Frank the Poet – The Laboring Hoe (fragment)

In 1854 the brothers McLean built and launched a little vessel near the eastern boundary of Mr. J. Davis's farm. They called her the Numba. They also built the Titania at the same place. The Janet was built at Crookhaven in 1858, not 1855, as was stated in a previous issue. In those days rural simplicity and cheerful happiness were the predominating features of all social gatherings. Mr. Evans, a late comer, lives in the old homestead of the Clearground. The cottage is of brick.

What scenes were enacted round that old historic spot, for such it is to those who remember much of its past traditions. It is sad that many assigned men lived or existed there 70 or so years ago. Some of those helped to cut the canal, though many a vile phrase was hurled at the promoters and to all in high authority over them.

It is said there were numerous fights here at that time. When such orgies took place there were moments of deluded mirth. The muse was invoked. Frank M'Namara, known as Frank the Poet, used to sing "The Laboring Hoe," one of his own compositions, depicting the impliment much used before the scuffler came into vogue. In many instances it took the place of the plough. One verse of this song ran thus: —

I was convicted by laws of England's Crown,
Conveyed o'er the proud swelling seas in slavery's fetters bound.
For ever banished from that soil where peace and friendship glow
With loss of freedom to deplore, and doomed to work the hoe.


From the Nowra Leader 22 Apr 1910  Page 5