A petition from the Chain Gang at Newcastle

Convict Gang Macquarie Barracks Sydney
Courtesy State Library NSW

A Petition from The Chain Gang at New Castle 
To Capt Furlong 
The superintendent praying Him to Dismiss a Scourger Named 
Duffy from the Cookhouse and appoint a Man in his Room
Francis MacNamara

With reverence and submission due,
Kind sir those words are sent to you,
And with them a good wish too.
       Long may you reign,
And like Wellington at Waterloo
       Fresh laurels gain.

Your petitioners are under thy care,
In mercy therefore hear our prayer,
Nor let us wallow in despair,
       But soothe each pang,
But allow no flogger to prepare
       Food for your gang.

'Tis said that by your ordination
Our late cook lost his situation,
And Duffy is in nomination
       His berth to fill;
But has not got our approbation,
       Nor never will.

Your judgement Sire, put to good use,
Nor burthen us with foul abuse,
Full long we've drunk the dregs and juice
       Of black despair,
Yet we can find another screw loose
       Or two somewhere.

Our jaws now daily will grow thinner.
And stomachs weak, as I'm a sinner,
For Duffy is a human skinner,
       Most barbarous wretch.
Each day I'd rather have my dinner
       Cooked by Jack Ketch.

It matters not whether salt or fresh,
Even his touch would spoil each dish
His cooking we never can relish -
       We'd rather starve.
For be assured tis human flesh
       He best can carve.

To any rational being I appeal,
Whether he's fit to cook a meal
For a vile caterpillar or a snail,
       Or a beast of prey.
Men he has scoured in every gaol
       In Botany Bay.

I know the damned devils when they sit
To dine, will long for a savoury bit.
Now Duffy's just the person fit
       To boil their kettles,
To send him to the Bottomless Pit
       To cook their victuals.

But did he even touch our meat.
A furnace our coppers wouldn't heat,
And every knife, fork, spoon and plate
       Would cry out Shame,
And in the midst of our debate
       Would curse thy name.

Or if Saints Matthew, Mark, John and Luke,
With Moses who wrote the Pentateuch
Consented to make this flogger our cook.
       I'd say 'tis foul;
If I wouldn't swear it on the Book,
       Hell seize my soul.

Now sir, your petitioners great and small
On bended knees before you fall;
Nor let us in vain for redress call,
       Drive Duffy away,
And as in duty bound we all
       Will ever pray.

'Tis needless to say the prayer was granted.


Transcribed from the Trimingham manuscript State Library NSW

The Sydney Monitor Monday 15 January 1838 p.2

Friday, January 12, 1838.
Colonial Secretary's Oflce.
Sydney, 6th January, 1838.
HIS Excellency the Acting Governor has been
pleased to appoint
of Her Majesty's 80th Regiment of Foot, Assistant
Engineer and Superintendent of the Ironed Gang at
Newcastle, under the provisions of the Acts of
Council 3rd William IV, No. 3, and 8th William IV,
No. 1.
By His Excellency's Command,

The Sydney Herald Friday 8 February 1839 p.2

At Newcastle, on the morning of the 6th instant, the lady of Captain R. T. Furlong, 80th Regiment, of a daughter,