Another sad loss for Glebe has been the death of renowned folk singer and activist, John Dengate, who died suddenly on 1 August 2013, aged 75. John’s most recent involvement with the Glebe Society was when he played the tin whistle at our Anzac Day memorial.

You will recall that the Bulletin has been running a series of interviews with Albert Mispel about the protests against the radial expressways that threatened Glebe in the early 1970s. John Dengate penned a song on this topic called Take Your Bulldozers Away. The lyrics are reprinted with kind permission of Dale Dengate, with thanks to Christina Mimmocchi.

John Dengate at the 2009 40th Anniversary Party of the Glebe Society (image: Phil Young)
John Dengate at the 2009 40th Anniversary Party of the Glebe Society (image: Phil Young)

Take Your Bulldozers Away

You can take your bulldozers from under our noses
We’re not near as gutless as Cutler supposes
Build your expressway a bloody sight less way
and take your bulldozers away.

D. M. R. to the devil.
Swallow your drivel and shovel your gravel.
Green bans now and forever will keep your bulldozers away

You can take your bulldozers to Pharoah and Moses,
you’ll find demolition is no bed or roses.
We’re not going to live with your North-West Distributor.
Take your bulldozers away.

D. M. R. to the devil.
Swallow your drivel and shovel your gravel.
Green bans now and forever
will keep your bulldozers away.

 You can tell your authorities that their priorities
don’t meet the needs of our urban majority.
Hands off that terrace row! Spare Glebe and Ultimo!
Take your bulldozers away.

 D. M. R. to the devil.
Swallow your drivel and shovel your gravel.
Green bans now and forever will keep your bulldozers away.

 If you’d like to listen to a lively rendition of this protest song, go to: http://www.christina8arms.com/nff.html, and scroll down until you get the list on the left of songs recorded at the National Library of Australia in 2010 for a project coordinated by Christina Mimmocchi.  You can then scroll down within the list and click on the song title Take Your Bulldozers Away.

If you’d like to know more, we refer you to the obituary written by Warren Fahey, published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 19 August 2013.