Mothers of the Nation EP, by Rosie McDonald, Cliona Molins, Ann Palumbo, Nigel Lever, Jacqui McPhee (2022)


Mothers of the Nation 05:12


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Mothers of the nation by Rosie McDonald & Cliona MolinsMothers of the Nation, pay respectMothers of the Nation, your strength has brought us hereMothers of the Nation, pioneers , weave the nations clothMothers of the Nation, wise women of this landMothers of the Nation , elder women, women sing our songOoh …Mothers of the Nation , Black and White Written out of history Mothers of the nation, Hold your heads high Mothers of the nation ,Elders yarn, her story of strength and fight to carve out a life in this land Chorus There’s no roads, no statues named for them Pioneers in land old and new Those of you who arrived under sail and those whose land we stole Mothers of the nation , pay respect Unsung unpaid Mothers of the nation ,heartbeat of our landMothers of the nation ,convict girlsdescendants we are now 1 in 7 of us here. Chorus Grandmothers of the nation , pay respect Your strength brought us here Mothers of the nation ,Goldfields, earth and bush Mothers of the nation ,show resistance to the harsh rule By your guidance and strength we are here Chorus Mothers of Nation Pay respectMothers of the nation, Wise women of our land Mothers of the nation, we will sing your songMothers of the nation, weave the nations clothMothers of the nation heartbeat of our landMothers of the nation …….Pay respect


Banish My Misfortune 04:46


Banish my Misfortune From Cork to Port Jackson in 1818 on a convict ship ,with m'baby AileenSent for the crime of stealing lace to sell for food ,We were starving in placeWee ones born ,Banshee women wailed County Down to Kilkenny and Cork we hailed old ties are broken, banished from homesweet County Clare is a dream to me nowOn St Bridget's day 1821, 109 women & 71 young, marched down to the factory , troops by our side stone walls so high , and a harsh life insideno bed of my own to care for my childAileen now 3, by 4 she’ll be gone sent to orphanage over the wall punished for my crime, no fault of her ownChorusWe weave the lines of cloth togetherLife, land & blood our songs entwine This harsh land our fate no more returningtransported from from the green fields of home. RefrainThe bonnet I wear small help from the cold Tunic and petticoat rough on my skinThe straw hat I wear small shade from the sunGod please save me banish my misfortune To Parramatta factory, to weave, spin and worklay out the linen for the fine folk We live together, work together cook clean and sew, face joy, loss and pain many secrets kept hereWe’ll sing together, weave ,tell old tales and new in the heat of the sun ,the sky topaz blueOh i wish my dear Sean was here by my side to steal me away to start a new lifeChorusrefrain Shorn is my mane, my beautiful red hairMammy told me it would be my fortuneShorn is my mane my red tempered maneGod please save me Banish my misfortune Banish misfortune - Lilting/tune I’ll weave the lines of cloth Life, land & blood our songs entwine This harsh land my fate no more returning transported here to weave a new life


Little Parramatta Mary 04:25


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Little Parramatta Mary Hundred days at sea, I held you, Mary‘Nursed you well tho, many babes were lost Here at the Female Factory you learned to dance with meBut at 4 - they took you from my armsI’m staying good, so I can see you, Mary Without you, the work is hard and the night’s are long.ChorusI’ll get you from the orphan school, my MaryPrison’s not for you - my innocent childBut the walls are high up here in Parramatta Your mother’s heart is broke, till I hold you tightAlice Leonard had her cunning planShe climbed that 9 foot wall many times, But they caught her - with a peach from Matron’s gardenNow she’s locked in 3rd, - picking oakum since last week Sure I’ll sow their clothes, till me fingers bleed, me darlin Cause I’m staying good so I can see you soon.ChorusThey paraded us in the yard to get a man But no settler’ll take a mother as their brideThey sent me up Maitland with a master,Who was cruel and he wanted me for his bedBut I didn’t ‘get caught’ with a baby like poor SarahWho’s hair was cropped though it was her master’s sinOh ‘Transported for Life’ I was - for the sin - of stealing a sheep….As the ship left my Irish home….how could say “Goodbye” You’re all I’ve left of me family hereAnd I won’t be far from you no moreSo I’m back in 1st with me Parramatta Factory sisters,Got me brown serge dress, I’m getting me ticket of leaveI’ll find you in the orphanage by the riverTogether you and I - are familyChorus


Shower of Stones 03:37

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Shower of Stones by Cliona Molins and Rosie McDonald You’ve cut all our rations, bead, sugar & meatWe are starved and thirsty ,working through this heatAre we worth less than men, in over-crowded cells So we are piling up stones, for the next riot dayYour cruelty is punishing, we make all your rope We’re tougher than many ,but we’re losing our hopeIn overcrowded cells, where the cold wind whistles inSo we are piling up stones, for the next riot dayYou’d shame us by burning cropped locks of our hairNow someone is earning by selling our share We know who’s pocketing and the monitress agrees So we are piling up stones, on this riot dayAnn Jarvis , the traitor she cut off our hair and earned remission for 2 months from hereWe all stand out ground ” Don’t cut our hair”So we are piling up stones, on this riot dayCruel Rev Marsden lashed two girls in chainsfor “polluting our ears’ he sourly exclaimed Instead of Pastoral care he profits from our work So we pelted them with stones on this riot dayClimbing like cats on the roof of 3rd classWith stones in our pinnies, pockets and bonnetsThe fear in Marsden’s eyes gave strength to our causeSo we threw showers of stones on this riot day 40 soldiers and their officers – to keep us in lineTo come down from this roof we were threatened with timeSubdued us by force we had to concedeSo we threw down our stones, on this riot day we threw showers of stones for cutting our hairwe threw showers of stones as fast as we couldwe threw showers of stones for the cruelty we bore we were strong together on this riot day we were strong together on this riot day we were strong together on this riot day

Songs of the Female Convicts of Parramatta

In 2019, Rosie McDonald and Cliona Molins were commissioned write a suite of 4 songs to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Parramatta Female Factory building.

By “Female Factory” we don’t mean ‘factory’ in the normal sense of the word. This Greenway-designed building in the early Colony of Sydney was the blueprint for 13 similar buildings in Australia; a prison and marriage bureau; a place of hardship and loss for over 9,000 female convicts.

When compared to the male population, many of these women were guilty of crimes of survival or 1st offenders and over 60% of them were transported from Ireland.

This commemoration is a highly significant National event given the Factory is the earliest female convict site in Australia. The stories of the women and children go to the heart of the Australian Identity - they are stories of separation and loss and yet stories of hope, resilience and remarkable survival. These songs hope to reveal some of the many hidden and often untold stories of the female convicts from whom an estimated 1 in 7 Australians are descended.

released February 21, 2021

Rosie McDonald; (Lead & Backing Vocals, Guitar, Bodhran Track 2, Clapping, Stones)
Cliona Molins; (Harp, Backing Vocals, Bodhran Track 4, Clapping, Stones)
Jacqueline McPhee; (Lead Vocals Track 3, Lilting Violin)
Nigel Lever; (Mandolin, Clapping)
Ann Palumbo; (Double Bass)
Ron James & Joe Vandermeer; (Clapping)

Recording EngineerBowen Shakallis
Mixing Andy Busuttil, Blue Mountains Sound
Mastering Greg Seiler
Producer Ann Palumbo
Album Artwork Angela Sommers

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