Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Pelorus Jack

Songs By P. Cole And J. Donoghue

Pelorus Jack was a Risso's dolphin that was famous for meeting and escorting ships through a stretch of water in the Marlborough Sounds, nearby Pelorus Sound, near Cook Strait, New Zealand, between 1888 and 1912.
Pelorus Jack was usually spotted in Admiralty Bay between Cape Francis and Collinet Point, near French Pass, a channel used by ships travelling between Wellington and Nelson.

The famous dolphin is the subject of a number of songs. Shown below, one by Peter Cole and another by John Timberjack Donoghue.

Related Scottish Country Dances

Pelorus Jack

Pelorus Jack By Peter Cole

Pelorus Jack is a parlour piano song, with lyrics written by Peter Cole and music written by Henry Rivers in 1921.

A famous fish there used to be, called Pelorus Jack
He'd always swim far out to sea, when a ship came back
About her bow he'd dive and play, And keep with her right to the bay
And all on board would cheer and say: "There's Pelorus Jack"

Pelorus, Pelorus, good Pelorus Jack
Pelorus, Pelorus, brave Pelorus Jack
Everyone cheered whenever he appeared
Pelorus, Pelorus, good Pelorus Jack.

For years he'd meet the ships like this, good Pelorus Jack
It seemed as though he'd never miss, any vessel's track
He surely was a jolly sort, and everybody as they ought
Declared he was a real old sport; Good Pelorus Jack


One day a ship came home again, poor Pelorus Jack
The people looked, but looked in vain, for his shining back
And now as day goes after day, the folks all sigh in mournful way
"Old Jack is gone" they sadly say; Poor Pelorus Jack.


Full lyrics may be found here:

Spirit Of Pelorus Jack By John Donoghue

John Timberjack Donoghue wrote the words and the music called Spirit Of Pelorus Jack in 1971 and recorded it in 1973, on ODE Records. This song is a modern folksong written in 6/8 time, like a traditional sea shanty, and the Timberjack Donoghue debut album won the "New Zealand Album of the Year Award".

Oh Pelorus Jack, he did his best,
to keep mankind on his side...

Full lyrics may be found here:

Pelorus Jack Songs And Music Video

Pelorus Jack Songs And Music - Information Video

Pelorus Jack - Risso's Dolphin
Pelorus Jack, Photo Taken By Capt. C. F. Post, Of The N.Z. Govt. SS Tutanekai, 1911

Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Pelorus Jack article on Wikipedia.
Text from this original Risso's Dolphin article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright original uploader Neil916 at English Wikipedia. (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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