Black Cargoes

Denis Kevans

There’s a silence out on the wharf tonight,
The wharf they call Pier One,
Where in years gone by, there was many a fight,
In the bitter winds of the winter night,
Till the fight for the wharves was won.
The Dutch, they ruled Indonesia, for 350 years,
“Australia :Remembers”, but does it forget?
They wrenched their gold from the people’s sweat,
And their whips and snouts, with blood, were wet,
And soaked in the people’s tears.

They lorded it over the magic isles,
They stole the gold, and the children’s smiles,
And the Dutch East Indies’ Spice Empire,
It raised the Indonesian anger higher,
And higher and higher, till it caught fire
in 1945.

Now, who in their wildest dreams, would have thought,
Four hundred Dutch ships, in Australian ports,
Four hundred Dutch ships, ready to go,
Who knows what’s in the cargo, though?
“Medicines and bandages!” the Dutch did shout
But one of the crates hit the deck, with a clout,
And machine-guns and bullets all spewed out.

The cargo’s black, the wharfies said,
Everything Dutch is black!
And the message spread from shed to shed
And around the coast, and up the track,
Everything Dutch is black!
Dutch ships were black in every port,
No tug, no winch, no crane, no hand,
Day after day, the cops report,
Dutch ships are black, in every port,
The Dutch are caught, the Dutch are caught.

And Lord Mountbatten, Dickie Battenburg,
He came to Martin Place,
To plead for his fellow-colonialists,
With a sickly smile on his face,
He went straight up to Teddy Roach,
“Cause he knew he was the man,
Pleased to meet you, Mr. Roach,
Now, when do you plan, to lift this ban?”
Teddy Roach smiled like a leprechaun,
And said: “Louis, how do you do?
We will lift the ban on four hundred ships,
When the Indonesians ask us to.”
“But, they’re never going to ask you!”
Prince Louis felt like a spew,
Well, I’ve answered your question, Sir Roger,
Let’s be patient, and see if they do.”

So, when you walk upon Pier One,
Remember the deeds of old were done
To stop the Dutch from getting their guns,
To destroy Indonesian Freedom,
When Australians showed solidarity,
And now our terrible tragedy,
When we support Indonesian butchery,
Of our brothers in East Timor.