Hey, hey-hey hey
There'll be food on the table tonight
Hey, hey, hey hey
There'll be pay in your pocket tonight

My gut is wrenched out it is crunched up and broken
A life that is led is no more than a token
Who'll strike the flint upon the stone and tell me why
If I yell out at night there's a reply of bruised silence
The screen is no comfort I can't speak my sentence
They blew the lights at heaven's gate and I don't know why

But if I work all day at the blue sky mine
(There'll be food on the table tonight)
Still I walk up and down on the blue sky mine
(There'll be pay in your pocket tonight)

The candy store paupers lie to the share holders
They're crossing their fingers they pay the truth makers
The balance sheet is breaking up the sky
So I'm caught at the junction still waiting for medicine
The sweat of my brow keeps on feeding the engine
Hope the crumbs in my pocket can keep me for another night
And if the blue sky mining company won't come to my rescue
If the sugar refining company won't save me
Who's gonna save me?

But if I work all day...

And some have sailed from a distant shore
And the company takes what the company wants
And nothing's as precious, as a hole in the ground

Who's gonna save me?
I pray that sense and reason brings us in
Who's gonna save me?
We've got nothing to fear

In the end the rain comes down
Washes clean, the streets of a blue sky town



Lyrics submitted by themancky

"Blue Sky Mine" as written by Martin Rotsey, Robert Hirst, James Moginie, Peter Garrett, Wayne Stevens

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


Blue Sky Mine song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +5
    General Comment:An indictment of heartless and greedy companies placing profits before the safety of workers. In this case it was CSR (the "sugar refining company") and the asbestos mines of Wittenoom in West Australia. It ignored the dangers of asbestos for decades. The problem still hasn't gone away as evidenced by James Hardie's recent escapades.
    chrisb1on February 01, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:Blue Sky Mine by Midnight Oil is a song protesting a tragedy which occurred in Wittenoom, Western Australia. In 1938 Mr. Lang Hancock initiated the mining of blue asbestos in Wittenoom. However, because of the war in 1943, there was not enough asbestos fibre imports which were needed in the asbestos manufacturing business. This left Hancock no choice but to sell the mining operations to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) who became one of the main miners of blue asbestos in Australia. The CSR made no effort in making the miners working conditions up to standard. The miners had to crawl around on their knees scratching for blue asbestos. It wasn’t until 20 years later that the CSR actually built vents so that miners could breathe fresh air. This was described as the “greatest industrial disaster in Australia” by the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia. Thousands of miners and their families, travellers, visitors, consultants and Government officials were all exposed to deadly levels of blue asbestos. It is proven that the CSR knew that blue asbestos could cause asbestosis and cancer, especially under the circumstances they endorsed but no effort was made to minimise the risks.

    The title, “Blue Sky Mine” has two meanings. It describes the blue asbestos mine at Wittenoom, and is used in an ironic way to illustrate that there is no blue sky in a mine but rather darkness and dust, also metaphorically speaking, when people think of a blue sky it generally gives them a felling of freedom and lack of restriction, whereas in a mine these feelings are hardly evident.

    The mood for Blue Sky Mine is created as soon as the song begins. The fast passed and rhythmic introduction creates an enthusiastic and ecstatic mood. The first stanzas lyrics with the help of the mood that has been set show the way which the Wittenoom Mining Company sent subliminal messages to Australians attempting to brainwash them into thinking mining is an easy way to get rich. “Hey, hey-hey hey There'll be food on the table tonight Hey, hey-hey hey There'll be pay in your pocket tonight.”

    The second stanza undergoes a shift in the singer’s mood to portray feelings of both pain and confusion. Since the lyrics of this stanza are from a miner’s point of view, listeners take a lot more notice to what is being said and can get a good perspective of what life was like working in the mine. “My gut is wrenched out it is crunched up and broken, A life that is led is no more than a token” signifies that the miners are exhausted and injured from working and that the lives they are living are insignificant. The minors are kept in the dark about what’s go on “who will strike the flint upon the stone and tell me why,” asking questions but no one is answering “If I yell out at night there's a reply of bruised silence,” this is reinforcing insignificance of their working lives.

