1. dark history

From the recording breath

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dark history

when evil is planted it becomes a seed
that grows in the heart of ordinary men
blood washed the streets of a country town
leaving a stain on guilty hands

one man his family they chose to stand
against a treacherous raging tide
a wife, a mother, children and nation
grieve on a day when innocence was lost

cruel night hid their shadows
judas money for this betrayal

heroes have the courage to speak
when fear demands apathy and silence
champions don’t always win a prize
safe guarding the future cost him his life

warriors don’t always fight
for a cause they might believe in
but his wife stayed in this town
not to hate but to forgive them

cruel night hid their shadows
judas money for this betrayal

life was cheap on the griffith street
a man had to pay he had too much to say
a murder mystery part of our dark history

who pulled the trigger?
who destroyed the gun?
who did the `boss’ a favour?
who had to tell his son
“he’s never coming home again”?

© 2016 jennifer campbell

My first placement as a PE teacher was at Griffith High School in the Riverina of NSW. When I arrived, the town was still reeling from the mystery that surrounded the disappearance and suspected murder of local businessman and politician Donald Mackay. This event in 1977 had shocked our nation with reports of this being a possible Mafia organised assassination of a man who had spoken out about the possibility of illegal farming of marijuana in Griffith and surrounding towns.

I got to know his wife Barbara and his children Paul, Ruth, Mary and James. Barbara decided to remain in Griffith and continue to raise her young family and keep the family business going. She campaigned desperately for justice and to recover Don’s body for burial. Barbara was an amazing woman who came to forgive those who had committed this unspeakable crime that robbed a family of husband and father. At this point in time Don’s body has not been found.

The song has had 3 edits, the original song was written in 1984 and sung at a concert with a drummer flutist, and double bass player. It was then modified in 2006 and again in 2016. Before recording, I decided to speak rather than sing the verses. The chorus was completely reworked as well to create a more haunting vibe.