Sunday, February 1, 2009

Various Artists "The Restless Years" 1968 LP

In 1967, Peter O'Shaughnessy, an accomplished actor, author and director, wrote and acted in an Australian Broadcasting Corporation television program entitled "The Restless Years" giving a culturally based examination of Australian history and the development of the Australian "character". In 1968, Jacaranda Press invited O"Shaughnessy to follow-up with an A3 size book entitled "The Restless Years: Being some Impressions of the Origin of the Australian" assisted by the historian Professor Ward, an expert on Australian Folksongs and Ballads, and the artist Graeme Inson for graphic research and development.
The publication was to cover the period leading up to the establishment of the first convict settlement to Federation in 1901. There was a strong emphasis on early recollections, and the related English and Australian folk songs and poetry of the period. In the same spirit, the book was accompanied by an LP with poetry and other spoken word material by Peter O'Shaughnessy and traditional songs sung by Alex Hood (previously posted here) and Marian Henderson, a very talented folk singer of the 1960s. Musical accompaniment was provided by Ron Carson on double bass and Richard Brookes on harmonica. Marian Henderson sings "Moreton Bay", "Look Out Below", "The Streets of Forbes" and "Old Black Alice" while Alex Hood sings "The Old Bullock Dray", and "The Eumerella Shore", and the two combine to sing "On the Banks of the Condamine" and "Waltzing Matilda" which, thankfully, is the original version penned by "Banjo" Paterson. O'Shaughnessy recites two traditional songs, namely, "Jim Jones at Botany Bay" and "Five Miles from Gundigai" (I'd have preferred that they be sung). He uses a wide variety of voices in his spoken word but, strangely, considering that he was born and brought up in Melbourne and never saw Ireland until he was an adult, he has more of an Irish accent than an Australian one. A very interesting LP.
For the international visitors, perhaps the following lexicon might help with this and other postings. Also, if you want any help understanding any of the words or the context of any songs in my postings, just ask away.

Prad - a now-dated term for a stock horse used by station hands, stockmen, drovers etc
Diggings - the gold fields (various locations) viz. Digger - a gold miner
Trap - a trooper (mounted police officer)
Ringer - the shearer who shears the most sheep in a shed.
Ringer - also a term for a stockman/musterer in northern cattle country.
Gin, lubra - an Aboriginal woman (now regarded as politically incorrect terms)
Station - any large grazing farm e.g. sheep and/or cattle station (U.S - ranch)
Duff - to steal livestock viz. Duffer (U.S. rustler)
Poddy Dodging - branding someone else's calves with your brand (U.S. mavericking)

And many thanks to the kind visitor who pointed out to me the existence of this album.

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  1. Glad you sourced a copy, Paul - hopefully a copy of the sequel : "The Glorious Years" : will also appear!
    Cheers, Ricki

  2. It's looking a little hard to find actually but I'll keep trying

  3. have a mint copy if still needed. warren fahey

  4. Hello Warren,
    If you are referring to "The Glorious Years", yes I am still looking for a copy. It's obviously a lot less available than "The Restless Years". Mind you, that one was virtually mint but it had apparently suffered damage, amongst other things, though sharing a slip case with a massive book while protected only by a flimsy slip itself. I can be email contacted at

  5. re Peter O'Shaughnessy's 'Irish accent':

    In the 1966 ABC TV version of 'The Restless Years', Peter O'Shaughnessy played various characters from different regions (and classes) of Britain and Ireland. His spoken word items on this LP, and on the Old Botany Bay LP, are recreations of those TV roles.

  6. (Greg)

    I gather it's him singing (unaccompanied) "Jim Jones at Botany Bay" at the beginning of the TV version.

    My father recorded this off the TV on reel-to reel back in 1966 (I have a note that says 30/10/66 was broadcast date). Haven't heard it for many years as our reel-to-reel player died many years ago and the tape would probably fall apart now even if there was a machine to play it. Still have the tape though in a cardboard box. Do the ABC still have the program in their archives I wonder?

  7. A copy of the broadcast film is available at:-

  8. Hi Paul

    I had a pristine copy of "The Restless Years" which included the outside cover and LP. Unfortunately this was recently flood damaged and my insurance company has asked me to source the worth of this book. To me is it priceless however would you have any idea of its monetary value?

    Thank you

  9. Debbie,
    They appear every so often on eBay - intermittent demand results in the price being anything from $20 to $50 with the LP (most do not have the LP any more. I'd reckon you could pick up one fairly readily at about the $35 marks but not likely to be in pristine condition.

  10. Does any one happen to know who is the (uncredited) English concertina player in the film version? I suspect Mike Ball, though he doesn't look much like I remember him....

  11. Just heard from Warren Fahey via Mudcat. It was indeed Mike Ball. A fine singer, and English concertina player very much in the Alf Edwards style. Very active on the Sydney folk scene during the 1960s, he returned to England in the early 1970s.