Ulick O’Boyle and The Settlers made a mark on Australian history in the 1960s with two albums of songs on the construction days of the Snowy Mountains Scheme. Those songs – 24 altogether – are now available for the first time in print.

 

Listen to a song from the Songbook

/resources/site1/General/02 Jindabyne Farewell 1.mp3

The Songs of the Snowy Mountains songbook has been collated and edited by Ulick’s daughter, Shannon, and was launched at the Alpine Hotel in Cooma at 2.00pm on Sunday 19 October 2014 by Australian cultural historian, Graham Dodsworth. The launch coincided with the 65 the anniversary celebrations of the start of the Snowy Scheme in 1949. Check out photos of the launch

Mr Dodsworth, himself a singer/songwriter and an oral history interviewer for the National Library of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive, said Ulick’s songs were one of the most significant collections of Australian folk music that demonstrated a sense of time and place in Australian history.

"The production of this songbook is an important addition to the printed musical record of events that shaped our nation’s character and development,” he said. Ulick, who worked on the Snowy Scheme, wrote a musical history while it was being built. The songs speak of the tragedies, joys, camaraderie and struggles endured by the workers – the majority of whom were immigrants.

Shannon O’Boyle said she had wanted to have her father’s songs set down in sheet music for several years.

"Dad couldn’t read music, so his songs were simply written on paper with guitar chords scribbled over the words. I thought it was important to have them preserved and available in a more professional manner.”

Two of the original Settlers, Anne Rutherford and Paul Davey, were special guest performers at the book launch and were accompanied by members of the contemporary Settlers band – Canberra musicians with whom Ulick played and recorded for many years. Ulick died in 2011.


 

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