Hobart 1848
On Being Sentenced to Transportation

I dread not the dangers by land or by sea
That I'll meet on my voyage to Botany Bay
My labours are over, my vocation is past
And 'tis there I'll rest easy, and happy at last

[Collected by Bob Reece from the Kilkenny Journal of 18 January 1832]

The Poet's Introduction

My name is Francis MacNamara 
A native of Cashell in the county Tipperary 
Sworn tyranny’s foe 
And while I’ve  life I’ll crow 
(From the bushranger Martin Cash, c1870)

On Being Sentenced to Solitary Confinement (on the Phoenix Hulk)

Captain Murray, if you please
Make it hours instead of days
You know it becomes an Irishman
To drown the shamrock when he can
[from the bushranger Martin Cash, c1870]


Captain Logan, if you plaze
Make it hours instead of days

You know it's the way with the Irishman
To drink the craythur whenever he can;             
And, now, your Worship, if you plaze,       
Make it hours instead of Days;
For I'm sure it's well you know it
That they call me Frank the Poet.
[Scone Advocate 18 June 1926]

Captain Innes, all I have to say
Is, that you know 'tis Patrick's day,  
And it well becomes an Irishman,
To wet his Shamrock if he can.
[Hobart Town Courier, 10 April 1840.]

Convict's Toast

Oh, bull, oh, bull, what brought you here
You've ranged these hills for many a year
You've ranged these hills with sore abuse
And now you're here for poor Frank's use
[the Launceston Examiner 10 September 1885.]

six more variants

Oh Beef! Oh Beef! What brought you here?
You've roamed these hills for many a year.
You've felt the lash and sore abuse,
And now you're here for prisoners' use.

'Oh! Redman, Redman how came you here?
You served the Gov'ment many a year
With blows and kicks and with much abuse
And now you are here for convicts' use'.

"Redman, Redman, what brought you here ? 
You've carted wood from many a tier.
And now, worn out by sore abuse,
You're salted down for convicts' use."
[the Australasian, 16 February 1889.] 

"Bullock, bullock, what brought you here ?
You've wandered far for many a year
O'er hills and dales; you've had sore abuse, 
And now, you brute, you're brought for Frank the Poet's use."
[the Australasian, 2 March 1889.]

"Oh, bull ! oh, bull ! what's brought thee here?
 Thou'st been dragging sawn stuff this many a year,
With whips and oaths and foul abuse,
 And now brought here for convict use."
[Daily Telegraph (Launceston), 9 February 1895]

"Oh, bullock, oh, bullock, thou wast brought here, 
After working in a team for many a year, 
Subjected to the lash, foul language and abuse 
And now portioned as food for poor convicts' use."
[the Sydney Stock and Station Journal, 18 April 1902.]

On Leaving Tasmania

Land of Lags and Kangaroo,
Of possum and the scarce Emu,
The farmer's pride but the prisoner's Hell
Land of B.... s Fare-thee-well

other variants

Farewell Tasmania's isle! I bid adieu
The possum and the kangaroo.
Farmers' Glory! Prisoners' Hell!
Land of Buggers! Fare ye well.

Land of lags and kangaroo,
Of possums and the scarce emu,
Squatter's home and prisoner's hell,
Land of Sodom, fare-thee-well.

Land of lags and kangaroos,
Of possums and the scarce emus,
The farmer's pride but the convict's Hell
Land of bums, fare-thee-well.

Free man's heaven, convict's hell,

Land of floggers fare thee well !

In August 1903 the Sydney newspaper the World's News attributed the following to Frank the Poet

I do confess I was rather hearty, 
and beg to be forgiven by Captain Moriarty.

In July 1904 the Molong Express attributed the following to Frank the Poet

They yoked us up like horses
To plough Van Dieman's Land.


In the Manuscript of The Adventures of Martin Cash held in the Archives Office of Tasmania, we can find a description of Christmas celebrations at Port Arthur in 1842:

. . . a stage having been errected [sic] in the centre of the yard." We had comic and sentimental singing" and also portugue Joe in the character of Darkey. The famed Frank the poet threw off a few extempore verses for the amusement of the company "at the same time giving us his coat of arms viz.
My name is Francis Mcnamara" a native of Cashell in the County Tipperary" Sworn Tyranny's foe" and while Ive life Ill crow", when brought before Captain Murray a particular friend of the poet who the latter afterwards described (in his voyage to Hell or a visit paid to the D--I-- Frank after receiving a sentence of fourteen days, was asked what he had to say to that," he replied -- "Captain Murray if you please," make it hours instead of days," you know it becomes an Irishman" to drown the shamrock when he can," -- I believe his request was complied with, however the day passed off retry pleasantly.

The epigram 'On leaving Tasmania' is referred to by 'Dolphin' in his column in the Launcestion Examiner of 10 September 1885.

Prior to leaving Launceston for Victoria he scraped the mud off his boots upon the wharf, and took anything but a tender farewell of the island.

A remarkable similarity can be seen between the beef epigrams above and this old (Irish?) sailors' rhyme (c.1838)

Old horse, old horse, what brought thee here?
I carried the turf for many a year
Twixt Bantry Bay and Ballyaik.

I tumbled down and broke my back,
And being killed by much abuse,
I'm salted down for sailors' use.

And if you think this is not true,
Just look in the cask and you'll find my shoe.
You take me up with much surprise,

Then heave me down and bless my eyes,
You eat my flesh and pick my bones,
And throw the rest to Davy Jones.

Port Arthur 1860s