I often thought as I watched whaling men working, what brought most of them down south year after year. Some knew little else — others had backgrounds of a professional nature and yet all of them seemed to have one thing in common — an attraction to the bleak wilderness of Antarctica. The financial motive existed in all and a keen eye was kept on the production figures — yet one suspected that money was the secondary motive — it could perhaps be explained that without being ‘Shackeltons’ or ‘Scotts’ they still sought new frontiers — or rather — the avoidance of existing ones in cities, towns, etc. Whatever the reason, there they were, and probably would be back the following year. Such a pattern often led me to wonder, not only about the whalers, but about the other people in their lives.
A great number of people connected with the Whaling Industry never go whaling. In 1950-51 some twelve thousand men of various nationalities operated in the Antarctic season. Surely they each left at least one friend behind. So we find, scattered throughout the world, thousands of people who know of, and depend upon, the return of whaling men and the result of a good catch — such is the — ‘Whaling Wife’. HR
Lyrics and Music: Harry Robertson
(As performed by Marian Henderson on Harry’s 1971 LP “WHALE CHASING MEN”)
Aye! I’m waiting here at hame and I always feel the same
Whenever my guid man goes tae the whaling,
Seven months he’ll be awa’ doon amongst the ice and snow
And there’s times my lonely heart is nearly breaking.
Now it’s time the kids were fed, and I’ll put them into bed,
And to them a story then I might be telling,
That their Daddy’s gone tae sea, to buy food for them and me,
And it’s many whales we hope he will be catching.
If the whaling catch is fine, we will have an easy time,
New clothes and food we ought to have in plenty,
But if the blubber’s thin on the Blue Whale and the Fin,
Then for us between the seasons could be scanty.
So it’s waiting that I am, and I’m thinking of my man,
And the pleasure when I know that he’s returning,
But in case ye should forget — he hasna’ come hame yet,
And wi’ tears my eyes at times are fairly burning.
© Harry Robertson
and subsequently ©1995 Mrs Rita Robertson, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
Registered with APRA/AMCOS www.apra-amcos.com.au