A Lauriate

Article by "Dolphin"
Published in the Launceston Examiner 10 September 1885 under the heading "Old Time History"

Frank McNamara, the convict poet, was a clever fellow and a great favourite at Port Arthur. He was originally sent out to Sydney, and was for some time confined on board the hulk Phoenix, where, upon the occasion of some meat which was unfit for human food being given to the convicts to eat, he achieved fame by the following composition:

"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."

He was afterwards sent to Port Arthur, where he behaved well, and was sent north as an assigned servant, subsequently obtaining his freedom. 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. I believe he afterwards obtained work upon a newspaper at Geelong, but I have not heard of him since.


Dolphin, a ex-convict himself, begins this column discussing shipbuilding and and cites 'the brig Cypress' built by convicts at the 'Gates of Hell' the Van Diemen's Land Macquarie Harbour penal station. Appropriately this ship was the one successfully commandeered by other convicts and sailed to China three years later. Francis MacNamara is credited with writing a memorial to this escape 'The Seizure of the Cyprus Brig in Recherche Bay'.