Mount Morgan

The rickety rail motor ran away upon the rails,
And then a journey I began about which I’ll tell some tales,
Bound for a town called Rocky on a day that was bright and fine,
Like a horse that carried a jockey she sped right along the line,
Then upwards and ever onwards right up a zigzag slope,
Sometimes her purpose I pondered, but I never quite gave up hope,
Surely she would be climbing right to the very top,
Her engine started whining but I hoped that she would not stop.

Hurrah for the sight of the summit and also Mount Morgan town,
Golly old girl you’ve done it and it won’t be so hard to come down,
Here I was, glad at arriving, and to stay at the Grand Hotel,
In a town that was once quite thriving, and I hoped would still do well,
The people I found to be jolly and they greeted me with good cheer,
So I wasn’t the least melancholy as I quaffed a good glass of beer,
Long years ago I remember I’d heard of this place when a boy,
At the time of Mount Morgan’s great splendour and of all the great men in employ.

Here as the years have departed and I am now seventy-one,
I feel none the less quite light-hearted at ending the journey begun,
It’s cheers to Mount Morgan for mining when I get here in sixty and nine,
At a place for which oft I’ve been pining though I never yet worked in its mine,
I come as a tourist and salesman, and I have many tickets to sell,
And although I don’t come as a tradesman Mount Morgan has treated me well,
So I’ve spent just a day as a salesman and many good sights I have seen,
And have met some fine ladies and great men, so can talk of this place I have been,
Mount Morgan I’ll always remember, and my visit in sixty and nine
Be it June or July or September I’ll recall the good folks and the mine.


Collected by Ron Edwards from the composer, William Pell, 1971 who composed it in 1969.
Twenty years later, on a visit to Mt Morgan in 1993, Edwards drew the railway station below as a
tribute to the old man, long since dead.

"William Pell was born in 1898 and called himself ‘the wandering poet’. He wrote in traditional
style, for the people around him, and was quite unaware of the folksong movement, and did not realise
that he was one of the very few people still unconsciously carrying on the street ballad tradition.
Mount Morgan was a gold-mining town in Queensland, but the mines have now closed and
the “rickety rail motor” runs no more."

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