South Australia

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“South Australia” is a sea chantey.

Alternate names

  • Bound for South Australia
  • Rolling King
  • Ruler King

External links

Liner Notes

South Australia” is track 15 on Shower Chanteys, recorded 15 and 28 August 2018 at Mill Pond Music Studio.[1]

This may be the most Folk Revival-ist and least traditional song on the album (except maybe the weird version of “Highland Laddie,” but that’s from a primary source). Read the Mudcat thread linked above, or at least the posts from “Gibb Sahib” (Dr. Gibb Schreffler of Pomona State College). I learned this version at the San Francisco chantey sing, and understood it to be a pumping chantey (the only kind with “heave away, haul away”), but there’s a very good case to be made that the version everyone sings now has drifted significantly from its roots as a work-song. The lyrics I do are mostly from Hugill,[2] though see Gibb’s comments about the authenticity of Hugill’s words and assertions. Colcord’s version is a little older,[3] while Smith’s version seems to be the first notated. Smith’s is clearly the same song, but significantly different.[4]

As I mentioned elsewhere, one problem with doing all the vocals myself is that if I want to double a line, an octave apart, then I have to pitch the lead a little high or a little low. On this track, I went for a little low… and it didn’t quite work.[5] So I re-recorded the lead a couple of weeks later, and it came out a bit better.[6]


  1. “South Australia,” recording by Chris Maden. MusicBrainz.
  2. Stan Hugill. Shanties from the Seven Seas, pp. 150–151. New U.S. Edition. Mystic, Conn.: Mystic Seaport, 1994.
  3. Joanna C. Colcord. Songs of American Sailormen, p. 90. Enlarged and Revised Edition. New York: Bramhall House, 1938.
  4. Laura Alexandrine Smith. The Music of the Waters, pp. 49–50. London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1888.
  5. Chris Maden. “T−4: South Australia,” Kickstarter update. 17 August 2018.
  6. Chris Maden. “Labor Day flashback,” Kickstarter update. 3 September 2018.