    The third stanza is again from a miner’s point of view. The words are similar to the first stanza but a lot more meaningful. The miner “works all day” to provide for his family. Although he is making a living, the Mining Companies are the ones who really have “food on the table and pay in their pocket.”

    The fourth stanza contains the most insightful lyrics throughout the song. The first three lines explain how the company’s top priority is money. From the forth line down the lyrics become very deep when the singers tone symbolise compassion towards the miners and appreciates what they had to go through. “So I'm caught at the junction still waiting for medicine,” the miner is becoming aware that asbestos is very harmful and finds himself waiting in line for a cure. The next lines “The sweat of my brow keeps on feeding the engine, Hope the crumbs in my pocket can keep me for another night” shows listeners that the miner is pretty much giving his bodily fluids and performing backbreaking labour for the good and economical benefit of the company but receiving almost nothing in return symbolised by the crumbs in his pocket. The stanza finishes with “who's gonna save me?” as if the miner has no confidence left.

    The sixth stanza starts with “some have sailed from a distant shore” explaining that people from all over the world have come to mine asbestos. This is followed by the line “The company takes what the company wants,” and is dominant over the mine therefore it gets a hold on most of the profits and only a small amount is set aside for miners. The last words in this stanza are the most important in the song, “And NOTHING’S as precious, as a hole in the ground,” this clarifies that the Mining company is practically sacrificing human lives in order to gain the most economically which is really unacceptable.

    The last stanza begins with a worrying mood as created by the lyrics “Who's gonna save me?” and “I pray that sense and reason brings us in” once more reminding listeners that confidence is running out and miners are preying that the company comes to its senses. This mood is soon changed as “we've got nothing to fear, in the end the rain comes down and washes clean, the streets of a blue sky town” is sung. These last lines provide a sense of hope, revealing that tomorrow is a new beginning and another day.

    The main theme throughout Blue Sky Mine is offcourse workers rights, no one should have to work in the conditions that the CSR provided, unfortunately for most, it was there only choice any they had nowhere else to go. Another equally important environmental issue is also addressed in blue sky mine. This is asbestos being released into the air, although is not mentioned all the way through the song like workers rights, asbestos released into the atmosphere has the potential to cause a lot of damage to both humans and animals who inhale its fibres.


    Swish
    jlc01on October 24, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I know what the song is about but to me it also symbolizes the state that many of us are in that love our planet. We are all working in blue sky mine, taking the world's precious resources to feed our children and survive, working for a government and an entity that could care less about the long term damage to our earth and just thinks about today. We are all trapped in blue sky mine.
    jewellyQon January 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:A Blue Sky Mine is a blue asbestos mine.
    asbestosdiseases.org.au/asbestosinfo/…
    It's a bit lengthy, but a good summary of the Wittenoom tragedy which Chrisb1 mentioned above.
    The protagonist, is just an ordinary man, trying to feed his family, but knows that his job is killing him and there's nothing he can do.
    Arianrhodon February 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I have been through Wittenoom and it is a very weird place - houses, pubs, shops, the whole works. But the place is deserted - only about five people live there, at its peak there were thousands. It is a true ghost town.

    The film clip for this song is bloody good too - it is filmed near Wittenoom, you can get a good idea of the harsh, beautiful country where so many men died.
    willia05on February 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:the first riff reminds me of in a-gadda da-vida
    Dressed2Depresson September 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:jlc01
    lovelifeon August 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I am bi racial. The song was released and in familar to me before a visit it was not to hard to figure out I would later read the full visit. I would make a visitto my family in Canberra Australia summer 1991. My uncle (he's old enough to by my grandfather) saw Latvia and his father one step ahead of Soviets. Proably the cruelest irony of WWII is how the Nazi's behaved his own Uncle was in a DP camp and my Uncle was in the Nazi military. It was a conversation in a living room in a house in Canberra when I realized how close to this song came to nearly .....describing his fate. He was given the option of working....the Blue Sky mine or working lumber camps to become a naturalized Australian citizen. We then saw pictures of the lumber camps.
    txhilljackon May 31, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I thought Blue Sky Mine just meant an open cut mine. Not all mines are underground and in an open cut mine you can always see the sky.
    Crabstikson February 02, 2012   Link

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