The Ballad of Mick O’Shea’s

based on the song ‘I Wish I Were Back in Liverpool’ by Stan Kelly and Leon Rosselson

I wish I was back in Adelaide,
At Mick O'shea's where the craic flows free,
When Martin sang, and the Bodhrans rang,
and the ballads are very long.
Where Richard and Kath will fiddle a tune, 
and Donald's kilt you’ll see,
There were six on guitar, and three at the bar,
and it's Mick O'shea's for me.

There’s Charles and Pete on the boxes sweet,
Doug and Sean they play guitar,
There’s a welcome there, whoever you are,
Whether come from near or far,
Hear Gillian sing, of a broken ring,
Or the girl from county Clare,
With a tune and song, you won’t go wrong,
With the good folk you’ll meet there.

Well Barry will sing of the Wattle green,
And a rousing drover’s song,
Amanda’s whistle will fill the air,
As Reg he strums along.
And Moira with her camera poised,
Will catch the magic night,
If you spend an hour at Mick O’shea's,
The world it will be right,

There’s a Bog Down in the Valley oh,
It is the Soldier’s Joy,
Pat Horgan’s got a Forty Pound Float,
In the Mountains of Pomeroy,
As we March to the Centenary,
After the Battle of Aughirm,
Be sure to wear a Green Cockade,
So Lord Mayo will win,

The Yass Heroes

By Daniel Kelly – 2021

     D                     G                 
There’s a bend down in the river,
          C                G
Where the water’s running fast,
          C               G
And the shallow sand is hollowed,
       Am                D
Each step could be your last,

Edward Kiley and John Davis,
Had been told they couldn’t swim,
But the voice of Sergeant Anderson,
     C         D         G
Was ignored in youthful whim,

          C             G  
I’m going down, I’m going down,
              D         G
The water’s flowing over me,
     C               G
Brother give me your hand,
          C       D    G
It’s so dark I cannot see

Help, help, the boys are drowning,
The call came up the hill,
Jeremiah and the other men,
The ran down with a will.

Jeremiah Mead the strong man,
Pride of the football team,
He dove into the water,
Amidst the children’s screams

Bill Sunderland a father,
At home a loving wife,
Despite not being a swimmer,
He strode in risking his life

Now four lay at the bottom,
The cruel water it flowed on,
The helpers and the helpless,
Their life and future gone,

Now in Yass stands a monument,
Right by the local pool,
A worn moss-covered obelisk,
Not far from the high-school,

A monument to courage,
And men who gave their lives,
Soldiers of strength and bravery,
On which our nation thrives.


Sisters of Yass

             G                 C         G
We left Rochfortbridge in the county of Meath,
              C        G             D
Bound for a land far away from our home,
      G                         C        G
The green field behind us, the future unclear
      C      G          D
Travelling into the unknown

     C      D         G
Far away    we       lie,
Under a sun burnt sky,
          C           G           C
In our dreams we fly back to our home
        C     D      G                
Ireland cool and green,
Family and Friends un-seen,
         C         D         Em                 
We are sharing a message of love
        C          D         G      
We are sharing a message of love

We first set foot in Yass, eighteen seventy five,
Strange country and people with hope in their eyes,
We brought wisdom and caring, built convent and school,
Sharing the joys of our home

We taught the young children, whatever their race,
Education is something to be given to all,
But with a government ruled by the small minds of men,
Native children were forced from our school.

Our legacy started a hundred years past,
But our voices still can be heard
In the laughter of children through Mt Carmel’s Halls
Our memories faithfully held


Rabbit Proof Fence

By Daniel Kelly – National ‘Sorry Day’, 26 May 2021

Mr Neville said they’d die out,
Said that it was nature’s way,
Now the white man owns the country,
And he’ll never go away.

Take the children from the parents,
To be civilised and tamed,
Take them from their kin and country,
Make them of their culture shamed.

C               G         
But there’s a line into the distance,
D                     G
goes back sixty thousand years,
C                     G
And I’m walking on it homeward,
     D               Em
Through my anger and my tears.

Young Daisy and Molly,
Back in 1931,
Taken to Moore River
From their home in Jigalong

But the land it has a voice,
And it calls into the heart,
Reaching out across the songlines,
We will never be apart.

Well Kevin he said sorry,
Back in 2008,
But the action that followed,
Well it surely wasn’t great.

From the heart there was a statement,
By the guardians of the land,
But the arrogance of Turnbull,
Dismissed it out of hand.

