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Van Diemen's Land (1916)

Come all you lads of learning; come rambling boys, beware!
And when you go a-hunting, have your dog, your gun, and snare,
The lofty hills you're facing will be at your command ;
None like them, I am thinking, on far Van Diemen's Land.

There were one, Brown, from Dublin town, Pat Martin, and poor Jones ;
They were three clever fellows, and very well 'tis known.
One night while rambling late for game the keeper caught the band,
And for seven years transported them unto Van Diemen's Land.

The place we had to land upon, it was a foreign shore,
The negroes gathered round us, about five hundred score.
The negroes gathered round us, and sold us out of hand,
They yolked us up like horses, to plough Van Diemen's Land.

The cot we had to live in was built with sod and clay,
With rotten straw to lie upon, pray, slumber if you may,
With rotten straw to lie upon, pray, slumber, if you can,
Amid the Turks and tyrants that's in Van Diemen's Land.

Last night whilst I lay sleeping, I dreamt a pleasant dream,
I dreamt I was in Ireland, beside a purling stream,
A pretty girl smiling, sat just at my right hand ;
When I awoke, my heart it broke, all in Van Diemen's Land.


From the NSW Newspaper the Catholic Press Thu 25 May 1916 p. 31.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory