|Thomas Whitley manuscript Courtesy State Library of NSW|
and a tailor by trade. He enlisted into the East India Service,
but commented himself and was transported like so many more
to New South Wales. Here he became a popular rhymester,
but repeating his old failings was again sentenced to Van D.
Land, and in due course was sent to Port Arthur. While at
this penal settlement Frank became a great favourite
with bond and free, always escaping punishment by
his ready wit and improvisation, or extemporaneousness.
Frank was a Roman Catholic, of a strange type, but he
made fun of all religions, particularly the orthodox sort.
At a station in N.S.Wales where the priest called quarterly
some untoward circumstance detained his reverence and
Frank was detailed to officiate for the absent clergyman. The lay-
reader (Frank) was so entertaining on this occasion, that some of
the officers interviewed him, and extracted a promise that Frank
would furnish them with a spice of his poetry on the
creed he proposed, and being strongly imbued with the
ideas of convictism, naturally Frank wrote in that strain.
Years lang syne, Frank's emanations are well known
and repeated by thousands all over New South Wales and
Van Diemen's Land, Norfolk Island included. Thus wise –
This extract come from Thomas Whitley, antiquarian and collector and first publisher of 'A Convict's Tour to Hell', in his transcriptions of poems by Francis MacNamara, ca. 1891. The poet was "a great favourite with bond and free, always escaping punishment by his ready wit and improvisation, or extemporaneousness." He made "fun of all religions, particularly the orthodox sort" and was sometimes called upon to officiate at religious ceremony impressing even officers with his humour. In convict Australia his compositions were "well known and repeated by thousands all over New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, Norfolk Island included." See also Bathurst Free Press report of 1862.