October 20, 2008

The Cockle Park Song

By Clive Dalton (student of Cockle Park, 1952-1956)

The history of the song is unknown, and was passed down through generations of students. It must be sung with great gusto to the hymn tune – Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

A special day for its robust singing in my time as a student was on May Day (May 1) when the Department of Fine Arts next door to the Agriculture Department used to assemble a small choir on the roof of their building to sing madrigals! Madrigals!

This was too much for us Agrics and they had to be drowned out!

Lime and lime with no manure
Makes both farm and farmer poor.
When the wind blows from the east
Then ‘twill rain two days at least.
Basic slag and wild white clover
Now renowned the whole world over.
Cur-sed be the clumsy clot
Who’s never heard of Treefield Plots.
Hark the herald angels sing
Basic slag is just the thing.

You must try these famous seeds
That supply all farming needs.
Gilchrist’s mixture fine and rare
Smoked by farmers everywhere.
Acclamation from the nation
For our class two weather station.
Those who would their tutors please
Get genned up on Palace Leas!
Hark the herald angels hark
Glory be to Cockle Park.

Extra verses were composed in 1954 by students in my year after the arrival of Prof Mac Cooper from Wye College – and the excitement of the unknowns he had in store for our futures. The chief organiser of the new words was the late Henry Pickering from Weardale.

Now the new Dean’s here to stay
Palace Leas may grow no hay.
Pigs and poultry there you’ll find
Nowt but pork and bacon rind.
Treefield’s reign is now all over
Now will grow no more white clover.
Those who would Prof Cooper please
Had better watch their Qs and Ps.
Hark the herald angels shout
Cockle Park turns inside out.

Footnote: here's a photo of the great Mac Cooper back in NZ at the Ruakura Research Centre in Hamilton, visiting old student Clive Dalton (right) and with Mike Adams (left), in April 1980.

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