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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsPROFESSOR BRUCE SCATES: Now John wrote this song when he first heard about Fromelles. We all know the story of that bungled pointless battle. We all know the controversy that surrounded those exhumations from the killing fields. Now like any archaeological dig, Fromelles reminded us of a world we have lost. This collection of sad little things captures the tragedy, doesn't it, of a whole generation. And perhaps the richest of those relics wrested from the earth is this one -- one of the good luck charms carried by almost every soldier of the Great War. It was found sealed in his gas mask, the only place that cardboard wouldn't perish. As you can see, it's a train ticket-- economy class return, Perth to Freo.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 secondsBut of course it's so much more than that, isn't it? This man believed he'd be going home, that somehow he'd survive the mass carnage of 1914 to 1918. That gesture of faith and hope is at least as eloquent as any other symbol of remembrance we might wear today. And it inspired John's song. Ladies and gentlemen, join me in welcoming John Cronin on guitar, Marcy Taylor, on violin. [APPLAUSE]

Skip to 1 minute and 26 secondsJOHN CRONIN: Thank you.

Skip to 1 minute and 43 seconds-(SINGING) Got my train ticket in my pocket-- my tobacco and a photograph of you.

Skip to 1 minute and 55 secondsAnd when the war is over, I will ride that train to you.

Skip to 2 minutes and 5 secondsI want to hear you talk softly-- hear you whisper my name.

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 secondsI want to talk to you about the weather, so you can tell me if it's going to rain.

Skip to 2 minutes and 31 secondsAnd I want to walk down Chapman Street, and drink beer at the Sail and Anchor.

Skip to 2 minutes and 42 secondsAnd I want to dance in the town hall, and walk you home past the football oval.

Skip to 2 minutes and 54 secondsI want to hear you talk softly-- hear you whisper my name.

Skip to 3 minutes and 5 secondsI want to talk to you about the weather, so you can tell me if it's going to rain.

Skip to 3 minutes and 19 secondsAnd I don't care if you say I look older. But don't forget who I am.

Skip to 3 minutes and 31 secondsPlease don't call me soldier. Because it's not my name.

Skip to 3 minutes and 42 secondsPlease don't call me soldier, because it's not my name. And it's a long way to Tipperary. It's a long way to Leicester Square. It's a long way to Fremantle Station. Where my love she waits there. And it's a long, long way. It's a long, long way, it's a long-- and it's a long, and it's a long way to Fremantle Station. Where my love she waits there.

Skip to 5 minutes and 20 seconds[CLAPPING AND CHEERING]

Skip to 5 minutes and 27 secondsJOHN CRONIN: Thank you.

'Tipperary to Fremantle Station' by John Cronin and Marcy Taylor

Watch John Cronin and Marcy Taylor perform ‘Tipperary to Fremantle Station’ at the book launch of ‘World War 1: A History in 100 Stories’.

Talking point

In the comments, share with other learners your thoughts on the song. You may wish to talk about the way the song explores the theme of a soldier’s hope and longing through relics exhumed from the battlefields of World War 1.

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This video is from the free online course:

World War 1: A History in 100 Stories

Monash University