– An Australian Song Cycle –
Words and Music: Lorraine Milne
“Spotlighting the experiences and achievements
of ordinary and extraordinary Australian women
in historical and contemporary settings”
In a 1930s film of The Threepenny Opera, when Mack the Knife has to leave town in a hurry, he gathers his gang and says: “Boys, while I’m away, Pollie’s in charge.” One quips back:
“But boss, she’s not the right man for the job!”
What a line! It became the genesis of Maiden Voyage – and A Woman Is Not the Right Man, the first song to be written, eventually became the ninth song in the cycle.
The focus then shifted to spotlighting the experiences and achievements of ordinary and extraordinary Australian women in historical and contemporary settings.
The stories woven through Maiden Voyage embrace convict ships and prostitutes, free settlers, currency born, the fight for female suffrage, English migration between the two world wars, survival in the outback, the cultural drain, the Vietnam war, GDP and what is valued and finally a celebration of the legacy of these extraordinary women, many of whom were not recognised for their achievements in their lifetimes.
On March 22, 2015, Maiden Voyage was launched at University College (Parkville, Melbourne) with Associate Professor Neryl Jeanneret overseeing proceedings and special guest speaker Dr Anne Summers, AO.
“What a rich and diverse history of Australian women has been captured in this music. And it’s a song cycle, unified by its music and text. It’s accessible and real…”
(Associate Professor Neryl Jeanneret, Melbourne University Graduate School of Education)
“…There is so much of Australian history and wealth that arose directly from the efforts of women who were not given credit for what they did so it is very much a part of our story and I’m very glad it’s recognized in this work…
One of the bitter lessons that we have learnt from politics – the same thing applies to history – is that just because we have uncovered something, just because we have reinterpreted it, or just because we have told the story more fully, that it’s going to survive. But it doesn’t survive unless we carry it on, and we carry it on through literature, through films, through music…and I would like to thank Lorraine Milne very, very much for this wonderful piece of work.” (Dr Anne Summers AO)
Scroll Down to listen