29 April 2012 0 Comments

The Anna

Words and music: Warren Payne (c) 2009

It was 1875 when the Anna came alive
at the Catlins River yard of Will McPhee
From native timbers she was made, of the very finest grade
They built her tough to survive the Southern Sea

Gaff and topsail on her main and her mizzen the same
And a pair of pulling on her fore
Cut the water like a hake, left her rivals in her wake
Showed her style in grin her captain wore

She was stout and tall and handsome from her bow to her transom
She’d a lively but sea kindly manner
Carried forty tons with ease though those wild Southern seas
A legend of the south was the Anna

It was Captain George Stout who first took her out
With a cargo of timber northward bound
In the sou’west wind she flew, up the coast to Timaru
Then a load of grain for old Dunedin town

Many voyages she made, port to port she plied her trade
Proving fast and safe with ballast in her hold
She made every voyage pay until strangely one day
Her owner decreed that she be sold


It was Captain Stephen Tall who answered Anna’s call
A man of high adventure and pluck
He had weathered many gales and was full of salty tales
How he’d cheated death with courage, skill and luck

Then in stormy Foveuax, Captain Tall met his fate
On a black and angry night they ran aground
Only hull and deck were saved from a cold watery grave
But her captain and crew were never found


Captains Anglem, Burke and Drew and the Anna built anew
All turned their hands to fishin’ and to sealin’
But it was Captain Wood who ran from Mr Greig the government man
Who knew but couldn’t prove that they were stealing

So he chased them all the way down to Perseverance Bay
Just to find that the crew had long since landed
Though he searched till he was blind not a sealskin could he find
Cursed the Anna as he sailed off empty handed


Then came Captain ‘Young Bill’ Hanning master seamen of high standing
He and Anna became a champion team
Ten exciting years they shared carrying anything anywhere
On the southern coast the Anna reigned supreme

Then one day a monster swell became the dreaded wave from hell
Right down the deck that lump of ocean flew
Captain Hanning and John Joss – swept overboard and lost
‘Twas the saddest day the Anna ever knew


Though her soul mate Bill was gone still the Anna battled on
Doing every kind of work a good ship could find
Then after forty years of sailing her timbers were ailin’
She was beached and broken up for firewood

Now on a cold and stormy night if there’s an eerie blue light
Flickering in the fire so surreal
It’s Anna’s spirit reaching free on that great heavenly sea
With Angel Captain Hanning at the wheel


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