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The Loss of (Bob) Mahoney

[ Roud - ; trad.]

Louis Killen sang Lord Franklin in 2003 on the Fellside anthology celebrating English traditional songs and their Australian variants, Song Links. Danny Spooner sang the corresponding Australian variant The Loss of Bob Mahoney. Spooner also sang The Loss of Mahoney on his 2006 CD of songs of the whaling industry, The Great Leviathan, where he noted:

Another Tasmanian song collected from Jack Davies by Lloyd Robson and Norm O’Connor. Mr Davies, the last hand harpoon whaler alive in Tasmania was a resident at the St John’s Park Hospital, Newtown, Tasmania, when the song was recorded. The tune is an adaption of the one used for Lord Franklin. (Sir John Franklin, who lost his life searching for the North West Passage, was Governor of Tasmania prior to his ill fated voyage.)


Danny Spooner sings The Loss of Bob Mahoney

Far outward bound one night on the deep
Slung in me hammock I fell asleep,
I dreamed a dream which I thought was true
Concerning Mahoney and his boats crew.
Off yon green Island, out far from here,
Where we lost Mahoney and his boat’s gear.

Here’s Cap’n Kennedy of Hobart Town,
And Cap’n Reynolds of high renown
And Cap’n Robertson and many, many more,
They’ve long been cruising Macquarie’s shore.

They cruised east and they cruised west,
Round the South West Cape where they thought best,
But no tide nor tale could they see or hear,
Concerning Mahoney or his boat’s gear.

In Recherche Bay where the Black Whale blow,
The fate of Mahoney they all do know,
They say he’s gone like many, many more,
He left his home to return no more.

As we drew nigh unto Hobart’s shore
I met a maiden in deep deplore,
She was sobbing, sighing, saying, “Pity Me,
I’ve lost my brother young Bob Mahoney;
I’ve lost my brother no more I’ll see,
I’ve lost my brother young Bob Mahoney.”