Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

1872: A Song About the Maritime Union of Australia

This song touches on key events in the history of the MUA, and direct action taken by that union in the interests of peace and justice. It was written by Walter Pritchard, Katie Newfield and Jonathon Snook, and is one of the songs featured in Walter’s musical play, “The Mayday Queen of the Scarlet Belt”.  I arranged this for a small choir, with the chorus in full part harmony, and the verses mostly in unison, with a bit of 2 part harmony.

For context, a detailed, if imperfectly written, history of the MUA, well worth a read, can be found here.
Peace and social justice issues addressed by the union include opposing conscription in both the First World War, and the Vietnam War, as well as, “advocating for Aboriginal rights, opposing apartheid in South Africa, opposing the Vietnam War, and participating in the nuclear disarmament movement.”

Another issue was the opposition to sending pig iron to Japan, when Japan was invading China, immediately prior to the 2nd World War, the issue which gave rise to the Dalfram dispute, and Robert Menzies infamous nickname, “Pig Iron Bob”.  All this, as well as the union’s core activities, advocating and fighting for workers’ rights.

But back to the song, which references many of these events and issues.

Sheet Music: (.pdf) (Scroll down for .jpg)

The song was written in the key of G, but the arrangement, as sung by the Illawarra Union Singers, sits comfortably in A. A capo on the 2nd fret, allows for the guitar shapes and patterns from the G music to be effectively played in A.
Key of G
Key of G: Cropped
Key of A
Key of A: Cropped
The cropped sheet music allows for a bigger printout; choose “Fit”, or “Fit to printer margins” in the print options. If this doesn’t work for you, choose the non-cropped version.
Here is the original sheet music that I used as starting point for this arrangement.

Practice Tracks

These are all in the key of A.
Soprano (Chorus Only)
Alto (Sung)
Tenor (Sung)
Bass (Sung)
All Parts: Instrumental
-and as a reference point, the original demo  track, sung by Kate Newfield and Jonathon Snook, in the key of G.

Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

Peace, Hope & Love! SATB Arrangement

This is a song for peace, adapted by Doug McPherson from a hymn by Trisha Watts. Each year, on August 6th, a group of us meet at a peace monument in Wollongong mall, to commemorate the bombing of Hiroshima. We sing a couple of songs, and have a minute of silent reflection. This year, 2020, this was one of the songs we sang.

Sheet Music .pdf
Sheet Music Cropped: .pdf

Practice Tracks

Melody/Soprano (Piano)

Alto (Sung)

Tenor (Sung)

Bass (Sung)

Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

Put It On The Ground

This song, published in both “The Little Red Song Book” and “Sing Out” magazine, was closely associated with the Industrial Workers of the World, an international trade union movement. The song’s copyright is marked 1947. Recording’s are scarce. This arrangement uses the lead-sheet published in “The Little Red Song Book” as a starting point. One point of difference is the last line of each verse, where I have used a Peter Paul & Mary recording as a reference point.
The arrangement is mostly in two parts, bass and melody. In the last line of both verse and chorus, I have added an alto line. In the first line of the chorus I have added a tenor line, and at the cadences notes for tenor and alto are added. In short, this is for a small group of singers, who may not be able to muster the forces for SATB throughout the song. The “missing” voices could easily be added later.

Sheet Music .pdf

Practice Tracks

How to download practice tracks:





All Parts


Peter Paul & Mary Recording


Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

The Price of The Coal: Climate Change

Here is an adaptation of a song written by Wendy Richardson. The original song focuses on the price of the coal in the context of the lives of the miners. This version of the song, with verses written by members of the Illawarra Union Singers, focuses on the price of the coal in terms of environmental costs.

The arrangement is in 2 parts, for higher and lower voices.

Sheet Music

Practice Tracks

Practice your own part, and then practice singing that part with the both parts track. Click here for instructions on how to save practice tracks from this site.

Upper Voice


Lower Voice


Both Parts


A Sung Demo Track With Both Parts: Male Voices

Here is the sheet music, in .jpg format:

Notes on versions:

Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

The Appin Tragedy

The night of Tuesday, July 24, 1979, shook not only the small mining community of Appin but the entire Illawarra, with the region’s families dependent on their men going underground day after day (Cox 2009).  This song uses words from a poem by Sid Wright, and music written and arranged by Sarah De Jong. This arrangement, for the Illawarra Union Singers, has been transcribed with a couple of tweaks to the bass line, and guitar chords added, by Doug McPherson.

