Australian Folk Songs
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Moreton Bay (2)

I am a native of the land of Erin
I was early banished from my native shore
On the ship Columbus went circular sailing
And I left behind me the girl I adore

Over the bounding billows which were loudly raging
Like a bold sea mariner my course did steer
We were bound for Sydney our destination
And every day in irons wore

Moreton Bay you'll find no equal
Norfolk Island and Emu Plains
At Castle Hill and cursed Toongabie
And all time places in New South Wales

When I arrived twas in Port Jackson
And I thought my days would happy be
But I found out I was greatly mistaken
I was taken a prisoner to Moreton Bay

For three long years I was beastly treated
And heavy irons on my legs I wore
My back from flogging was lacerated
And oft-times painted with crimson gore

Like the Egyptians and ancient Hebrews
We were oppressed under Logan's yoke
But a native black there lay in ambush
Did give this tyrant a mortal stroke


This is Simon McDonald's version of the great convict ballad. See 'Moreton Bay' in this collection. Captain Logan was speared in October 1830. Ned Kelly quotes lines from the ballad in his 'Jerilderie Letter' (1879) and it's possible he learned it from his father. Jack Bradshaw (the 'last of the bushrangers') printed it in his The Qurindiri Bank Robbery (c. 1899) and later attributed the original ballad to Frank Macnamara.

Searchable archives of Irish transports are now available on at The National Archives of Ireland


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory