Thursday, June 16, 2011

Down in the Goldmine

Words: Unknown
Tune: Joseph Bryan Geoghegan

Coolgardie folk remember well, the torrent from the sky
Westralia's tunnels took the flood, men were forced to fly
It chilled the blood to have to hear the wailing whistle blow
As miner Vareschetti lay, a thousand feet below.

It's down in the goldmine, underneath the ground
Floods are apt to fill the mine, men are apt to drown
Dare the dark and the dreary water, send a diver down
Deep down in the gold mine, underneath the ground.

They heard a hammer down below and ran to break the news
To dare the gloomy catacomb, they sent for diver Hughes
It's half a hope or sudden death, no are you game to go
Where miner Vareschetti lies, a thousand feet below.

Fremantle found the diving gear, a train began to roar
The engine got the right of way, a hundred miles or more
It hit the track at 65 and it set the night aglow
Where miner Vareschetti lay, a thousand feet below.

A million gallons rose above the captive in the cave
Then diver Hughes, he brought him up and he left an empty grave
And life can keep a lamp alight if we are game to go
Where miner Vareschetti lay, a thousand feet below.

A song I found in a folio entitled, Moondyne Joe and Other Sandgroper Ballads. It is a parody of a music hall song, Down in the Coal Mine. This link is to the story which I first read about the rescue of this Italian miner from a flooded goldmine in the desert in 1907.

Enquiries around the folk scene in Australia have not revealed the songwriter's name. Any advice would be appreciated.

This recording taken from The Circus of Desires, cloudstreet's most recent album.

The illustration to this post is a contemporary photograph showing Modesto's rescuers.

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