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The Waterwitch


Danny Spooner sang The Waterwitch on his 2006 CD of songs of the whaling industry, The Great Leviathan. He noted:

From the singing of a Mr Jack Davies of Hobart, this is similar to The Coast of Peru and New Zealand Whales. It recalls the days when Tasmanian whalers hunted the Southern Right Whale from the Derwent across the Tasman sea. I got the words originally from Lloyd Robson, who with Norm O’Connor, recorded Mr Davies in the early 1960s.


Danny Spooner sings The Waterwitch

A neat little packet from Hobart set sail
To cruise the wide oceans for the monster sperm whale;
To cruise to the wide oceans where the stormy winds blow,
Bound away in the Waterwitch to the west’ard we’ll go.

Chorus (after each verse):
Bound away, bound away, where the stormy winds blow
Bound away in the Waterwitch to the west’ard we’ll go.

Oh ’twas early one morning just as the sun rose
The man from her mast head cries out, “There she blows!”
“Where away?” cries our skipper and springing aloft,
“Three points off yer lee bow and scarce three miles off.”

We sailed off the west wind and came up a pace,
The whale boats was lowered and set for the chase,
Get yer lines in the boats see yer box line is clear
And lower her down boys and after him steer.

We fought him alongside, the harpoon thrust in,
In just over an hour he rolled out his fin.
The whale was cut in boys, tried out and stowed down,
He’s worth more to us, boys, than five hundred pound.

When the ship she gets full boys to Hobart we’ll steer
Where there’s plenty of pretty girls and plenty good beer,
We’ll spend our money freely with the girls on the shore,
And when it’s all gone go a-whaling for more.