Eucalyptus Man

from Light Time & Sound by Helen Dorothy

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Lyrics based on the novel 'Eucalyptus' by Murray Bail (1999).


Eucalyptus Man
© Helen Dorothy (2007)

Here’s a tale
Set in New South Wales
Where the ironbark rails
Weave through the dusty ranges pale
There’s a man
Acquires a plot of land
Plants a eucalyptus stand
Then offers his daughter Ellen’s hand
To the suitor who can name all the trees
Five hundred of them, ragged and pale
Shivering in the breeze
And Ellen she said
As she lay down on her river-gum bed
"I’ll never be wed to a eucalyptus man"

So, they came and they went
The bushman and the city gent
But the rules could not be bent,
Then, a scientist from Kew
Said he’d stay a month or two
And they marveled at all the gums he knew
And she hoped and she prayed
He’d get his stringybarks, his bloodwoods,
And his blues mixed up with his greys
And in Ellen’s gloom
She stayed inside her bluestone room
Crying "I’ll not be entombed with a eucalyptus man"

Soon, it came to pass
The day to name the very last
And lift the spell that had been cast
And share together the stories of their pasts

But such a simple, simple mistake
One that any gum tree expert could make
And as he stumbled to the road
He sealed Ellen’s fate
She threw back the sheets
Came running down no shoes on her feet
Singing "My life is complete without the eucalyptus man"

And down in the groves
Waits the boy from town she already chose
And the hot wind blows away the eucalyptus man.


from Light Time & Sound, released September 28, 2017
Helen Dorothy - vocals, acoustic guitar
Paul Symons - vocals, acoustic guitar, pedal steel
Lott - double bass, percussion


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Helen Dorothy New Zealand

Helen Dorothy is “an acoustic folk artist in an honest sense” (NZ Musician, 2009). She writes "beautifully-crafted, intelligent songs rich in memorable imagery" (fRoots Magazine, Jan 2014).

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