Banks of the Nile (Condamine)

From: Martin Jonas, 22 Feb 1998

"I don't know if this has been discussed before, but "The Banks of the Nile" is also an old Australian folk song called "Banks of the Condamine" It's about "Willy" leaving his love "Nancy" to go mustering, and meeting again on the banks of the "Condamine", a river in Queensland. I first heard "The Banks of the Nile" on the "Attic tapes" CD earlier this year, and having a fairly strong background inAustralian folk music, was surprised to hear another, probably more original version of the song. Does anyone know the history here?"

The Banks of the Condamine is a 19th Century Australian parody of "The Banks of the Nile", sung to the same tune. Trevor Lucas first recorded it on his 1966 album Overlander, and I'm fairly certain that he based the Fotheringay arrangement of "Banks of the Nile" on that earlier version, as the tune differs a bit from that used by other UK folk acts (e.g. The Young Tradition). Lyrics to "The Banks of the Condamine" are in the Digital Tradition (www.deltablues.com).

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