Gather round people I’ll tell you a story

An eight year long story of power and pride

British Lord Vestey and Vincent Lingiarri

Were opposite men on opposite sides

 

Vestey was fat with money and muscle

Beef was his business, broad was his door

Vincent was lean and spoke very little

He had no bank balance, hard dirt was his floor

 

From little things big things grow

From little things big things grow

 

Gurindji were working for nothing but rations

Where once they had gathered the wealth of the land

Daily the pressure got tighter and tighter

Gurindju decided they must make a stand

 

They picked up their swags and started off walking

At Wattie Creek they sat themselves down

Now it don’t sound like much but it sure got tongues talking

Back at the homestead and then in the town

 

From little things big things grow

From little things big things grow

 

Vestey man said I’ll double your wages

Seven quid a week you’ll have in your hand

Vincent said uh-huh we’re not talking about wages

We’re sitting right here till we get our land

Vestey man roared and Vestey man thundered

You don’t stand the chance of a cinder in snow

Vince said if we fall others are rising

 

From little things big things grow

From little things big things grow

 

Then Vincent Lingiarri boarded an aeroplane

Landed in Sydney, big city of lights

And daily he went round softly speaking his story

To all kinds of men from all walks of life

 

And Vincent sat down with big politicians

This affair they told him is a matter of state

Let us sort it out, your people are hungry

Vincent said no thanks, we know how to wait

 

From little things big things grow

From little things big things grow

 

Then Vincent Lingiarri returned in an aeroplane

Back to his country once more to sit down

And he told his people let the stars keep on turning

We have friends in the south, in the cities and towns

 

Eight years went by, eight long years of waiting

Till one day a tall stranger appeared in the land

And he came with lawyers and he came with great ceremony

And through Vincent’s fingers poured a handful of sand

 

From little things big things grow

From little things big things grow

 

That was the story of Vincent Lingairri

But this is the story of something much more

How power and privilege cannot move a people

Who know where they stand and stand in the law

 

From little things big things grow

From little things big things grow

From little things big things grow

From little things big things grow

 

Songwriters: Kev Carmody / Kevin Daniel Carmody / Paul Maurice Kelly

From Little Things Big Things Grow lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Why this song?

A song of the long struggle of Aboriginal Australians for land rights. A song about persistence, patience, the long vision. A song about wearing down powerful obstacles to justice.

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