Ghosts of Glenrowan

From The Kate Kelly Song Cycle, a chamber opera by composer Ross Carey and writer Merrill Findlay, first performed in 2011. The full score is now available from here >>

NEW! Listen to the first four minutes of Ghosts of Glenrowan, from the premiere performance of The Kate Kelly Song Cycle at the inaugural Kalari-Lachlan River Arts Festival, September 2011. With Melbourne soprano Sian Prior, accordionist Elizabeth Jones, Rachel Whealy (cello), Martin Lee (violin), and Justin Screen (clarinet), with the Forbes Shire Choir and the College For Seniors Choir under the baton of musical director William Moxey. 
[Click at the left hand end of the black bar bar to play.]

 

Ghosts of Glenrowan

I’m galloping, galloping ‘long the Lachlan
Trying to escape my past
But the flames, the flames, the memories
Are burning me
Overwhelmingly
No matter where I go
Or how fast ….

Those charcoal stumps on the old pub floor
They can’t be Steve and Dan
And the body tied to the Benalla door
It’s not my friend Ah Joe
Nor the young man swinging from the gallows
He’s not my brother Ned

Yet the memories keep flashing inside of me
Hauntingly, accusingly
They must be true like people say
I wish they’d go away

So I’m galloping, galloping, galloping ‘long the Lachlan
Trying to flee my past
The flames, the flames, the memories
Are burning me
Overwhelmingly
No matter where I go
Nor how fast

When Fitzpatrick knocked on the door that night
He said it was to arrest Dan
But it was me he was really after
Everything else was libel and lies
My mum never hit him
Like he said she did
And Ned never fired a shot
All they did was demand of him
That he do the right thing by me
A matter of family honour, Ned said
Though he would never say that to a judge

But what could I do?
I was only fourteen at the time

So I’m galloping, galloping ‘long the Lachlan
Trying to forgive myself
But the flames, the flames, the memories
Are burning me, burning me, burning me
Overwhelmingly

Mum went to jail with the baby
All because of Fitzpatrick’s lies
Ned and Dan became wanted men
Hiding out in the Wombat Hills
My brother Jim was already inside
For a couple of horses he sold
Which left me, Maggie and little Grace
Back home at Eleven Mile Creek
To feed the stock, milk the cows
Churn the butter, look after kids
And supply the boys
With ammunition, food and news

So I’m galloping, galloping ‘long the Lachlan
Trying to forget who I am
But the flames, the flames, the memories
Are burning me
Overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly ….
No matter where I go
Or how fast

Yet the memories keep flashing inside of me
Hauntingly, accusingly
They must be true like people say
Yet the memories keep flashing inside of me
Hauntingly, accusingly
They must be true like people say
I just wish they’d go away

Forbes is nice but I feel so alone
Few even know my real name
I’m afraid that if I told them the truth
They’d all think badly of me
Hugh McDougall from Warroo
The Smiths of Cadow
The Luthjes, Gunns and Prows
Have all been good to me
And my in-laws, the Fosters, are kind
But I miss the comfort of my own family
Especially Maggie, Dan and Ned
I need them all so desperately
When my husband’s in town
If my brothers knew they’d shoot him
Shoot him, shoot him
As for my mother, all she’d probably say is
You silly girl, I told you so …

Copyright Merrill Findlay 2011

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Page created 3 May 2014. Last updated 19 September 2014.

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