The Ghan

Words by Patrick O'Leary Music by Carmel Charlton

[The Ghan is a living legend. It opened in 1929 linking Adelaide and Alice Springs. It was named after the Afghan Camel drivers. The new Ghan now travels on to Darwin.]

A thousand miles to nowhere on a train that leads to hell
Her boilers belching fire and the ringing of her bell
Her wheels are moving slowly on the iron rail below
As she heads out of the ranges, to the Alice she will go

She stops at Parachilna, Beltana and Leigh Creek
Steaming up the Alice, she'll be there in a week
The train moves on slowly from Lyndhurst to Marree
Recalling the old camel men and set their spirits free

She's the Ghan, she's the Ghan
Rolling on the northern tracks again
She's the Ghan, she's the Ghan
Going forever, if she can

The screaming of her whistle could wake a graveyards dead
The parched earth all around her is painted green and red
Her pistons pushing power back in 1929
As she heaved and rolled right down the track
On the Oodnadatta line

Past Spinifex and gibber plain, all dusty and dry
Past deserts raked with sandstorm, you can hear the eagles cry
Storms pass by slowly and turn the earth to mud
As water rages down the creek to see the fink in flood

The new Ghan's a rollin' now beneath Australian skies
From Adelaide to Darwin a dream is realized
The pioneering spirit keeps running in our veins
I still can hear the whistle of the old ghost train

'The Ghan is on Carmel Charlton's 2005 CD 'Whispers on the Wind'.
Visit Carmel's website at

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