"Mt. Wellington Reverie" as written by and Richards....
You can't walk through the Isle of the Dead, you can't lie still in the
guest house bed, there's a pair of black eyes staring down at you from the mountain top, through yr window,
The bunks are empty, your mates are gone, breakfast lasts an hour long, O warm bread, drawn tea, the bastards'll never get to me...

But somebody knows, somebody knows, somebody always
knows,
Where a body goes.

I were one of two, we were joined at the shoe when we thought to make our break, so we shimmied our locks and we knocked up a box and we rode the thing down the waterway,
Now the Derwent twists and the Derwent slides, It's a moving thing
with many eyes, O who'd have thought, at all or often, that vehicle would become our coffin?

So many souls, so many souls, so many souls in the water...
I left me a little daughter, and I left me a girl, and I left them alone, in that tired old world, O where are they now?

I am one of a gang set to work on the land, a clearin' and fellin'
and killin',
The best of us here has a conscience clear and he goes about it keen
and willin',
We're shooting them from the rocks, and we're shooting them in the water and when they're runnin' we're shootin' them in the backs and we do it without a thought or care?

So many lies, so many lies, so many lies been told...
We'll none of us here grow old...
Not gracefully, not peacefully, in this blind old land, in this dreaming land, some demon's land.


Lyrics submitted by Jaylar

Mt. Wellington Reverie song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentI really like this song. Especially the haunting sounding chorus.

    Its pretty obvious that this song is about something in Tasmania since it mentions Mt Wellington and the Derwent river. At first I thought it was about what happened to the original Aboriginal population mainly given the last verse and chorus.

    Then I check on the lyrics and in the booklet it says this under the title - (Three convicts, Hobart Guest House, Marcus Clarke hails his last taxi), so this song is about convicts and the middle of the song supports it, since it has a place in histroy with a convict transport been taken over by the convicts and ended up disappearing down the Derwent.

    Marcus Clarke was an author from the late 1800 I think who wrote a famous Australian novel about convict times in Tasmania, I haven't read the book so I don't know if this song follows the story or not.
    Jaylaron September 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually, I get the feeling that this song is about the Black War, a particular low point in Australian history that ended in the genocide of the Aboriginal Tasmanian population. This is particularly noticeable in the lyrics

    "I am one of a gang set to work on the land, a clearin' and fellin'
    and killin',
    The best of us here has a conscience clear and he goes about it keen
    and willin',
    We're shooting them from the rocks, and we're shooting them in the water and when they're runnin' we're shootin' them in the backs and we do it without a thought or care?"

    Which indicates that they are being forced to fight against innocent people, and the soldiers in charge gladly partake in the slaughter, while the narrator is conflicted.
    Wohngespenston July 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis is definitely about Tasmania's convict history.

    Mt Wellington, as others have pointed out, is the mountain that overlooks Hobart.

    The first verse references Port Arthur, a huge convict settlement in Tasmania that these days is a tourist destination. The Isle of the Dead is the small isle that convicts were buried on (you can catch a ferry there to see the graves). The guest house in these lyrics could be one of many in the area.

    The second verse is about convicts that were chained together while working in order to prevent them from escaping. They work together to get out of their chains, throw together a makeshift boat, and take to the Derwent River to get away. The Derwent runs through Hobart, and much of Southern Tasmania. Obviously they are killed in the course of this escape (possibly by the dangers of the waterway itself), hence the references to the boat being a coffin

    The bit about his daughter and girl are pretty straightforward. Convicts were often taken from their families, and their families would be left to fend for themselves.

    Also, the last line where they say "some demon's land" - this might be a stretch, but back when a lot of our Tasmanian convict programs were still running, Tasmania used to be known as 'Van Diemen's Land'. This line could be a reference.

    Nonetheless, the song is definitely about Tasmania and definitely about convicts. The band has a couple of songs that reference our state. The Glenorchy Bunyip is another one
    sunnie31on November 09, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree, this song is about convicts and more so about their treatment of the Australian Aboriginal people in the 1700's and early 1800's. I am sure from this song, Glen has read the book 'Blood on the Wattle" which details all of the massacres of Aboriginal people including those in Van Demons "Some Demon's" Land, the place we now call Tasmania.
    He seems to treat the convicts delicately, referencing them as pawns in a bigger scheme rather than blaming them directly or individually for the massacres.
    adam555065on September 10, 2014   Link

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