In The Grain
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Words and Music: Pat Drummond

For Robert , Sharon, Jimmy and Louise Hyland. Dateline ; Mount Burr, S.A.

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The economic rationalists that have dominated the entire political spectrum in Australia over the last ten years seem to forget that industry is as much about 'pride in a product'; as it is about 'pride in a profit'. This song, about the dignity of worthwhile work done well, was written after I stayed with a family of timber workers in Mt. Burr, near Millicent, in South Australia. The timber mill, which has been the focus of their lives for two generations, is currently under threat of closure.


Chorus: It's in the grain, in the grain. Some things still remain.

When the pride of a man is in the work of his hands you can feel it in the grain.


Oh, they're gathering in on the south-east rim

where the Southern Ocean rolls,

the timber stands that their father's hands

sowed forty five years ago.

And the women and the men of the timberland

have milled and turned their lives

to the smell of the pine on the Mount Burr Line

in the mill on Thomas Drive.




Louise is in the office working on the ledger;

Bobbie's on the main race drive;

Jimmy's doin' time on the Optimiser Edger;

Sharon' s on the Hyster Nine.

From the flitch to the match; from the chains to the stacks

where the timber's kilned and dried.

The women and the men of the Mount Burr Mill

turn their trade with pride.




We can't stay the pace of change but some things still remain.

These families have learned to bend

like the Radiata in the Southern Wind.

If they close this mill they'll start again

but it goes against the grain.

It runs against the grain.


Some people work for a living; it's the lot that they're given

and they slave from nine till five.

Some people live for their work. It's a joy and a blessing.

It's what keeps them alive.

The sons and the daughters of the Fennells and Walkers

and the children of the Hyland Clan;

They own that mill in a way their boss will

never understand.



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