The Ballad of the Commercial Hotel

By Daniel Kelly – 2021

C       G         D        G   
Around 1850 she opened her doors,
   C         G             Am        D
A beer and a bed, for the traveling scores,
     G               D          Em       C
John Gibbons he dreamed of business done well,
           G               Bm         D         G
When he pulled the first beer at his Commercial Hotel

Just twenty years later, in the time of the flood,
The North of the town, it was buried in mud,
Mr Coles had a heart, and he answered the bell,
When he offered the rooms of the Commercial Hotel.

Sadly the fire, in 1903,
Started in the parlour, but quickly spread free,
Though the brigade fought hard, there was only a shell,
When the flames did their worst, to the Commercial Hotel

Just twenty years on, the hotel shined anew,
Mrs Johnstone employed great architects two,
Monk and Jeffs had plan, a contractor as well  
and Lawrence rebuilt the Commercial Hotel 

Last drinks were served just 16 years ago,
In a place that had built the community so,
Watching her decay, I know many tears fell,
No one is drinking, at the Commercial Hotel

But now comes the news, another buyer is found,
Will he be like the last, drive her into the ground,
We can only hope, as time it will tell,
If drink once again, at the commercial hotel.


Jarrett’s Private Tears

a parody of Stan Roger’s ‘Barrett’s Privateers’ by Daniel Kelly -2020

Oh the night was getting very late,
How I wish I was with Cheryl now,
When a phonecall came from my mate Stan,
He said come to town I’ll make you a man.

Gosh darn them all,
I was told, we’d would cruise the streets,
for a maid to hold, sire no sons, drink some beers,
now I’m a broke young man on the Sydney pier,
for a lass I cry my private tears.

Oh, Stan he said that he knew the town, HOW I WISH I WAS..
and ten great clubs where the ladies went
in which our money would be well spent

Well Stacey she was a lovely sight, HOW I WISH I WAS . . .
She'd a bottle of port and her dress half on
and said would I like all my worries gone,

I said yes please and she came real close, HOW I WISH I WAS..
Her hand reached down into my pants,
She took my phone and ran I had no chance

At 11:05 we moved again, HOW I WISH I WAS...
When a fit young Yankee hove in sight,
We asked if she could spare a light.

The Yankee said I don’t smoke your fools, HOW I WISH I WAS...
Lung cancer’s an awful way to go,
Would she like a drink? She said hell no!

Then I spied a lass two tables away, HOW I WISH I WAS . . .
I walked over to have chat,
Turned out she was a bloke named Pat.

The Antelope pub was the last we tried, HOW I WISH I WAS . . .
I must have smashed half a dozen kegs,
And I can’t stand straight on my own two legs

So I can’t get laid in my 33rd year, HOW I WISH I WAS . . .
It's been 6 hours since my mate Stan’s call
And I haven’t been close to a woman at all.


The Frederick

By Daniel Kelly - 2020

    G             C         D         G
Me name is James Porter, seafair’ns my game,
G                                 D
I’ve been out on the ocean, since I had name,
G             C                    G
But the stealing of silk, brought an end to my glee,
G             Bm            D        G
I was shipped to Australia and no longer free.

              C                    G
Now we’re sailing the Fredrick to Chile,
C                           D
Fleeing the lash and the chain,
     G                          C
Van Dieman’s land, is far far behind,
G           D      G   
Hope I never will see it again

On the Asia we sailed to van Diemen’s Land,
In Hobert I was sent out, a free working hand,
I worked hard for the Master’s, whichever I had,
But all of them turned out bankrupt or bad,

I developed the habit for daring escape,
The dreaded Sarah Island it then was my fate,
I witnessed the worst inclination of man,
The hanging and flogging so once more I ran.

Major Bailey set convicts to the shipbuilding trade,
When the order to move to Port Arthur was made,
To finish the Fredrick, he left 10 behind,
With only 9 free men, to keep us in line.

We developed a plan, to see ourselves free,
I had a young wife and a son in Chile,
We hijacked the ship, left the soldiers behind,
And sailed her east, for freedom inclined


You Bastards

By Daniel Kelly – 2020

G                              C  G
I was 18 when I joined the plant, in 1954,
Em            G                        D
To make the FJ Holden, like my father did before,
C                       Em     D          G                    C
We worked our fingers to the bone, on lathe and punch and vice,
       G                D          C      D         G
To build a stronger nation, we gladly paid the price.

