Humour, albeit loaded with sarcasm, can be a useful tool for the songwriter attempting to convince others about the eternal question of ‘who owns the minerals under the ground?’ The late John Dengate, a Sydney wit and singer, always ready with a parody, wrote ‘Thanks To The Yanks’ in the 1960s. Here’s a few verses to remind us all that times do not change.

Thanks To The Yanks

We’re happy little Aussies and we’ve lots of wealthy mates,
The money they’re investing here puts food upon our plates.
They’re mining in the temperate and in the torrid zone –
Because we can’t be trusted to do it on our own.

Thanks to the Yanks for drilling all the oil;
You’ll find us very grateful and you’ll find us very loyal.
Pray, send us lots of capital and lots of expertise
And send across the CIA to keep us on our knees.

Some people say uranium’s too dangerous to touch,
Huh! The conservation lobby’s always talking double-dutch;
The stuff is really harmless, Lang Hancock told us that
And he’s too rich and clever to be talking through his hat.

If there is one single target for those opposed to concentrated wealth derived from mining in Australia it would be Gina Rinehart. The mining magnate’s extreme views on Climate Change and social order also encourage criticism and satire. Here’s two recent YouTube examples.

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Warren Fahey is a Sydney-based Cultural Historian, author and performer. His Australian Folklore Unit site offers resources on Australian history, music and folklore.