Moreton Bay

 

I am a native of the land of Erin
That was early banished from my native shore
On the ship Columbus went circular sailing
And I left behind me the girl I adore
On the bounding billows that were loudly raging
Bold sea mariners our course did steer
We were bound for Sydney our destination
And every day cold irons wore
chorus
O Moreton Bay you’ll find no equal
Norfolk Island and Emu Plains
At Castle Hill and cursed Toongabbie
And all Time Places in New South Wales.

When I arrived it was in Port Jackson
And I thought my days would happy be
I soon found out I was greatly mistaken
I was taken as prisoner to Moreton Bay
For three long years I was beastly treated
And heavy Irons on my legs I wore
My back from flogging it was lacerated
And oftimes painted with crimson gore
Like the Egyptians and the ancient Hebrews
We were oppressed under Logan’s yoke
Till a native Black there he lay in ambush
And he gave the tyrant a mortal stroke
Now fellow prisoners be exhilarated
That all such monsters such a death may find
And when from bondage we are liberated
Our former suffering shall fade from mind.

Traditional Arranged by Andy Irvine

This is one of the best known Australian Convict Ballads. Captain Patrick Logan was the cruel Commander of Moreton Bay Penal Colony between 1826 and 1830 when he met his death at the hands–and spears–of a party of Aboriginal Hunters. He was found buried face downwards in a shallow grave–“Looking at Hell, where he was surely bound”. The convicts at Moreton Bay went nearly insane with joy at the news of his death. My good friend Kevin Bradley, who is Sound Archivist at the National Library of Australia in Canberra invited me to learn and sing this song at the Woodford Festival in Queensland in 1998. The original was recorded by Simon MacDonald of Creswick, Victoria who lived form 1907-1968.

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