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The Wreck of the Dandenong

[ Roud 22670 ; AFS 107 ; Ballad Index MA048 ; trad. / Kate Burke]

Kate Burke sang Wreck of the Dandenong in 2000 on her and Ruth Hazleton's CD A Thousand Miles or More. They noted:

The passenger steamer Dandenong was shipwrecked off the coast of Jervis Bay in 1876, and forty out of eighty-three passengers were lost in the wreck. This traditional Australian song was taken from an archival recording sung by Mary Byrnes and collected by John Meredith in 1954. It was given to us by Chris Sullivan. Kate transcribed and arranged this song, adding her own refrains throughout. These describe the anguish of a passenger aboard the sinking ship, thinking of home, loved ones and comfort.

Andy Irvine sang The Dandenong on his 2013 CD with Rens van der Zalm, Parachilna. In his chorus he changed the phrases “I dream of” to “I long for”. He noted:

The Dandenong, a song that Australian folk singer Kate Burke found in the archives of the National Library of Australia. Collected in 1954 by John Meredith from a Mrs Mary Byrnes, an old lady of Irish descent, the song tells the story of the loss of the Dandenong and most of its passengers during a voyage from Melbourne to Newcastle, NSW in 1876.

This video shows Andy Irvine in a concert in Weilburg, Germany, in 2014:

Sophie Crawford sang The Wreck of the Dandenong on her 2018 album Silver Pin. She noted:

I heard this song in Åland in Finland at the sea shanty festival, however it is from Australia.

Lyrics

Kate Burke sings Wreck of the Dandenong Sophie Crawford sings The Wreck of the Dandenong

Oh wild and furious blew the blast
And the clouds were hanging round
When the Dandenong from Melbourne sailed
To Newcastle port was bound
She had eighty-three poor souls on board
Through the storm she cleaved her way
Well it’s sad to relate of her terrible fate
'Twas just off Jervis Bay

Oh wild and furious blew the gales
And the sea with anger frowned
When the Dandenong from Melbourne sailed
For Newcastle port was bound
She had eighty-three poor souls on board
Through the storm they went her way
And it’s sad to relate the terrible fate
It was just off Jervis Bay

And I dream of you, I dream of sleep
I dream of being warm
But through the night I have to sail
To brave this raging storm

And I dream of you, I dream of sleep
I dream of being warm
But through the night I have to sail
To face this raging storm

While steaming through the briny waves
Her propelling shaft gave way
And the waters they came crushing in
Which filled them with dismay
All hands on board did all they could
Till at length all hope was gone
And they hoisted a signal of distress
On board of the Dandenong

While steaming through those angry seas
Her propelling shaft gave way
And the waters they came rushing in
Which filled them with dismay
All hands on deck did all they could
Till at length all hope was gone
And they hoisted a signal of distress
On board of the Dandenong

And I dream of you, I dream of sleep
I dream of being warm
I pray the sea will let me be
To face another dawn

It was not long until a barque
A brisk and a lively crew
Came bearing down and the Captain cried
“We’ll see what we can do!”
Came bearing down with might and main
In spite of wind and wave
They did all they could as sailors would
Those precious lives to save

Well, it wasn't long until a barque
With a brisk and a lively crew
Came bearing down and the Captain cried
“We’ll see what we can do!”
Came bearing down with might and main
In spite of wind and wave
They did all they could as sailors would
Those precious lives to save

And I dream of you, I dream of sleep
I dream of being warm
And I pray the sea will leave me be
To see another dawn

And I dream of you, I dream of sleep
I dream of coming home
But tonight the sea it buries me
Beneath its raging foam

Well some in boats they tried to reach
That kind and friendly barque
And numbers of their lives were saved
But the night came on pitch dark
What more could mortal man do then
When the storm increased so strong
And the rest now sleep in the briny deep
Along with the Dandenong

Well some in boats they tried to reach
That kind and friendly barque
And numbers of their lives were saved
But the night came on pitch dark
What more could mortal man do then
When the storm came on so strong
And the rest now sleep in the briny deep
Along with the Dandenong

And I dream of you, I dream of sleep
I dream of coming home
But tonight the water buries me
Beneath this raging foam

And I dream of you, I dream of sleep
I dream of coming home
But tonight the sea it buries me
Beneath its raging foam

And I dream of you, I dream of sleep
I dream of being warm
But through the night I have to sail
To brave this raging storm

And I dream of you, I dream of sleep
I dream of coming home
But tonight the sea it buries me
Beneath its raging foam