The Old Palmer Song is the second in my new series of Australian bush songs arranged for choir.
This arrangement is available for SATB choir, with piano accompaniment and an optional flute part.
The story behind The Old Palmer Song
Following hard on the heels of the great California gold rushes (1848 – 1855) came the discovery of payable quantities of gold in Australia. The first gold rush in Australia began in New South Wales in May 1851 after prospector Edward Hargraves discovered gold near Orange, at a site he called Ophir. Other discoveries quickly followed, including those at Ballarat and Bendigo in the colony of Victoria. Then came Rosewood and Gympie (1867) in Queensland; the Gawler region in South Australia in 1868; and Halls Creek (1885), Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie (1893) in Western Australia.
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.
At the height of the rush there were around 35,000 prospectors on the Palmer (including a great many Chinese). By the time the rush was over, the Palmer had yielded over 100 tons of gold!
The Old Palmer Song reflects the excitement and anticipation of hardy Australian colonials setting out in search of gold. This very popular Australian folk song is set to the tune of Ten Thousand Miles Away, a shore ballad/sea shanty that probably originated in Ireland in the early 19th Century. It is meant to be sung in a rollicking style.
Notes, samples and clips
You can find out more about my arrangement of The Old Palmer Song by visiting my website where there are sample pages and audio clips available.
Purchase The Old Palmer Song online for immediate download
The Old Palmer Song is available for online purchase and immediate download. Simply go to my website, click on Brisbane Ladies, and click on the Buy Now button in the right-hand sidebar.
Like to have a favourite Australian bush song arranged for your choir?
If you have a favourite Australian bush song that you would like to have arranged for choir, please contact me with your request and I’ll do my best to have your idea realised.