The Southern Cross – Rose

Alan Mills’ version can be heard below.



She got up steam the twelfth of March and shortly did embark
To try her fortune in the gulf in charge of Captain Clarke
She carried a hundred seventy men a strong and vigorous race
Some from St. John’s and Brigus and more from Harbour Grace

They reached the gulf in early March the whitecoats for to slew
With 17,000 prime young harps killed by her hardy crew
All panned and safely stowed below with colours waving gay
The Southern Cross she left the ice bound out for home that day

She passed near Channel homeward bound as news came out next day
To say a steamer from the gulf she now is on her way
No doubt it is the Southern Cross the operator said
She’s looking to have a bumper trip and well down by the head

The last of March the storm came on with blinding snow and sleet
The Portia bound for western ports the Southern Cross did meet
When Captain Connors from the bridge he saw the ship that day
And thinking she would shelter up in St. Mary’s Bay

St. Mary’s Bay she never reached as news came out next morn
She must have been all night at sea all in that dreadful storm
The S.S. Doyle was soon despatched to search the ocean round
But no sign of that missing ship could anywhere be found

She searched Cape Race and every place until she reached Cape Pine
But of the crew or wreckage the Captain found no sign
So put your trust in providence and trust to Him on high
To send the Southern Cross back home and fill sad hearts with joy

All things do happen for the best but if they’re called away
Those brave lads on the Southern Cross out in the storm that day
We trust they reached the Heavenly land and rest with Him on high
Where cares and sorrows are no more but all is peace and joy.



See also:

7 responses to “The Southern Cross – Rose”

  1. Carol Hopkins says:

    My great uncle, Patrick Morrissey, was on the Southern Cross on that fateful voyage. I really appreciate this song and testimony to all the brave men who lost their lives at sea and in the horrific sealing disasters during that same storm.

  2. Heather Sparling says:

    Thanks for your feedback, Carol. How incredible to know that your great uncle was a part of this terribly tragic moment in history. It’s sometimes hard to imagine just how difficult the lives of our forebears could be, isn’t it?

  3. Hello ~

    Regarding your comment above:
    “The MacEdward Leach site indicates that this song was attributed to Lizzie C Rose whereas the wtv site indicates that she was simply the first to transcribe the lyrics.”

    There is much information about that particular song on the page you cited:

    In particular, I commented years ago: “Kenneth Peacock noted that this famous native sea ballad achieved wide circulation in Newfoundland through the Gerald S Doyle booklets, where it was reprinted from Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield. The original singer was Lizzie Rose of Fox Harbour, Labrador.”

    Hopefully you can amend your comment since it is not completely true as you have it displayed.

    Thank you,

    Gery Deugaw

    GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador
    GEST is an amalgamated pseudonym for:
    GEry and eSTy, Owners and Archivists
    We also administer three YouTube sites:
    gdgest, oldirishladdie, and NLTreasure

    GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador is the Internet’s largest archive of the greatest songs of Canada’s youngest province, Newfoundland and Labrador, with thousands of traditional and copyrighted lyrics, hundreds of MIDIs and tabs, as well as scores of music sheets, biographical and historical notations, genealogical data, and individual artist and songwriter listing pages.
    No membership is required. All copyrights must be honored. No HOT linking permitted.

    • Heather Sparling says:

      Thank you for letting me know that I mischaracterized the information on your site! I’ve edited the page now.

  4. Tony Power says:

    I remember hearing my Father Anthony Power from Branch telling me the story of the Southern Cross. He said the only thing that was picked up from the Southern Cross was a Gaff with the Southern Cross mark it washed ashore in St. Mary’s.

  5. Heather Sparling says:

    Wow. It’s so hard to imagine that so little could have been left to find.

  6. Gery Deugaw says:

    GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador now has its own domain: with over 3,700 songs.

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