Union Songs

Lead Bonus

A song by Merv Lilley©Merv Lilley 1963
Tune variant of "Rye Whiskey" fitted by Mark Gregory 2006

Way out to the Isa's a mighty long way;
For twenty-four hours we stopped work one day.

The Company told miners, "You've all got the sack,
Unless you have dockets you'll never get back."

Then up jumped Jack Kelly and Eddie Heilbronne,
They said that the Company must keep us all on.

Jack Kelly's white hair floated out on the breeze,
The miners were cursing and buzzing like bees.

We struck for lead bonus that very same day,
We said we'll return when you're ready to pay.

We fought the weak union the A Double you you,
It made us feel sick what those traitors did do.

A fortnight on strike brought them all on their knees,
They said we will pay if you start working please.

Then back to the pit-tops we gathered once more,
And down to the levels to rip out the ore.

And never since then has the mine been on strike,
It's money, more money that working-men like.

But when the good times and big money have gone,
They'll look for Jack Kelly and Eddie Heilbronne.


Many thanks to Merv Lilley for permission to add this poem to the Union Songs collection. It was published in What About The People a collection of poems by Dorothy Hewett and Merv Lilley published by the National Council of the Realist Writers in 1963

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