Sheet Music Gm: Score

This is the original key. To save room the unison parts are only written on the soprano/alto stave.

Soprano Part

Soprano & Drum Parts

Soprano & Alto Parts

Tenor Part

Bass Part

Sheet Music Em: Score

This should only be used by a guitarist, with a capo on the 3rd fret.

Sarah De Jong’s Original Sheet Music

Practice Tracks

In most instances, the practice tracks include an introduction, not written into the sheet music.



Melody, Sung with Drum Beat
-Sung by a tenor; not a soprano


Alto, Sung:

The sung parts are only where the alto differs from the soprano line.


Tenor, Sung


Bass, Sung


All parts: These tracks below use combinations of instruments representing the four vocal parts. It may be useful to learn your part and then sing it with the accompaniment of these instrumental parts, to test how well you have learnt the part. Of these two tracks, the string arrangement may be more in keeping with the spirit of the song.

All Parts: Woodwinds

All Parts: Strings

Lyrics: Syllables separated by hyphens

Here is the music in jpg format:

Notes on changes from previous versions of the song.

Cox, B, 2009 ‘Appin mine blast: a day that shook our world’, Illawarra Mercury, 23 July, viewed July 2 2019, <>

Illawarra Union Singers Lament for Liberal Party Leadership Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

A Lament for Liberal Party Leadership

-Or lack thereof.

This song is based on a somewhat earlier song, “The Nonsense Song”, written at the height of Tony Abbott’s “leadership” of Australia.  This current song only has 3 verses, dealing with the 3 most recent Prime Ministers.

Sheet Music
Sheet Music (Cropped)
Scroll down for the sheet music, with performance notes in .jpg format.

Practice Tracks
Practice Suggestion: Practice your part, singing all the choruses of the song, with the practice track for your part.  Then practice your part against the “All Parts” track.

Chorus: All Parts, Sung


Chorus: Melody, Sopranos and Altos


Chorus: Tenors


Chorus: Bass


Verse and Chorus: Instrumental, Melody

Notes on versions of this song.

Illawarra Union Singers Solidarity: IUS Version

Solidarity Forever: An Arrangement for the Illawarra Union Singers

“Solidarity Forever”, written by Ralph Chaplin in 1915, is a popular union anthem. It is sung to the tune of “John Brown’s Body” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic“. Although it was written as a song for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), other union movements have adopted the song as their own.

This arrangement, for a small mixed voice choir with guitar accompaniment, sounds like this. It is based on an SATB arrangement by C. Shaw and E. Blyth which is sung by the combined Sydney, Newcastle and Illawarra union choirs.
The key has been lowered from Bb to G.
The melody, identical to the combined choir version except for the lower key, is to be sung in unison by baritone and/or mezzo-soprano voices.

Sheet Music: (.pdf format)
Sheet Music: (.pdf format, cropped)
Lyrics: Word Document

If printing the cropped sheet music, look for a printer setting that says “fit”, or “fit to printer margins”. If that doesn’t work for you download the first, uncropped file.

Practice Tracks

If you aren’t sure how to download tracks from this site, click here.

Melody: Mezzo-Soprano
Melody: Baritone

Identical to the soprano line, except an octave lower.


The alto part is identical to the combined choir arrangement linked to above. The end of the first verse uses the same notes from verse 2 in that arrangement. The beginning of verse 2 uses the same notes as verses 3 & 4. The pitch is lower than the combined choir version.


The tenor part contains a solo harmony line for most of the first verse, to complement the solo sung by a soprano or baritone. This could also be sung by a contralto or a soprano. The rest of the tenor line is the same as the combined choir arrangement, except for the last note of the chorus, and of the coda. The beginning of verse 2 uses the same notes as verses 3 & 4. The pitch is lower than the combined choir version.

All Parts Together

Good practice may be to practice your part with its individual track, and then sing this against the all parts track.

Notes on previous versions:

And finally here is the sheet music in jpg format:


And the lyrics as text:

Solidarity: IUS Version

When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun,
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the Union makes us strong!

