Alec Robertson (I)
DESCRIPTION: Arthur Nolan rides his horse Sulphide in the Sydney Steeplechase. The horse stumbles; Nolan is thrown off and trampled to death. Various people grieve and regret what happened.
EARLIEST DATE: 1955
KEYWORDS: death horse family mother racing grief
FOUND IN: Australia
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Meredith/Anderson, pp. 65-66, "Arthur Nolan"; 150, "The Death of Alec Robertson" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Fahey-Eureka, pp. 220-221, "The Death of Alec Robertson" (1 text, 1 tune)
cf. "Donald Campbell" (theme)
cf. "Tom Corrigan (theme)
cf. "The Death of Alec Robertson" (theme)
cf. "Alec Robertson (II)" (theme)
NOTES [146 words]: The fullest text of this song seems to be the one Meredith and Anderson call "Arthur Nolan." However, there are two other variants which refer to the jockey as Alec Robertson, so it seems appropriate to give the song that title.
The characteristic feature of this song, and the one that connects the Arthur Nolan and Alec Robertson texts, is the reference to the jockey's mother: "Poor lad, his mother was not there To bid him last goodbye, But his stable-mate stood near With sad tears in his eye."
Gwenda Beed Davey and Graham Seal, A Guide to Australian Folklore, Kangaroo Press, 2003, p. 200, call Nolan a "Possibly historical jockey from Newcastle." Which I read as meaning, "We can't find any record of the guy." Similarly p. 225, the entry on Alec Robertson: "Probably fictional jockey whose often-collected song laments his death when his horse, Silvermine, fell." - RBW
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