is unlikely to be Yeaman, and may be Prosser or Gaul.


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: pavane
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 08:56 AM

I don't think anyone has mentioned that there is a version in the Bodleian Ballad collection, dated before 1885.

The Maids of Australia
(Scroll down to it.)


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 09:33 AM

I have no idea of the accuracy of it, but ballad scholar Bob Thomson put forward the idea that Oxborough Banks referred to Oxborough Hall on the banks of the River Gadder, near Kings Lynn, in Norfolk.
Bob said that there was a settlement nearby made up of transportees who had served their sentences in Australia and returned to the area.
He believed this to be the explanation for why the song was so popular in East Anglia.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 09:36 AM

I'm familiar with this song by the recording from Peter Bellamy.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: pavane
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:19 AM

Me too.

I met Peter when I was living in Luxembourg 1984 (I think it was). He came out for a holiday with his then brother-in-law Chris Birch whom we knew (additional voice on some of his recordings) and he got conned into giving a concert. I might have a poor quality recording somewhere of an interview with him on RTL Community (English language radio).

Chris Birch played fiddle for us when we tried to start a Morris side there. It folded after we left due to end of contract.


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: IanC
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:45 AM

Jim

Since by far the largest proportion of transportees came from East Anglia, there's little need to search any further for an answer to that question.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:54 PM

There was a Folk Music Journal article on the song many years ago. I remember reading it about 30 years ago after finding a copy of the song written down among my great great grandfather's letters. A lot more versions seem to have come to light since then.

On the basis of the FMJ article I thought I had the oldest version but the Bodleian seems to have trumped me.


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Subject: RE: Maid of Australia
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 03:23 PM

"Since by far the largest proportion of transportees......"
IanC; is that true? - I really didn't know that.
Thanks,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: req/ADD: Maid of Australia
From: freda underhill
Date: 10 Feb 11 - 06:46 PM

Maid of Australia words and recording are here on the Australian Folk Song a Day website.


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Subject: RE: req/ADD: Maid of Australia
From: cloudstreet
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 01:12 AM

Thanks Freda. Beat me to it.

John


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Subject: Origins: Maid of Australia
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 01:20 AM

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

Oxeborough Banks (Maids of Australia)

DESCRIPTION: The singer settles under a tree to watch the girls bathe. One catches his eye -- and he hers. She calls him to rescue her from sinking. (He then "entered the bush of Australia.") Nine months later she bears a son whose dad "nowhere could be found"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1952 (recording, Harry Cox)
KEYWORDS: courting seduction pregnancy abandonment river sex
FOUND IN: Australia Britain(England(Lond)) Canada(Newf) US(SE)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Fahey-Eureka, pp. 44-45, "Maids of Australia" (1 text, 1 tune)
Paterson/Fahey/Seal, pp. 269-270, "Maids of Australia" (1 text)
Peacock, pp. 276-277, "The Gay Maid of Australia" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy 183, "The Maid of Australia" (1 text, 1 tune)
Logsdon 27, pp. 163-166, "The Banks of My Native Australia" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #1872
RECORDINGS:
Everett Bennett, "The Gay Maid of Australia" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
Harry Cox, "The Maid of Australia" (on FSB2, FSB2CD)
Unidentified Mississippi singers "The Fair Maids of Australia" (AFS 15014 A3, 1930s)

NOTES: The Hawkesbury River reaches the sea north of Sydney at Broken Bay, NSW. - PJS
Last updated in version 2.6
File: FaE044

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


And here are the Digital Tradition lyrics:

THE MAID OF AUSTRALIA

One day as I walked by them Oxborough Banks
Where the maids of Australia they play their wild pranks,
Down by a green bush I sat down to read
While the birds they sang sweetly in the bushes and trees
In the forests of happy Australia,
In the forests of happy Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

And as I sat viewing this beautiful scene
All the birds they sang sweetly and the trees they were green,
A pretty fair damsel before me appeared
To the banks of the river she swiftly drew near
This daughter of happy Australia,
This daughter of happy Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

