Sunday, November 21, 2010

More on New England's Battle Song

Back in February 2010 in Battle Song of New England I talked about  the New England New State anthem. I have reproduced the original post below so that you don't have to click back. Now I have more information on derivation.

Ulrich Ellis's biography (Ulrich Ellis, A Pen in Politics, Ginninderra Press, Charnwood ACT 2007) records:

One day, following my return to Canberra from the Armidale Convention (1949), I travelled to an East Gippsland development conference in Orbost. My companion was Leo Barry, of the Snowy River Shire Council, a tall, heavily built cattleman with a limp who called me before breakfast, at 6 a.m., waking me with a glass of whiskey. It was after my return journey with him from Orbost that I conceived the idea that I should write a song for the New England campaign. I transferred at Bombala to an old train and, while travelling towards Queanbeyan, at snail's pace, wrote on a piece of paper in my bag with the letterhead 'National Council of Women of the ACT' - my wife had been president of this body - the lines and chorus music of a battle song for New England. One of our friends in Canberra, Joy Harvie, wrote the music to accompany my verses but it was a long time - 1952 - until the song was endorsed by the New England Movement's executive. Since then other versions have been arranged, one of them by John Antill, who composed the music for the ballet Corroboree. (pp 212-213)   

I had no idea that there were other versions. Having heard the original, I would like to hear them.

The original post follows:       

The words and melody of the Battle Song of New England, the anthem of the New England New State Movement, were composed by Ulrich Ellis and arranged by Joy Harvie around 1952.

I first heard it as a sixteen year old at the convention in Armidale that launched Operation Seventh State, the major campaign that finally forced the first plebiscite. I say the first, because I still hope that there will be a second.

The Town hall was darkened, a spot light was shoe on the flag, and the battle song was sung by a very good singer. All very melodramatic, but effective none the less.  

The words of the New England Anthem follow:

Everywhere we hear a rousing song
Half a million people march along
New England is decreed
From the Hunter to the Tweed
Our cause is justly strong

We will raise the
Banner of New England
Work for New England
Fight for New England
We will raise the
Battle cry of freedom
Fight for our Liberty

Buccarumbi to Coraki
On the mountains you will hear the cry
Out upon the plain
You will hear it sung again
At Collarenebri

From the western borders to the sea
Tamworth links her fortunes with Taree
Thy join us in the fray
On the Hunter and Macleay
New England will be free

Where the Clarence sparkles in the sun
Where the Northern Rivers swiftly run
Where the Gwydir flows
By the cold Ben Lomond snows
Our Victories will be won

Soft Pacific breezes on the shore
Drive the fleecy breakers to a roar
Multiply and rise
Till they echo in the skies
They sing for evermore

The following reproductions from the Australian National Library show the original with music.

Sheet one


Sheet two



Anonymous said...

Yes it should be our state anthems

Don Kennedy said...

It may be better if New England sought independence from Australia

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi both. Sorry for the delay in responding.

Anon, it could indeed. Don, that's probably a bridge too far.