Jamie Reaburn’s Farewell is a song about transportation to a penal colony, probably Australia, which, at the time, had several penal settlements. The nature of the crime is not mentioned in the song. However, the popular story is that Jamie Reaburn was a baker who was transported for theft. His sweetheart, Catherine Chandler, is purported to have told the following story of his misfortunes: “We parted at ten o’clock. Going home, Jamie met an acquaintance of his boyhood, who took him in to treat him for auld lang syne. Scarcely had they entered when some detectives appeared and apprehended them. Searched, apparently stolen property was found. They were tried and banished for life to Botany Bay. Jamie was innocent as the unborn babe, but his heartless companion spoke not a word of his innocence.”
The song dates from the 1830s and remains popular and widely known as part of the living tradition in Scotland today. The tune is the one used by the Tannahill Weavers in their recording.
This arrangement of Jamie Reaburn’s Farewell is part of a larger collection of choral arrangements of 20 Australian folk song titles. The works were commissioned in 2022 by the Queensland Kodály Choir as a legacy project of Australian Choral Music and are collectively available in a two-part anthology titled On a Distant Shore.
The Queensland Kodály Choir has generously determined that these anthologies and all of their associated resources should be made freely available to anyone who would like to make use of them. To facilitate this, whilst each of the arrangements is copyright, the full set of project resources has been licensed under Creative Commons International Licence, meaning that they can be freely shared, copied and/or redistributed.
Conductors/choirs wishing to access the Anthology – Parts 1 & 2 – and/or the companion rehearsal tracks, can do so by following the link to the Cuskelly College of Music website. The complete individual titles (including cover title page, vocal score, piano accompaniment, extracted instrument parts, performance notes and glossary of terms) are available in the Anthology Catalogue on this website.
Perusal and download copies of this arrangement of Jamie Reaburn’s Farewell are available below.