Rev John McGarvie and The Exile of Erin

 ©  Jim Low

In 1972 I purchased a copy of Alex Hood’s Boomerang Songster No 1, Australian Folk Songs. It contained songs from Alex’s LP recording The First Hundred Years, which included the song The Exile of Erin. This convict lament, its setting the foot of the Blue Mountains at Emu Plains, had caught my attention when I first heard Alex’s recorded version of it. There had been a penal settlement established at Emu Plains in Governor Macquarie’s term in office. In April 1827 there were over 134 convicts housed there.

Road leading to punt site. The manse property was on the left

As I started learning to sing Australian traditional folk songs, I made a point of including The Exile of Erin in my repertoire. Continue reading “Rev John McGarvie and The Exile of Erin”

Ebenezer: The Mission on a Limestone Ridge

Ebenezer Mission Station (© Jim Low) – After his first visit to Ebenezer, Jim wrote the above song about the Mission. The unaccompanied snippets were sung in the now restored mission church with its amazing acoustics.
The mission church in 2008

In January 1859 both Aboriginal people and missionaries began clearing the Mallee scrub and native cypress from the site of the new mission station at Ebenezer, which meant “the rock of hope”. Situated on the vast, flat Wimmera region of Victoria, this area was one of the last to be settled by Europeans. It also saw its share of violence against the Aboriginal people. Innocent native blood had been spilt on the very site where Ebenezer was located.

Continue reading “Ebenezer: The Mission on a Limestone Ridge”