Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Song of the Sheet-Metal Worker

Words: John Dengate
Tune: Traditional (Valley of Knockanure)

Oh when I was a boy in Carlingford all sixty years ago,
The eucalypts grew straight and tall and the creeks did sweetly flow,
But times were hard when the old man died and the orchard would not pay
So I left the land for the factory bench and I'm working there still today.

I have earned my bread in the metal shops for forty years and more
My hands are hard and acid-scarred as the boards on the workshop floor.
My soul is sheathed in Kembla steel and my eyelids have turned to brass
And the orchard's gone, and the apple trees where the wind whispered through the grass.

The workbench is my altar where I come to take the host.
Copper, brass and fine sheet steel-father son and holy ghost.
The sacramental wine of work grows sour upon my tongue;
Oh the fruit was sweet on the apple trees when my brothers and I were young.

Another mighty song from a great writer from Sydney.


  1. Tony Suttor from the Territory alerted us to this. John D. says you sing the song beautifully,John T, but the words are The workbench is my altar where I come to take the host....This sustains the image of an altar, not the workshop....
    Keep going John you are doing well. Dale D.

  2. What a fine song! And well sung.

  3. The sound file has been updated with the correct lyrics. Much better. The original post used the lyrics from a mudcat post. All better.

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