Southern Cross (I), The
DESCRIPTION: The Southern Cross goes to the Gulf in March to hunt seals. They are successful in the hunt but on their return are lost in a storm. The SS Kyle, sent off to search, could find nothing. The singer concludes by hoping that all are in Heaven if never found.
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (Greenleaf/Mansfield); "written out by Lizzie C. Rose" (Doyle4)
KEYWORDS: hunting storm ship wreck disaster
Mar 31, 1914 - Last sighting of the Southern Cross
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Greenleaf/Mansfield 139, "The Southern Cross" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peacock, pp. 973-974, "The Southern Cross" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leach-Labrador 77, "The Southern Cross" (1 text, 1 tune)
Doyle2, p. 57, "The Southern Cross" (1 text, 1 tune)
Doyle3, pp. 54-55, "The Southern Cross" (1 text, 1 tune)
Doyle4, p. 41, "The Southern Cross" (1 text, 1 tune)
Blondahl, p. 80, "The Southern Cross" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ryan/Small, pp. 99-100, "Southern Cross" (1 text, 1 tune)
ST Doy57 (Partial)
Jack Dalton, "The Southern Cross" (on PeacockCDROM)
Eddy Primroy, "Wreck of the Southern Cross" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
cf. "The Southern Cross (II)" (subject)
NOTES: Horace Beck in his book Folklore and the Sea (Mystic Conn.: Mystic Seaport Museum, 1985), p. 208 gives a brief account of sealing disasters in Newfoundland that he obtained from George A. England, "Vikings of the Ice" (London, 1924) pp. 54-59. - SH
Greenleaf/Mansfield says that 170 men were lost; "no survivor or wreckage has ever been found."
Southern Cross last sighted by the Portia March 31, 1914 off Cape Race en route from Channel, southwest Newfoundland, to Harbour Grace (on the far side of Conception Bay from St John's); cargo about 20,000 seals; Captain George Clark (Northern Shipwrecks Database).
A must-read article on the ballad and its history, complete with a map, is available online in the archives of the site for the Canadian Journal for Traditional Music. Specifically, Canadian Journal for Traditional Music, vol 10, 1982, "The Southern Cross: A Case Study in the Ballad as History" by T.B. Rogers.
The article is good not only for its exhaustive discussion of this ballad but for the light it sheds on ballad-making in Newfoundland (at least). - BS
This song is item dD36 in Laws's Appendix II. - RBW
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