Well she stripped stark naked, before me she stood
Just as naked as Venus that rose from the flood,
She blushed with confusion and smiling said she,
"These are the clothing that nature gave me
On the day I was born in Australia."
On the day I was born in Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay

Well she plunged in the stream without fear or dread,
Her delicate limbs she extended and spread,
Her hair hung in ringlets her colour was black,
"Sir, you shall see how I float on me back
In the streams of me native Australia."
In the streams of me happy Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

But growing tired of swimming she drew to the brink,
"Oh assistance kind sir, I'm afraid I shall sink."
I flew to her aid and took hold of her hand,
Her feet they did slip she fell back on the sand,
And I entered the bush of Australia,
And I entered the bush of Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

We kissed and we cuddled in the highest of glee,
The fairest Australia me eyes they did see,
Long time on her bosom me head I did hide,
'Til the sun in the West it began to decline,
Then I left this fair maid of Australia,
Then I left this fair maid of Australia,
Just as the sun went down.



As sung by Martyn Wyndham-Read
@bawdy @sex
filename[ MAIDAUST
TUNE FILE: MAIDAUST
CLICK TO PLAY
PM
APR99


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 03:48 PM

There's an extensive discussion of "Maids of Australia" in this thread (click), a thread about Steve Roud's book, Folk Song in England.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 01:31 PM

Thanks, Joe. Bump!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 04:46 AM

It seems better to continue discussion of this particular song here rather than in what should be a much more general thread.

I'm interested that we have at least one version collected in Australia that does refer to "Hawkesbury" rather than "Oxborough", "Oxberry" or suchlike. However it looks somewhat degenerate in other respects: fewer verses, and verse 2 line 3 referring to "kissing and caressing", which makes much better sense later in the story, after he has helped her from the water. This suggests that the Aussie version had knocked around in the tradition for a bit, so "Oxborough" could be original and "Hawkesbury" a rationalisation by an Aussie singer.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: GUEST,julia L
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 05:50 AM

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/investigation-dead-koala-found-screwed-084555617.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: OldNicKilby
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 07:17 AM

Perhaps it might be worth looking at Martin Grebe's post of 1999. Baring -Gould collected a version some 120 years ago


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 08:26 AM

"Perhaps it might be worth looking at Martin Grebe's post of 1999. Baring -Gould collected a version some 120 years ago"
It is interesting to note that (according to the Rud index) his version was confined to his private papers and not for general public consumption
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: OldNicKilby
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 08:45 AM

Yes Jim, so it was in 99 but things have changed
Regards
Old Nic


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 08:57 AM

It might be worth putting the points I intended here rather that 'the other' thread
Bearing in mind that it was Professor "Bob" Thomson, who was the first to put forward the extent to which folk songs appeared on broadsides (circa 1970) and who based his PhD on the subject, who researched this song fairly extensively and linked it to the returned transportee settlement on the banks of the Ox River near Oxborough Hall in Cambridgeshire
This might have been pure speculation, of course, but without solid facts, that's as good as we've got to go on.
A major motif of the song, 'pubic symbolism', is as old as time itself and appears in several songs, including 'Bird in the Bush' and 'Little Ball of Yarn'
This latter has even entered children's folklore in the form of the American children's game described by Gershon Legman in (I think) his Vance Randolph's collection, where children would throw a ball of thread into a 'haunted house' and invite the resident 'ghost' to - "wind up my little ball of yarn"
'Maid of Australia' was almost certainly far more popular than it apparently appeared to be, but was largely missed or deliberately avoided by Victorian and Edwardian collectors because of its "unacceptable" subject matter.
None of this proves definitely that the song was of 'folk' rather than literary origins, but to me it is an indication that it's theme is one that proliferates in folk songs and tales and has deep roots in the oral tradition
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 09:05 AM

"Yes Jim, so it was in 99 but things have changed"
Are we still discussing the reperoire of the latter half of the 19th century?
Thought we were
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 10:45 AM

'it's theme is one that proliferates in folk songs and tales and has deep roots in the oral tradition'.............

