Tuesday, 23 November 2010

'Old Bulli' and worker suppression by Ann Kavanagh

With the global village, much of our world is changing. Big business is hijacking the hoi polloi. We see today how bank and financial institutions have almost brought democracy to its knees, sometimes with the help of governments like the Conservatives in England under Margaret Thatcher who brought the Unions down.

Major companies suppressing their workers is nothing new. The song 'The Old Bulli' is about a mine in Australia in the 19th century where miners went on strike due to methane gas killing its workers. The song does not tell the whole story where outside labor was introduced and having tried to negotiate, the women and children lay on the rail tracks and were crushed by the wagons as they ran over them

Time went by and in the 1960's there was still methane in the mine and the song 'Old Bulli' was recorded and played on the airways, once. People hearing the song, naturally asked about its origin etc. However a curtain was quickly drawn and most people involved denied any knowledge of the song.

Today, I understand, there is a mine in Canada, the major source of it is, potash to world, whose acquisition is under negotiation, by of all people, the owners of the 'Old Bulli'.
Augers well for our future as a global village.

This piece demonstrates Social and Economic History, past, present and possibly future. It shows how big business is running the world whether we know it or not. It also shows our social history and how individuals and small enterprises are subsumed, bullied, maneuvered, and driven by large concerns with no social conscience.

However, the piece particularly shows how from a political perspective, it is important that our governments are composed of upright citizens, who are leaders and freely elected, and how imperative it is for each of us as individuals to stay vigilant and use our voting franchise and use it wisely.

*Note: Check back on this post for the music and lyrics to 'Old Bulli' by Gary Shearston.


  1. Ann - found this really interesting. Do you know of any other historical songs? Maybe we could put an album together to benefit the Irish worker for the next few decades!

  2. How do you find a recording of the song? I tried Gary Shearston but even he didn't have a copy. They were withdrawn from sale immediately and the album reissued without this track.

  3. Trac - This history is exceptionally insightful. It is Very powerful, informative and inspiring. Is there a movie out about it? I would love to hear the song. How can we get it?