Don Henderson Project


Don Henderson, one of of Australia's most respected songwriters, died in 1991.

'The Basic Wage Dream ... was commissioned from Don Henderson by the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations as one of its contributions to the humour, music, folk-lore and pay prospects of the 1964 Basic Wage Campaign. Don Henderson has emerged as one of Australia's leading contemporary songwriters and his songs are included in the repertoires of folk-singers in many parts of Australia and the South Pacific.' John Baker, 1964

'Don Henderson's songs rarely degenerate into mere propaganda. Most of them are not even protest songs, in the strict sense: they are, rather, sardonic commentaries on contemporary Australian life. The characteristic note is one of understatement, irony, rather than declamation' Craig McGregor, 1968

'His are not songs so much as poems with a tune thrown in, and they are a delight of offbeat social and personal comment, militant trade union politics, and warmly sentimental pieces about life, love and responsibility'. Wendy Lowenstein, 1970

'I was able to get a start on the Snowy Mountains scheme and I spent nearly two and half months there. When I decided to go out on the road, to wander, the Snowy was a natural place to go back to. But I'd already started writing in this particular vein, writing about work and writing about Australia, using the cross between the hillbilly idiom that I'd learned young, and this American finger-picking technique that I'd picked up from listening to records. I wrote Light in Every Country Window, about the Snowy. I wrote that in 1960 'Don Henderson: Edgar Waters' interview, 1986

'You can talk a lot and the words are soon forgotten; perhaps you can write, that might last a bit longer; but to sing about it is to create a lasting means of communication and Don did that ... His songs will become part of the history of the songs of Australia' Senator George Georges, 1991

Many of Don's songs are well known and many are still sung at Folk Festivals and concerts in Australia and overseas. A striking example is that in early 2003 at a New York peace concert, protesting against the looming war in Iraq, Dan Zanes sang Don's song 'Boonaroo'.

The aim of the Don Henderson Project was to release a CD of Don singing his songs and then to republish his songbook "A Quiet Century". Both parts of the project have been completed with the release of a DOUBLE CD 'The Songs of Don Henderson' by Shoestring Records 15 December 2009 RRP $30.00. (sample tracks online) (Purchase book online for $20)

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