And in thousands of literary ballads and broadsides, far more than the folksong corpus!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 10:54 AM

In every single version the song is unequivocally set in Australia where there is, as everyone has posted, a Hawkesbury river where a seaman might have washed up at some point in his wanderings. Harry Cox had this as 'Oxborough' and once the tale or the song had reached Norfolk it is quite likely some singer or writer even spelt it in accordance with a local place. Now phonetically the two words are close enough to be interchangeable when spoken or sung. 'Bury' and 'borough' mean the same thing anyway. Bob's information is interesting but far from conclusive, or even the most likely scenario.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Bruce D
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 06:54 PM

Could "Oxborough" be a miss-transcription of the word Oxbow, which is a alternate name and older name for a Billabong.

Oxbow or Oxbow Lake

An oxbow lake is a U shaped body of water that forms when a wide meander from the main stem of a river is cut off, creating a free-standing body of water. This landform is so named for its distinctive curved shape, resembling the bow pin of an oxbow. In Australia, an oxbow lake is known as a billabong, from the indigenous language Wiradjuri. In south Texas, oxbows left by the Rio Grande are called resacas.
The word "oxbow" can also refer to a U-shaped bend in a river or stream, whether or not it is cut off from the main stream.   Ref: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxbow_lake

Bruce D


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 04:27 AM

"Bob's information is interesting but far from conclusive, or even the most likely scenario."
There is no "most likely" about song origins Steve - we simply don't know and have to base any guess on all the information at hand
Bob, despite his knowledge of broadsides, related the song to the Oxborough area and its returned transportees settlement, thus giving it an Australian connection
It doesn't mean the song was made in Australia, or even about a specific place there - it might well be that a singer/maker might well have chosen a name he or she was familiar with
"Most likely" is more a suggestion of competition rather than a friendly exchange of opinion and information.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 09:51 AM

As Steve says, this song is unequivocally set in Australia. And yet it's only an apparently later version that names a real Australian location (Hawkesbury), with the fuller (probably earlier) versions giving similar sounding but different names. And it's still at best only informed guesswork as to whether the person who first made it was a sailor or a returned convict (who might have been familiar with the Hawkesbury River) or a professional broadside writer; and whether it is a total fantasy or based (closely or loosely) on a real encounter.

I think my money would be on a broadside writer who either had previously been a sailor or convict or had got the tale from such a man, and on the tale having some basis in fact.

Maybe a chap in Norfolk boasting about his real or fictional sexual exploits but, to avoid embarrassment, saying ("Oh it wasn't in these parts: it was when I was down under, by the Hawkesbury River, and she was a native girl".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 10:55 AM

My guess is that the Aussie singer linked it back to what is likely the original setting. The realisation that it was 'Hawkesbury' actually predates the recording of this Aussie version.

'There is no "most likely" about song origins'. I wonder if anyone would agree with this one. Bit of a daft statement really. A song about Napoleon that 'most likely' originated some time after he was born, for instance. What about all of those songs that tell reasonably accurately about a historical event?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 11:35 AM

"I think my money would be on a broadside writer who either had previously been a sailor or convict"
Baed on what Richard - is it so difficult to concede that it might - just have been made by a country singer
Unless, of course, you can come up with examples of broadside makers who were former convicits or transportees
I wish I could shake off the feeling that some people don't want the country singers to have made their songs - even though some people have conceded (or paid lip service to the fact that they were able to do so
What is it that makes the 'art' of the broadside writer so special?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 12:03 PM

"Bit of a daft statement really."
Please don't be obtuse or point-scoring, we are not talking about the songs limited by their subject matter; we are discussing those without a reference point
I have not doubt that broadside makers had a field day with the Napoleonic wars, you read 'Hardy's Trumpet Major' or take into account that this period was known as 'The Age of Revolution', you would need to concede (or not) that what as happening in France could very easily have inspired rural song making
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 12:41 PM

'I wish I could shake off the feeling that some people don't want the country singers to have made their songs - even though some people have conceded (or paid lip service to the fact that they were able to do so' (JC)

How many times do we have to state that we all believe implicitly that country people are well capable of making songs? We haven't CONCEDED anything. We have said this from the off and have given plenty of examples on numerous occasions.