Solidarity forever, solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the Union makes us strong!

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite,
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong!

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn,
We can break their haughty power gain our freedom when we learn,
That the Union makes us strong!

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of armies magnified a thousand fold,
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old,
For the Union makes us strong!

Coda After Final Chorus:

For the Union makes us strong!

Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

Banks Are Made of Marble

This song was written in 1949 by Les Rice, a farmer from New York State, USA. It deals with the perverse injustice, exploitation and inequality Rice saw all around him. Pete Seeger wrote about Les Rice and this song: “Like most small farmers, he was getting intolerably squeezed by the big companies which sold him all his fertilizer, insecticide and equipment, and the big companies that dictated to him the prices he would get for his produce. Out of that squeeze came this song.”

It seems to me that the song has particular resonance and currency in Australia at the moment, following the largely ineffectual Royal Commission into Banking. This arrangement is based on an earlier Michael Roper arrangement.

Sheet Music: (pdf, tightly cropped)

To print the music above, look for a setting that says “Fit” or “Fit to Printer Margins”, for a nice big printout, or if that doesn’t work, print the music below.

Sheet Music: (pdf, margins)
Practice Tracks

Soprano/Melody: 2 Verses Plus Chorus


Soprano/Melody: Final Chorus


Soprano/Melody: Final Chorus; With Click Track


Alto: Chorus Only


Tenor: Chorus Only


Bass: Chorus Only


Bass: Chorus Only, With Click Track


Here is a recording of the Weavers singing the song, in Bb:


And the same Weavers’ recording, with a pitch shift to C:

This last recording with the pitch shift puts the recording into the same key as the arrangement presented here.

How to download practice tracks.

Finally here is the sheet music in .jpg format:

Notes on version changes.

Illawarra Union Singers

Love and Justice: A Song

An adaptation of “Love and Justice”, a women’s anthem by independent musician and ARIA award winner Kavisha  Mazzella. The Illawarra Union Singers thank Kavisha for her permission to perform the song, adapting it for a small mixed voice choir.

Sheet Music

The Original Sheet Music


The files below are adapted from this original music. If using the lyric sheet above, the following arrangement skips the “ah” chorus, and abbreviates the fanfare.

Adapted Sheet Music 1.9 

If you have a previous copy of the adapted sheet music or practice tracks this file documents, in part at least, changes made.

Practice Tracks

These practice tracks work closely with the adapted sheet music. The exact phrasing of the words in verses 2 and 3 may not be identical to what needs to be sung. They are all about 20% slower than the performance tempo. Good preparation might include practising your own part, and then, when confident, practice with the “All Parts” track. Click here for instructions on how to download these practice tracks.

Soprano With Click Track


Soprano Without Click Track


Alto With Click Track


Tenor With Click Track


Tenor Without Click Track


Bass With Click Track


Bass Without Click Track


All Parts


And as a reference point:

The Original Recording

And, (inspiring, but somewhat daunting), from YouTube,
The Original Amazing Performance


Illawarra Union Singers Music Arrangements & Practice Tracks

Lament for Manus Island:
A Choral Arrangement

Lament for Manus Island In Parts

I was asked for an arrangement of this song for a mixed voice ensemble, so here it is. The score is written with melody, (plus a descant in the chorus), to be sung by sopranos and/or tenors, an alto line and a bass line, with guitar chords indicated.

For the solo version,  click here!

Sheet Music

Lament for Manus Island 4.7 Bm

Lament for Manus Island 4.7 Am
Guitarists may prefer this; capo on 2nd fret for Bm.

The next files are identical to the ones above, except they don’t contain the descant notes in the melody.
Lament for Manus Island 4.7: Bm

Lament for Manus Island 4.7: Am

If you have a previous version of this music the next document lists the main changes which have been made: “Lament for Manus Island” versions.

Practice Tracks

In the all parts track, the melody is the flute sound, the alto the oboe sound, and the bass, a baritone sax.









All Parts Together


Here is the original, solo, version of the song. I recorded this in my kitchen.

Here is the sheet music in .jpg format.

A Minor

B Minor


And finally, a YouTube video I created to go with the song: