Union Songs

Whose hand?

A Poem by Ian Hills©Ian Hills 1963
Music by Margaret Kitamura©Margaret Kitamura 1963

It was late one Friday afternoon
Whose hand?
The prison boat came silently down
Stayed a little out of town
The purpose they would learn too soon.

They came upon them after dark
Whose hand?
Pack your bags the orders rang
We'll take your leaders child and man
And not a dog had time to bark.

Two policemen lay at head and toe
Whose hand?
The reason why no one could tell
Before the dawn they knew quite well
And women and children were next to go.

Their houses burnt or taken down
Whose Hand?
To the government like a cattle herd
Songs and tears within them stirred
With a last look at their former town.

They protest with fear and woe
Whose hand?
Have we no rights no race no land?
We are people you understand
Have we no say in where we go?

Whose hand?
Whose hand?


This song was sung by Margaret Kitamura on the 10 LP 'The Ballad of Women' released by Union Records in Brisbane (U.S.1. Australia September 1964)

The cover notes read:
Whose Hand? came to us anonymously from Cairns with a note that said: "Please show this to your friends that all may know and understand, and that all may help us to prevent yet another terrible crime against innocent people who are too far away from prompt help. The Lockhardt community is the next place threatened …" The poem, which deals with the burning of the aboriginal settlement at Mapoon, we subsequently discovered was written by a young Queensland student Ian Hills. It has been set to music and most movingly sung by Margaret Kitamura supported by Mike Murphy on bass.

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