Devil in the Steel

by Daniel Kelly - 2022
When we first came to this country,
We toiled with our hands,
Breaking stone and cutting trees,
All across the land.

But then there came a magic,
From far across the sea,
A way to trap the Geni,
     D         G         A
So the people might be free,

Devil in the steel,
Devil in the steel,
G                  D
No one asked how he feels,
That devil in the steel.
He works to pack our hay bales,
He works to grind the corn,
That devil’s been a working,
G             D         A
Since the day that he was born.

We trapped him in the iron,
We trapped him in the steel,
We fed him on the diesel,
And listened to him squeal,

We cooled his fire with water,
Lest he should get to hot,
While spinning up the fly wheel,
With everything he’s got.


Sometime that devil’s angry,
He’ll take an arm or hand,
From any pool unlucky soul,
Not careful where he stands.

If it wasn’t for that devil,
This country wouldn’t run,
We still worship that devil,
For all the work he’s done.

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


The Ballad of Theodosia Burr Alston

by Daniel Kelly - 2021

     Em                         G    D
On the white sandy beaches of Kitty Hawk,
     Em              D
in the winter of the year,
     Em                     G         D
If you lend your ear to the whistling wind,
     Em         C      G
A voice there you may hear.

     Am                   G
It floats out over the crashing sea,
     Em              D
Right mournfully it cries,
     Em                G        D
I’m coming father, oh, father dear,
     Em         C      G
But the water is in my eyes.

My son has died, this summer gone,
He was my night and day,
Just ten years old, the reaper stole,
His life, and my heart away.

He calls to me from in the grave,
Come join me mother mine,
I’m coming father, oh father dear,
But my dress weighs in the brine,

I watched you rise to power and fame,
And married as you chose,
I rode the scandal, and the shame,
That only a daughter knows,

To break the nation was your goal,
Conspiracy brought down,
I’m coming father, oh father dear,
But I fear that I will drown.

The storm it blew, as I sailed to you,
Off this North Carolina shore,
Our ship it fails in the wind and gales,
It cannot take much more,

I hold my portrait to my breast,
As sails and timber tear,
I’m coming father, oh father dear,
But death is in the air.

Now my spirit walks, this empty sand,
A hundred years gone by,
It may just have been my ghostly hand,
That helped the brothers fly,

I’ll walk here till the end of days,
And cry my tears of light,
For coming to you, oh father dear,
Is a dream long out of sight.


The Ballad of Louis Renault

By Daniel Kelly – 2021

       C                    F      C
Let me sing you the story of Louis Renault,
       F      C             Dm            G
A Frenchman that most of you probably don’t know
      C                    F      C
Louis is the father of all motor cars,
F                    C             G               C
His name should be known, and praised near and far.

Louis was a smart and a curious boy,
He’d rather build engines than play with a toy,
With his older brothers Mercel and Fernand,
He built a car business, renouned in the land.

In 1914, when war came to France,
Louis built tanks for the deadliest dance,
The Grand Cross awarded for the work he had done,
In the Legion of Honor, so rarely won.

But de Gaulle needed money, the resistance to pay,
He called Louis a traitor and put him away,
Murdered for money, not by communist plot,
But by a new French dictator, who had stolen the lot.

Despite Louis death, and his families false shame,
The Renault car maker continued its fame,
They built the Quarte Chevaux, fighting Morris and Bug,
A century of magic, from bitter stone dug.



Florence of the Airwaves

By Daniel Kelly – 2020

G                          C             G
Florence well she wanted to be an engineer,
C                          G                    D
The man down at the college, He said now listen here,
G                              C                G
We only take apprentices, and you clearly don’t work,
C                           G             D               G  
So she started her own business, take that you flamin’ jerk.

She then got into radios, and bought herself a store,
The famous Sydney Wireless Shop, you couldn’t ask for more,
Twas there she learn’t the code of Morse, and workings of the HAM,
She could soon tap out a dot or dash as quick as any man.

       C                    D             G             C     
Hear Florence on the Airwaves, in nineteen twenty two,
       D                                             G
A woman showed the world, there is nothing they can’t do.
       C                          G             Em
This mistress of the radio, the signal and the code,
       C                  D          G
We never repaid the debt that she is owed.

To give every women freedom, from shackles of house chores,
was the role of electricity, in the patriarchy wars,
Florence taught a thousand women, the secrets of the air,
an army of lady signalers, as for war we did prepare.

