Van Dieman’s Land

From Mike Waterson

Me and three more went out one night into Squire Noble’s park
We were hoping we might catch some game the night been proven dark
It being out sad misfortune they captured us with speed
And brought us down to Warwick Gaol did cause our hearts to bleed

Young men all be aware lest you be drawn into a snare
Young men all be aware lest you be drawn into a snare

It was about the fifth of March me boys at the court we did appear
Like Job we stood with patience our sentence to hear
Without jury bail nor witness our case it did go hard
Our sentence was for fourteen years straight away being sent on board

The ship that bore us from the land the Speedwell was her name
For full five months and upwards we ploughed the raging main
We saw no land nor harbour I tell you its no lie
All around us one black ocean, above us one blue sky

About the fifth of August tis then we made the land
At five o’clock next morning they tied us hand to hand
To see our fellow sufferance filled my heart with woe
For there’s some chained to the harrow and the others to the plough

To see our fellow sufferance it filled me with despair
For they’d leather smocks and lindsey shorts and their feet and hands were bare
They tied them up two by two like horses in a dray
And the driver he stood over them with his Malacca cane

There was a female prisoner, Rosanna was her name
For sixteen years a convict from Wolverhampton came
She often told her tale of love when she was young at home
But now it’s rattling of the chains in a foreign land to roam

Come all of you young poaching lads and a warning take from me
Mark you well the story that I tell and guard your destiny
Its all about transported lads as you may understand
And the hardships we did undergo going to Van Dieman’s Land