Saturday, March 26, 2011

Doing Time


It's a bitter day of sorrow
When you drink the cup of shame
You're branded with a number
And forced to give your name
You put on them dirty garments
As the outcome of your crime
'Tis a bitter day of sorrow boy
When you're doing time

At night you are surrounded
By four great white-washed walls
You will hear the hours chiming
As the warder makes his calls
Or maybe you are dreaming
Of the one you love so well
When suddenly you're wakened
By the ringing of the bell

You roll your nap in silence
As you listen to the chime
'Tis a bitter day of sorrow boy
When you're doing time
This hill of life's a steep one
A long and dreary climb
But it's twice as long and steep my boy
When you're doing time

Another great song collected by Ron Edwards. From the Big Book of Australian Folk Songs. This recording with Steve Cook on guitar.

The photograph accompanying this post is of a Chinese prisoner, named Gee Dee.

This from the Public Record Office Victoria site:
The first photographic evidence of Chinese prisoners in the prison registers appears in 1863. Gee Dee was sentenced in 1860 to two years imprisonment for robbing a store. In October 1863, at 40 years of age, he was convicted of murder for the brutal stabbing of William Humffries in his Bright store. It was then that a photograph was placed on his record.

Gee Dee’s death sentence was commuted to hard labour for life, with the first three years in irons. He was released after 21 years, aged 61, was paid £5.9.11 and given a ‘suit of clothes’.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful John. I've not heard this before. Will share widely. This blog is brilliant. Love, K