THE CATALPA (tune: Old Settler)
From the Album The Green Fields of America
sung by Mc Ginnis's Hat

cho: Come all you screw warders and jailers
Remember Perth regatta day
Take care of the rest of your Fenians
Or the Yankees will steal them away

A noble whale ship the Catalpa
Set out from New Bedford one day
She sailed out to Western Australia
And took six poor Fenians away

Seven long years they had served here
And seven long more had to stay
For defending their country Old Ireland
They were chained and transported away
cho: So, come all…

You kept them in Western Australia
Till their hair had begun to turn grey
When the great whaling ship and commander
Came out here and stole them away

Now all the Perth boats were a-racing
And making short tacks for the spot
But the Yankee tacked into Fremantle
And took the best prize of the lot
cho: So, come all… Instrumental

Georgette she sailed out with guns ready
Intending the Yankee to take
But they hoisted their star-spangled banner
And left the Georgette in their wake

So remember those six Fenian heroes
Who escaped o’er to A-mer-i-kay
And join in a toast to the bravery
Of the Yankees who stole them away
cho: So, come all…

Now they've landed safe in New York harbor
And the crowd there to greet them did cry
So we’ll hoist up the green flag and shamrock
For old Ireland we’ll fight or we'll die
cho: So, come all… 2x Instrumental

First published in Three Street Ballads in 1957
This version was collected by Russel Ward from Victor Courtney a journalist on the Sunday Times, Perth, Western Australia, who commented, "I remember in my early days as a cadet hearing a band of old boys in a pub in Fremantle singing this song. It is said that the song became so popular that it was banned by the authority of the day and jail was threatened to anyone caught singing it. It was suggested, too, that the escape was made easy because there was plenty of American gold and some of it was placed in the hands of unscrupulous warders. The incident took place in April 1876."

Catalpa Overview
The Catalpa Story