         C                 G             C             G
But you sold us out you bastards, pissed us up against the wall,
       C             Em            C             D        G
In the race for power and profit, you have betrayed us all,

The Holdens roared at Bathurst, in 1968,
Mount Panorama’s winding turns, the drivers tempting fate,
A Monaro under Bruce McPhee, victorious on the hill,
Left Fords and Alfas in the dust, the nations cheering still,

The Kingswood was immortalised, on the country’s TV screens,
The car that was Australia, and everything that means,
Our nations heart infused, in glass and steel and chrome,
Symbolic of the culture, to call our very own,

The first nail in the coffin, was invasion by Japan,
1980’s Mitsubishi, conquered with sedan,
When Abott refused to lend and hand in 2013,
Holden’s future in Australia, could only be a dream.

Wombat Rural Fire Service

By Daniel Kelly – 2020

          G                              D
You may think you know the story of the wombat,
           C                             G
May have seen a couple of them at the zoo,
              G                                 C
But there’s a secret to this fine and furry fellow,
          D                              G
And it’s one that I will now relate to you,

Well the wombat he is good at digging burrows,
A subway network, just under the ground,
We never really understood its purpose,
But in this fire season it’s been found,

              C             G
It’s the wombat rural fire service,
              C                          D
A place for animals to hide when fire’s near,
              G                    C
They all shelter safely in the burrows,
       D                                 G
Of smoke and flames and embers have no fear

The wombat has a nose that’s like no other,
He can catch a whiff of smoke from miles away,
Then he grunts the news to koala, snake and parrot,
To come shelter in his burrow for the day,

The scientists have very often wondered,
Why the wombat builds more burrows than he needs,
Cause he’s a member of the rural fire service,
Saving others is the essence of his creed


Burned Through

by Daniel Kelly – 2019

C               G          Am                   C
Sifting through the ashes, in this place that was my home,
C                    G               Am                   D
Twisted steel and blackened concrete, all that’s left of what I own
C          G                    C               G
Australian’s we start again, at least that’s what I’ve been told,
C               G               Am              D
But today I won’t be starting, I just feel tired and old,

G               Bm  
Burned through, burned through,
C               G                   Am              D
When that wall of fire came, there was nothing I could do,
C                    G                     C          G
Reach a hand out to your neighbour, find a way to help them through,
C          G                    D
The heart of the country is burned through.

Well tom down the road, he fared better than me,
Lost the shed out the back, and his wife’s favourite tree,
But when I passed him in the street today, he wouldn’t catch my eye,
There is guilt in the survivor, some part that wonders why,

The polies will be here today, with their camera crew behind,
Looking for a hand to shake, they'll get a piece of my mind,
But I’m thankful to the firies, those souls so brave and fine,
Giving up their time, and sometimes lives, to try hold back the fire line

Finch in the Coal Mine

by Daniel Kelly - 2019

Em                                D
Here’s a story of Adani, and of Clive Palmer to,
           G                 D                    C     D       Em
How they promise jobs with better pay, but don’t care much for you,
All the profits will go overseas, or to the pockets of the few
Don’t pretend that you are helpless, There is much that you can do.

I am the finch in the coal mine, the symbol of despair,
Victim of a greedy age, the sweet prince of the air,
Don’t fail to heed my warning, Let’s shut the miners down,
Look to a cleaner future, Leave that poison in the ground,

They want to build a mine in Queensland, that will desecrate the home,
Of the last remaining black throat finch, leaving naught but broken stone,
They say the bird’s just a small price to pay, for our profits and our greed,
Who cares about their habitat, when we have mouths to feed.

Just like that poor canary, the finch is but a sign,
That with it’s sad departure, something worse comes down the line,
When you don’t respect the planet, and destroy it for your greed,
There will be nothing left to help you, come your hour of need.


Democracy Sausage

by Daniel Kelly 2019

G          C                          G          Em
It’s the sausage of democracy, the symbol of or land
     C               Am             G        D
Handed out at each election, by a dedicated hand.
C                    D               G               C
You can keep your revolution, and your president so grand,
D          C          D          G
By the sausage of democracy we stand.

G                                          C               G
Well the two main parties standing, they are pretty much the same,
C                          G               Am              D
Neither cares for the refugees, or believes in climate change,
C                               D               G          C
They’ve been knifing each other in the back, for near on 20 years,
C               D               G
Our democracy it just might end in tears

We’ve got fascists, we’ve got racists, and the peddlers of hate,
You can buy yourself a party, for 60 million mate,
There are people placed in power, by less than twenty votes,
Could be better governed by a herd of goats.

So when you’re standing in the queue, munching on your snag,
Just remember that while voting, might seem to be a drag,
You could be running from the allied bombs, in Baghdad or Baghouz
So do your part, what have you got to lose?