There is nothing special about the art of the broadside writer. There is an enormous range of ability there, ranging from very poor to excellent, as there is in just about any genre.

So Hawkesbury river and Australia are not reference points then?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 01:10 PM

"How many times do we have to state that we all believe implicitly that country people are well capable of making songs"
And how often do I have to point out that 94 to 100% indicated that that "belief" is little more than lip service - confirmed by your passing of such writings as that of retired farmers writing about their own experiences
If you accept that country people were capable of writing our folk songs than you have to concede that they are the most likely candidates for having done so, all else being taken into consideration
"There is nothing special about the art of the broadside writer. "
I agree absolutely - their work is almost uniformly poor and shows all the evidence of being hastily carried out
I've asked that you point out a collection from those I mentioned that include singable songs
Nothing so far
"So Hawkesbury river and Australia are not reference points then?"
Of course they are, but not necessarily to the songs
You have described Bob Thomson's theory as unconvincing, yet he gives the song an Australian context by setting it in an area which included a returned convict settlement, where you would place it's origins in the City (Glasgow and Manchester, wasn't it?)   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 01:30 PM

'you have to concede that they are the most likely candidates for having done so,'(JC) No. I certainly do not. You have been given plenty of reasons why the vast majority of songs produced by the rural population didn't make it into print and therefore not into the tradition.

I didn't place its origins anywhere. I simply said it was printed in London, Glasgow and Manchester. So let's get this right, you and Bob are saying the song is set in Norfolk?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 01:33 PM

'Nothing so far'.(JC) I don't need to. You are giving us plenty of examples 'Banks of the Sweet primroses'. But I can give you hundreds if you wish. Better still get copies of the second editions of Marrow Bones, The Wanton Seed and Southern harvest. You will find plenty of examples in there.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 01:59 PM

"You are giving us plenty of examples 'Banks of the Sweet primroses'."
I'm not talking about individual songs and you know it
I asked for singable broadside collection
You haven't the slightest where Banks of Sweet Primroses originated
You yet to prove that a single folk song originated on the broadside presses
I gave you the list of collections I ploughed through
Perhaps you might find one there


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 02:18 PM

Whether they are singable songs or not is purely a matter of opinion.
You quoted 'Holloway and Black' to me and I came back with I think it was 30 songs that became folk songs. I can list them if you wish. A quick look at Vol 2 confirms this.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 02:47 PM

"You quoted 'Holloway and Black' to me and I came back with I think it was 30 songs that became folk songs"
You recommended Holloway and black a long tome before that and I pointed out there were no singable songs in either volume - several folk songs that appear to have been "broadsideified" for the Urban audiences
No cigar, I'm afraid
Try again
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 02:55 PM

"I came back with I think it was 30 songs that became folk songs."
You provided no list whatever to songs from Holloway and Black
Where are you getting this from?
Seagoing and land labouring hacks, hacks with the time to study folklore and folk tales, Child coming around to the idea that broadsides weren't that bad after all, respected scholars that overlooked that the songs they regarded as originating with the folk were actually being churned out by the broadside presses down the road, an editor of the greatest collection of ballads who was having trouble distinguishing between those and his literary poetry, elitists who attributed folk songs to the folk....
Pulitzer Prize for fiction, here you come!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 02:56 PM

You're getting your facts and opinions mixed up again, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 03:10 PM

These are all your own twists and turns, Jim. For the nth time, quote me accurately or not at all.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of Australia / Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 05:13 PM

For the 50 (and more) folk songs in Holloway & Black see the 'Folksong in England' thread. Yes, it was Ashton's Sea Songs we were discussing last time.


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