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Australian Sea Songs - Pirates, Port and Prison Ships

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This first volume of Australian Sea Songs contains 30 songs which span two centuries of Australian history. The traditional tunes and transportation ballads which accompanied the arrival of the first fleet of prison ships soon gave rise to homegrown songs which reflected the momentous events occurring on Australia’s shorelines during the first century of European settlement: piracy, shipwrecks, voyages of discovery, immigration. By the second century maritime workers were writing songs which expressed their occupational identity while the poets and songwriters were increasingly looking towards the ocean for inspiration and fresh directions.



  • Old Botany Bay
  • Two Chronometers of Captain Cook
  • Chain Around My Ankle
  • Botany Bay
  • The Ballad of Thomas Muir
  • George Bass
  • The Cypress Brig
  • The Isle De France
  • Denis O’Reilly
  • The Shores of Botany Bay
  • The Roaring Days
  • Jim Jones


  • The Whaling Wife
  • The Pig and Whistle Roll
  • Sayonara Nakamura
  • The Stranded Ship
  • Ship Repairin’ Men
  • The Thirty Ton Line
  • The Night the Viz Went Down
  • Casting Off
  • Song of the Riveter
  • Ocean Liner


  • Sydneyside
  • Rose Bay Ferry
  • Stay on Shore
  • Sailor Home from the Sea
  • Glitters and Waters
  • The Swimmer
  • The Net
  • The Outside Track

John Broomhall was born in Broken Hill and his early albums reflect on the working life and landscape of Australia’s outback. He began gathering the songs which make up this current collection in the 1980’s. He was the shanty singer on the Bounty replica for the best part of a decade.

David De Santi is a folk music activist, festival organiser and has a keen interest in promoting, performing and publishing Australian folk music.

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