Lake Macquarie History

The Strike

Mrs W B Griffiths, 1880.

Published in Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate

Monday 24 May 1880, page 3

photo: miners on the pit top at lymington colliery

Photograph from our collection: Miners on the pit top at Lymington Colliery

Let the cry from Northumberland ring through the land!

Ho! Trades, to the rescue, and help us to stand:

For the hand of injustice is raised to destroy –

They refuse arbitration, and strangers employ.

Have we not striven the masters to serve?

To hold them together have strained every nerve

Some are in prison for serving their cause,

Because they respected the Vend and its laws;

And now they reduce us some thirty percent -

Take it or leave is their only comment.

Oh God! It is hard for the men to look on:

Soon the stores will be closed, and supplies will be gone!

God bless the brave seamen, grasp each tarry fist:

When the trouble came on they were first to assist.

The meaning of strike they often have heard;

Hunger and poverty ring through the ward -

The fiend of starvation has claimed it’s own,

His skeleton finger beats time to its groan.

And shrieks with delight, when the blackleg he’ll see,

“Oh! Join in the work of destruction with me.”

Take the bread from our little ones, drive them to worse,

Till they beg at your door for a coin from your purse.

The temper of mothers and wives it will try

To watch the blackleg to his work sneaking by;

To know he is taking the dress from your back,

The shoe from your feet, the bread that you lack.

Call on the public to help in our need,

If they sympathise with us, to show it in dead.

Many who climb to the top of the hill

Set a stone rolling: it stops not until

The bottom is reached. In it’s fall it may crush

Some one who loved and aided you much.

What does it matter? The end is obtained!

Who cares for the cries of the mangled and maimed!

Oh! Nasters be merciful! Do not forget

We have raised you to wealth – now repay us the debt.

Can you reply your demand is unjust?

Have you not ground us as low as the dust?

Grant us the sliding scale, we are content,

Give the signal for work, let the blacklegs be sent

To repent at their leisure the wront they have done

In striving to take from our children each crumb.

Let Labour and Capital go hand in hand, and peace and prosperity smile on the land.

Mrs W.B. Griffiths, Junction, Newcastle