Mudcat Café message #740490 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #22617   Message #740490
Posted By: Bob Bolton
01-Jul-02 - 11:27 PM
Thread Name: Origin: High Germany
Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
G'day Liland,

I'm interested to see your posting of Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre. I published, in Mulga Wire, ... some 20 + years ago ... an article by an Australian folklorist (John Meredith) suggesting that Marlbrough ... was the first European folk song known to have been sung in Australia - and that it was, in part (ie; the tune, at least) the first to have been passed on the the aboriginal inhabitants!

In 1788, the "First Fleet" - the 11 English ships carrying the first settlers, soldiers and convicts - had first anchored in Botany Bay ... quickly abandoned in favour of Port Jackson/Sydney Cove. While they were still in Botany Bay, the French expeditionary fleet of La Perouse sailed into Botany Bay. The officers socialised with the French ... including some after dinner singing - and Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre turned out to be the only song well-known to both nationalities.

It was recorded by several of the officers, that the natives of Botany Bay were heard to singing the tune of Marlbrough ... as they rowed their canoes about Botany Bay in the ensuing weeks. (I will dig out my archive copy and see if there is anything else relevant to justify posting the text (and the presumed tune).


Bob Bolton