Yass Water

By Daniel Kelly – 2019

Here’s a story I will tell,
     C               G
One Yass residents know well,
     G                               D
One of the dirty little secrets of our town,
Turn the tap on at your sink,
     C                  G
You’ll be greeted by a stink,
G                    D               G
And a colour ranging from urine to brown.

C               G
Yass water, Yass water,
G                                         D
I’m sick of bathing in and cleaning with Yass Water,
All my clothes are turning brown,
A sickly odour to the town,
G                    D                   G
It’s well past time to clean up this Yass Water.

Well the smell’s hard to define,
Between mouldy socks and slime,
And the colour will just make your stomach turn,
Not fit to bath your kids,
Or boil up your squids,
And you better like wearing dirty brown,

There are some who don’t complain,
“We’re lucky to have water at all”, they explain,
But this here is the 21st century,
I pay $400 bucks a year,
To have this swill delivered here,
plus a dollar for each thousand gallons used.

A proper treatment plant,
The council says it can’t,
$11 million is too hard to find,
Just glad I have a rain tank,
Don’t have to drink that stank,
But it’s time the people stood up for themselves.


Another Mile

by Daniel Kelly

Am                 G
Walk another mile, ford another stream,
C             G         Am   G    Am
Cross another river, bury another dream
          C             G            Am
But it’s still so far to go to port Jackson

C                  G                   D         G
My name is William Clark, We wrecked of 90 mile beach,
C                  G         D                  Em  (D Am)
Survivors of the Sydney Cove, Sent north to bring relief,

By April of 97, we had started our long march,
600 miles to Jackson’s Port, through country wild and parched

Our party was just seventeen, when we started out that day,
Twelve Lascars from the orient, chief mate Thomson lead the way

We survived on fish and mussels, crossed a thousand streams,
Cut our feet on rocks and stones, 
spear wielding natives filled our dreams

After two months painful journey, we reached safety in mid-May
Of the 17 that started, only three made botany bay

Some were killed by natives, some by fatigue and thirst,
our 600 mile journey, confirmed this land is cursed

The truth of our survival, was lost to histories page,
The natives gave us food and drink, tracked our every stage.

But the help that they had given, was met with stony silence,
Governor Hunter thought it better, to justify the violence.


Yass Valley Wind Farm Song

       G                        C             G
As I sit on the back porch, of my thousand acre lot,
    D                               D             G
I look out on the gorgeous view, proud of what I’ve got,
      G                                   C        G
But now those flamin’ greenies, want to ruin it for me,
        C               G             D               G
With solar plants and wind farms, far as the eye can see.

          G                           C               G
I don’t want your flamin’ wind farm, here in my back yard,
       D                                   D                    G
Just put the darn thing somewhere else, sure it can’t be that hard,
         G                                    C       D     Em
Give me coal seam gas and strip mines, but somewhere else instead,
              C                G          D             G
Cause by the time the planet boils, I’m sure I will be dead

I’ve done all of the research, on the inter webs,
Those windmills don’t make power, kill bats and birdies dead,
They send out emanations, that brainwash all the sheep,
And adding insult to injury, they make it hard to sleep.

Now I’ve convinced the council, to keep us in the past,
There won’t be any wind farms, my view is safe at last,
It’s a pity about the weather, no water for the crops,
No future for my grand kids, but at least my view is tops.

Washpen Creek

by Daniel Kelly

   Em      G        D       Em
If you go down, by washpen creek,
       C       G       Em
You better go with a friend.

       Em                 G       D        Bm
For the things that were seen,by washpen creek,
              Em      D            Em
Have caused many a strong mind to bend.
Jerimiah Mcarthy was down by the creek,
Watching the Davis Sheep,
When a shot from behind, it blew his mind,
Sending him to eternal sleep.

Tom Robinson the drifter, was accused of the crime,
The police sought to hunt him down,
But they needed a blanket, from the grave,
To strengthen the case for the crown.

Four troopers set out, to find the grave,
On a find and sunny day,
As soon as the shovel, it hit the earth,
The sky grew dark and gray.

A crack of thunder, it shook the earth,
A terrible roar was heard,
And a raging white bull, appeared on the hill,
The men said not a word.

The bull it charged, fire in its eyes,
It stopped at McCarthy’s grave.
He raised his head, and let out a cry,
That would curdle the blood of the brave.

The bull dropped dead, the men they fled,
Told their story in the town,
But when others returned, a few days hence,
No trace of the bull was found.

