Thursday, April 7, 2011

Old Songs of female convicts and words of sunshine...

Recently we have been spending some time playing the guitar and singing, something we both enjoyed doing BC (before children...). I'd forgotten how much I love singing and slowly my brain and fingers are getting used to the guitar again. I have a long long way to go before I can get back to playing anything that sounds good but it is a really pleasant way to spend an evening. We have a favourite Bob Dylan songbook as well as quite a few old treasured songs we're finding hidden away in the piano stool and in other more obscure places.

above: The Anson female convict ship to Tasmania

I've been looking for sheet music online and found it's just such an amazing resource. Gone are the days when we have to travel to a music store to buy music. I've been following through decades, going backwards in time and finding pure gems. Songs I have known and forgotten and songs I have never heard before.

Today I found old Australian songs and especially love the female convict songs. The lyrics are sometimes quite moving and really conjure up a sense of the lives and histories of these women. Though we Aussies do not all necessarily have "convict blood" many of us can relate to the idea of exile and imagine these women's need to adjust to a new and sometimes strange land.

There is often an incredible sense of sadness and a strong portrayal of the distance between these women and their home countries which many would never have set foot on again.

One of these songs is entitled "Female Transportation". That may be a title given to this song by others later...
here are the last verses..

We labour hard from morn to night
until our bones do ache

Then every one they must obey
their mouldy beds must make

We often wish when we lay down
we ne'er may rise no more
To meet our savage Governor
upon Van Diemen's shore

Every night when I lay down
I wet my straw with tears

While wind upon that horrid shore
did whistle in our ears

Those dreadful beasts upon
that land around our cots do roar

Most dismal is our doom upon
Van Diemen's shore

Come all young men and maidens
do bad company forsake

If tongue can tell our overthrow
it will make your heart to ache

Young girls I pray be ruled by me
your wicked ways give o'er

For fear like us
you spend your days
upon Van Diemen's shore

above: Parramatta Female Factory, c 1826

In New South Wales female convicts were either assigned to families as servants or immediately sent to a "Female Factory". It has been estimated that 1 in 5 Australians had a female ancestor who worked in one of these factories. If the women had children they lived with them there, in the factories.

Besides the old Australian, British and Irish folk songs, I've also been enjoying songs from all eras..songs I think of as bright and simple..songs of happiness. Our world is so complicated and sometimes so filled with cynicism, darkness and hate. These songs can still bring a bit of sunshine...

You Are My Sunshine
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away

The other nite, dear,
As I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms.
When I awoke, dear,
I was mistaken
And I hung my head and cried.

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Music of Memory and Dreams

March Nighttime at my lake in the Adelaide foothills, South Australia, 2011

Music by Vassil Tsabropoulos

In Memory

Gift of Dreams

(blogspot is being naughty..please cut and paste if these links don't take you to the music)

March late gloaming at my lake in the Adelaide foothills, South Australia, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

A sampling of words

View from our place

From time to time my creative juices flow a different direction, away from making art to writing poetry and short stories. Here's a sampling, I don't suggest they're professionally written on any level

From the earth I stand

Absorbed in a blue-tinged moon


she wanted silhouettes to capture a calm night

mystery still quietly existed while everyone slept

growing tired of the slime of the camouflaged drain

when will they let their bad dream down


got my universal love

cried my tears of compassion

but they ain't got no power

As Winter passes the turquoise grows deeper

There are sprigs of sapling green and the scarlet of petals

The ocean is deep and dark in places

Just hold me and run with me

So we can begin

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Last weekend we enjoyed a gorgeous picnic in the Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens. Mt Lofty is our highest "mountain" in our state and really the only place that receives more than a very rare sprinkling of snow sometimes in winter. So it's cooler up there than elsewhere around and more suited to the growth of European gardens. The Gardens include beautiful eucalypts but there is also a rose garden, conifer garden, camelia garden and other areas.

We set our picnic rug up in the conifers area. The ground was cool and despite the heat of the day the air was cool t
here too.

We unpacked our curried egg and lettuce sandwiches made with homemade bread. It didn't take long for the local Bandicoots to scurry into the scene. These little creatures are native animals but they like living there under the bushes. They move a bit like a rabbit...

This was a small family picnic. I've had many picnics there before. Picnics alone and also romantic champagne picnics. The sweet Bandicoots are always there to keep us company.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Since Spring

Each time I visit blogspot I'm amazed at the beautiful blogs I see. From vintage photos to works of art to artists books and just moments or scenes captured with a camera. So much thought and time put into sharing lives and interests across the globe.

Today I'm posting images gathered over the last few months. Photos I've taken of places I've been, moments captured, my artwork and a few vintage images that appeal to me.

We had such a lush Spring it was beautiful and so green

The little waterfall I've walked to many times

Some days the colours are just gorgeous

This is such a South Australian scene

Silhouettes and night scenes are my favourite

Dry creek bed after flood has gone

Plate from my grandmother, the only thing I own from her, she died very young

pubs dancing, people, beer, music, wine

Scones and visitors in Spring

Creek day

The eating garden

Op shopped old bohemian

The final day at art school

more art school

natural spirit and textures

Sketches of art school scenes

homemade card destined for special friend

Some of my paintings from 2010

Love that hippy love!

Op shop found treasure

Drawn, painted, photographed then photoshopped in 2010


Remnant I found at a beach near Sydney

Old Australian picture

Vintage bikes are a favourite thing of mine

From a day in my life

and another

Where I live we have many koalas!

Hope you enjoyed this piece of my life and thanks for all your inspiring and delicious blogs!