Sunday, February 15, 2009

Harry Robertson "Whale Chasing Men - Songs of Whaling in Ice and Sun" 1971

Track List
1. Casting Off (Poem)
2. Whale Chasing Men
3. The Antarctic Fleet
4. Processing the Whale (poem)
5. Blubber Laddie
6. Wee Pot Stove (aka Wee Dark Engine Room)
7. Whaling Wife (Marian Henderson)
8. Time for a Laugh and a Song
9. Norfolk Whalers (Marian Henderson)
10. Ballina Whalers (Alex Hood)
11. Queensland Whalers
12. Murrumbidgee Whalers (Alex Hood)

Harry Robertson (1923-1995) was born a Scot but sensibly migrated to Australia in 1952. He worked for several years on whaling ships writing several poems and songs about the industry and the whaling men. He also became actively involved in popularising Australian traditional folk music. especially in Queensland where he became involved in the highly successful Maleny Folk Festival since moved to become the Woodford Folk Festival. Probably the best known song outside of Australia is the "Wee Pot Stove" done by Nic Jones as "The Little Pot Stove" and by Gordon Bok, Muir and Trickett as "The Wee Dark Engline Room". Jones also did "Ballina Whalers" as "The Humpback Whale" but I much prefer Hood's treatment.
In arguably the best of her recorded performances, Marian Henderson does a wonderful job on the powerful "Norfolk Whalers". This is a song about the residents of Norfolk Island, once an Australian convict settlement and subsequently the home of many of the descendants of "Bounty" mutineers. These whalers operated from the island not from a mother ship and would set out when a whale was spotted from the land. Thus they had to get the whale to land by sheer rowing power.
Sadly, I have only the one wee graphic - can someone out there please help. (encoder unknown)

Download link deleted per relayed instructions from Harry Robertson's widow, the holder of the copyright to the music.


  1. Speaking of whaling songs, over 30 years ago there was a song on the radio by Finnegan and Dyer and it was called The Whale. Is there an mp3 of it anywhere. PS Great site too

  2. the is a song called "the Whale" sung by the Ants Bush Band, which is great
    could be the same song.

  3. "The Whale" appeared on the CD's "Australian Souvenirs" and "The Best of the Bush Bands".

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  6. Hi. Just came across a copy of this record which i loved. The owner is asking 40 aus dollars for a near mint copy. I cant find any price info online and arent sure if im being over charged or not. Any info much appreciated.thanks, mike

    1. Hello Mike,
      I really do not know as this particular LP is rarely seen on the market and the CD re-release is just as difficult to access. In another message, you said that you actually listened to it and concurred that it is near mint so perhaps the price, given its rarity and good condition, is reasonable. You misht care to look at the "Harry Robertson official website" where there is a suggestion of some form of CD this year.