Sheet Music: South Australia

TitleSouth Australia
Alternate titlesBound for South Australia
Rolling King
Also attributed toTraditional Australian
InstrumentationFlute solo
KeyD major
Time signature2/4
Tempo96 BPM
Performance time0:20
Difficulty leveleasy
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (45 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (180 kB)
Date added2023-12-18
Last updated2023-12-18
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 0.7 (average)
Sea shanties, Traditional/Folk


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Monday 18 December 2023

Tune of the Day: Bound for South Australia

Traditional sea shanty

This sea shanty, also known as “Rolling King”, has historically been used as a worksong in a variety of trades, as we know it was sung by the wool and wheat traders who worked the clipper ships between Australian ports and London. In adapted form, it is now a very popular song among folk music performers.

The tune was first noted by sea music author Laura A. Smith, who collected it “from a coloured seaman at the [Sailors'] 'Home'” in London and published it in her 1888 collection The Music of the Waters.

Information on the age, spread, and practical use of the shanty is relatively sparse. However, the evidence at hand does not suggest there is anything particularly “Australian” about the song, contrary to how it has become popularly envisioned since the late 20th century.