Florence went to Billy Hughes, let my girls join the fight,
But a girl in Navy uniform, he just thought it wasn’t right,
Progress and sense prevailed, in nineteen forty one,
Fourteen girls arrived in Canberra, revolution had begun

Now Florence in her later life she never did slow down,
Pen pals with Albert Einstein, and honours from the crown,
Her school it trained the country for another thirteen years,
Freely helping servicemen, embark on new careers.

So I say thankyou Florence, for the courage that you shared,
A pioneer for women, one who taught and led and cared,
And if anyone should tell you, that a job’s just for a man,
You can tell them about Florence, because every woman can.

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


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.


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.


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.

The Ketch Ceres


words by Cicely Fox Smith, tune by Daniel Kelly

     G                             C                     G
A century and a quarter, full of chance and change had passed
             C                  G                C               D
Since they built her, down in Devon, where they mostly build to last,
      G                               C       D        Em              
And sent her out to earn her keep at risk of wave and war,
      C                 G                 D      G
And dodge the nimble privateer along the Biscay shore.

And war went out and peace came in and time it went and came,
And brought new changes every year but her it left the same;
The privateers they vanished and the Indiamen likewise,
And the first steam-kettle trailed her smoke across the affronted skies.

The tea fleet and the wool fleet, in their turn they had their day;
She marked them in their beauty as she plied upon her way,
Their canvas piled like summer clouds, …… like summer clouds they passed,
But —she was built in Devon and they build 'em there to last.

She loaded nuts and oranges, she carried coal and props,
And bricks and hay and china-clay and barley-malt and hops;
She traded north to Derry and she traded south to Spain,
And east about to Wells and Lynn and back to Byewd again.

She knew the rips and overfalls from London to the Lizard,
And once she nearly left her bones off Padstow in a blizzard,
But when winter fogs were thickest she could mostly smell her way
By the old familiar sea-marks into Bude or Watchett Bay.

And peace went out and war came in and forth she went once more
To dodge the nimble submarines along the English shore,
And war went out and peace came in and still she held together
Spite of floating mine and tin fish and the good old Channel weather.

She loaded salt and timber and she carried slate from Wales,
Cement and corn and cattle-cake and paving-stones and nails;
She worked her way to Liverpool and down the coast for cloam,
Across the war to Swansea Bay and then with slag for home.

But a time it comes to ships and men when sailing days are past,
Even such as hail from Devon, where they mostly build to last,
And her seams began to open and the Severn tide came through,
And the water kept on gaining spite of all that they could do.

They did their best to beach her but they couldn't do no more,
And she foundered at the finish there in sight of Appledore;
And her bones'll never flicker blue on any 'longshore fire,
For she'll lie there and she'll moulder as an old ship might desire,

And hear the vessels passing by and dream about the past
C                            G                 C        D        G
And the great old times in Devon, where they built her once to last.

The Widow Whitgift

By Daniel Kelly, 2017 (based on Dymchurch Flit, by Rudyard Kipling)
      Em                Am
The Widow Whitgift she stood at her door,
     G         Am         D
And gazed out over the marsh.
     Em                       D           C
The wind it did blow, and the sea it did roll
        Em            D               C
But a stranger sound broke the night air,
     G           D            Em
A stranger sound flew on the air.

A flutter of wings and a spark of green,
And Robin he stood at her side,
Saying Henry has trampled the homes of the Fey
And in England we can no longer bide,
In England we’ll no longer bide.

We’ve gather all here on the Romney Marsh
In search of a ship for to flee,
For now we must cross the channel to France,
In search of a home to be free,
For a land where our kind can be free

But I have no crew to sail the ship,
And I’m too old to sail myself,
But you have two sons, Robin did say
And awakened they stand on the shore,
Ready they stand on the shore.

The Widow she said, but one son is mute,
And the other son he cannot see,
Worry not Robin said, we’ll see them aright
Just give us your blessing to leave,
We need your blessing to leave.

The widow she sighed, afraid for her sons,
But nodded to Robin the same,
A thousand small footsteps they boarded the ship
And her two young songs they did the same,
Yes her two young sons boarded the same.

On the morning the Widow’s sons did return,
Safe to their mother’s side.
And it’s said that her family were blessed with the sight,
For her favour to all faery kind,
For her favour saved all faery kind.