Tar Ponds/Coke Ovens:Documents and Links
No Smoke, No Baloney!

When confronted by some steelworkers' wives whose clothes hung on the line covered
with red grime, fallout from the Sydney steel mill, a mill manager retorted
"no smoke no baloney!". This famous phrase came to symbolize the
100 years of enslavement of Sydney's residents to a livleyhood that
would destroy their health, and threaten the health of generations
to come. For a detailed account, see
Frederick Street - By Barlow and May

Down by the fires, I've worked all my life
Seen more of this furnace than my children or wife
Through slowdowns and shut-downs, trouble and strife
Makin' the steel down on Cape Breton Isle

Through rumours of closures the days have gone by
As fathers and sons here all put in their time
With families to feed and homes for to buy
Makin' the steel down on Cape Breton Isle


No Smoke, No Baloney the old timers say
If you don't breathe the dirt, you'll be gettin' no pay
Coke fires and chimneys, dusty old Sydney
I'll take what you give me, no need to complain

Forty long years I passed through these gates
I've taken back home in my lunch can each day
The dust that I breathe, the sulphur I ate
The damned smell of steel just won't go away

Each dollar I've earned by the blast-furnace door
Has been for my family and still we're damned poor
And my days lie like dust on the old Sysco floor
Makin' the steel till I can't work no more


The skies over Sydney, once red with the haze
Have cleared in the hopes of far better days
And the fires of old forge our children's new ways
Making the steel on Cape Breton to stay


Music: Joe Grant Lyrics: Joe Grant and David Stone