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The Old Palmer Song : SATB choir with piano and optional flute

by Sandra Milliken (2009)

Old Palmer Song


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Work Overview

The Old Palmer Song is a very popular Australian folk song that is meant to be sung in a rollicking style reflecting the excitement and anticipation of hardy Australian colonials setting out in search of gold.

One of Australia's richest alluvial goldfields was that of the Palmer River in far north Queensland. The rush to the Palmer began in 1873 and lasted for about three years. The goldfields were nearly 100 miles inland from the small coastal settlement of Cooktown and the early prospectors had a hard time of it just getting to the field. Leaving Cooktown they crossed the coastal mangroves, then on through dense tropical rainforest, into the more open eucalypt forest beyond and then across the dry, inhospitable and rugged country of the hinterland dissected by wide and deep rivers. And always there was the risk of meeting with fierce resistance from the Aborigines whose tribal land they were travelling through.

The Old Palmer Song is set to the tune of Ten Thousand Miles Away, a shore ballad/sea shanty that probably originated in Ireland in the early 19thCentury.

Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: SATB choir, piano, optional flute.

Duration: 3 min.

Difficulty: Easy

Commission note: Arranged for the Blackstone Ipswick Cambrian Choir


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