Union Songs

The Judge and the Shipowner

A song by Clem Parkinson©1967 Clem Parkinson

- [play]

In a far away country called Woopland
A very rich merchant did dwell
He owned Fact'ries galore and ships by the score
But something was wrong you could tell

For it seems that those terrible wharfies
When loading his vessels with flour
Had complained of the task, even ventured to ask
For an increase of sixpence an hour.

Now the ship owner being fair minded
(They always believe in fair play)
To the wharf he did trudge with his colleague a judge
To toil with the men for a day.

But the very first bag that they handled
Left the pair of them flat as a tack.
In a state of collapse each agreed that, "Perhaps
We should grant them that miserable zac."

What a wonderful country is Woopland
What a pity it's so far away,
Though some people insist that it doesn't exist
I'm going to find it someday.


Many thanks to Clem Parkinson for permission to add this song to the Union Songs collection.

The Judge and the Shipowner was published in Australian Tradition, April 1967.

The song took joint second prize in the competition for a song about the waterfront run by the Sydney Branch of the Waterside Workers' Federation.

The song is based on a famous short story by John Morrison. Clem Parkinson told me that he sent a copy to John who remarked how well he had done to fit the story into the five verses allowed by the rules of the competion.

Clem sings the song on the MUA Centenary CD "With These Arms"

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