"Guinevere and the Fire" as written by and Fred Small....
My grandmother was born in 1900 on a farm in New South Wales
She wed a dairyman who liked to raise a pint of ale
The first child came when she was 20, five more babes in seven years
That first daughter was my mother; they called her Guinevere.

Little Gwen would play beneath the willow, "Yes the Queen would love some tea."
Helped with chores that never ended, tried to mind, tried to please
Sometimes she heard the music wild and strange in the summer night
The dirty people warned her mother: Never go near their campfire light

Stay away from the camp with the black fellas
Little white girls have disappeared
They drink and dance when the moon is red
Better never let 'em see your golden hair!

Came the winter of '27, so cold the milk froze in the pail
Her mum hung the nappies by the hearth, her dad in town for a round of ale
A spark leapt from the fire that night, wrapped her mother in a gown of flame
Failing, dancing in a frenzy, calling out in voiceless pain

Stillness, and the stench of burning, then so soft 'twas like a ghost
"Fetch the Cunninghams," she whispered, "bring me aide or I am lost."
The Cunningham house was not two miles away, and they the nearest whites
Past the camp of the Aboriginals, past the demons of the night

Stay away from the camp with the black fellas
Little white girls have disappeared
They drink and dance when the moon is red
Better never let 'em see your golden hair!

I must run to save my mother, I must go now, I must fly
Still she heard her mother's tales of the Devil's Drum and the Evil Eye
Her mother's breathing ever fainter, Gwen frozen in her fright
Seven hours 'til dawn she waited for the safety of the light

Now she runs 'til her feet are bleeding to the house upon the hill
Now comes the doctor's wagon speeding to her mother cold and still

The laid her down in a narrow graveyard, from the Bible read a verse
Children sent to aunts and uncles, some to Melbourne, some to Perth
Gwen packed her canvas satchel, could not hold the salt tears back
Turned to leave her home forever - faced a woman gnarled and black

"Child, our hearts are heavy grieving for your loss.
We live so close by you, why did you not come to us?
We have salves to heal the burning, we have herbs to stop the pain,
We could have helped, had we but known, to make your mother whole again."

Stay away from the camp with the black fellas
Little white girls have disappeared
They drink and dance when the moon is red
Better never let 'em see your golden hair,
Stay away from the camp with the black fellas
Little white girls have disappeared
They drink and dance when the moon is red
Better never let 'em see your golden hair!


Lyrics submitted by missmollygrue

Guinevere and the Fire song meanings
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