It’s said that Tom, was later caught,
And punished for his crime,
But each night in his cell, he never slept,
As a White Bull ravaged his mind.


The Elm Tree

by Daniel Kelly – 2018

C        F      G   C    F        G       C
Standing by the river, looking up to the town,
C            G           F        C
My roots are deep, my branches strong,
F          G         C        F         G
My life a note in,  natures song.

         F           G      C          F            C         G
Through flood and wind and fire, I’ve stood here through the years,
       F        G      Em     Am       F      G         C
I’ve seen the changes come and go, the smiles and the tears.

I was born in 1855, when Yass was still a child,
I watched her grow, from field to town,
As my branches rose, and roots grew down.

I’ve seen the young ones at my feet, play and dance and grow,
And lovers new, enjoy the view,
Sharing my shade, two by two

I’ve seen the river rage in flood, take bridge and building down,
I’ve seen the snow, seen the fire burn,
The wind it blows as the seasons turn,

The council tried to cut me down, a burden to maintain,
But I stand, still the same,
A watcher here, I will remain

Zombie Sheep of the Murrumbidgee


by Daniel Kelly 2018
       C                    G        Am              G
Henry O’Brien went out one night to check upon his flock,
          C            G                 Am        G     Am
When he beheld an unearthly sight, that sure gave him a shock,
     G             Am                    G                  Am
A pair of red eyes in the dark, was the first thing that he saw,
    C                 G              Am     G        Am                        
A pale ewe, standing alone, blood dripping from it’s maw.

      Am     G               Am
The zombie sheep of the murrumbidgee x3

He crossed himself and said a prayer as it started to advance,
And when it gave a chilling howl, he nearly wet his pants,
O’Brien he ran back to the town, as fast as he could run,
He called on Dutton and on Hume, saying, better bring your guns.

The three men returned to the scene, with lanterns and well armed,
But as dawn broke upon the field, they had caused to be alarmed
Half eaten lambs lay everywhere, some still being devoured,
The blood lust in the maddened sheep made every man a coward.

It could have been the moonlight, or something in the soil,
Maybe poison in the water, that caused their blood to boil.
The rifles fired at the ewes, until they all were dead,
And as the men rode back to town, not a word was said.

Better Than Decent Girls

A song I wrote about the young girls who arrived in Yass in March 1850 from Ireland.
Many were orphans, fleeing the famine that had been caused by the English.

     G          D               C          D
The English had caused, the death of my people,
C          G               D
1 million had starved by 1849,
G               D     C              D
Cast from our farms, with no means of production,
G            C        G
Refugees in our own land.

G                   C           G            D 
Some needles and thread and a few yards of cotton,
C             G                 G              D
Packed in a trunk, with all the clothes that I own,
G          C          G          D
My family and Ireland will soon be forgotten,
      C         G          D    G
As I face a new life in Australia

In the crowded work houses of Galway and Kerry,
The offer was made of a hope for new life,
On the Thomas Arbuthnot, near two hundred brave women,
set out from England, bound for Botany Bay.

They journeyed inland, by steamer and wagon,
Nearly 200 miles, from Sydney to Yass,
Farmed out as cheap labour, to squatters and settlers,
Mothers to children, mothers to the land.

Being Irish and Catholic, sure was a struggle,
The protestant Scotts and the English were harsh,
Facing the same trials far away from their homeland,
Along with the harsh and dangerous land

William’s Razor

William leave me alone,
     C          G
William leave me alone,
          C           D       G
Can’t you see that my love has flown?
   C      D       G
William leave me alone.

     G       C          G           D
One Sunday William walked out with his lover,
C            D      G
Down by the River in Yass
     C             D                 G         C
He turned to his sweetheart with steel in his eyes,
     C         G         D
Your family has marriage forbade,
     Em        C         D         G
He drew from his coat a razor so sharp,
     C      D           Em
I’ll end my life with this blade.
     C      D           G
I’ll end my life with this blade.

The young girl fled to her sister’s house,
And had laid her down to sleep,
She had locked the door, and taken the key,
Feeling that all was fine,
But William he came and broke through the door,
In his hand the razor did shine,
In his hand the razor did shine,

Let me in young girl, I must come in,
To cut your pretty young throat,
And once I have then cut my own,
Together we’ll forever lie,
For if I can’t have your sweet sweet love,
I know I’d rather die.
I know I’d rather die.

The young girl ran to save herself,
William put the blade to his throat,
He fell to the floor in a shower of blood,
Thinking to end his pain,
But Dr O’Connor was with a needle was skilled,
And gave him life again,
And gave him life again.