Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems

Moreton Bay

One Sunday morning as I went walking
By Brisbane waters I chanced to stray,
I heard a convict his fate bewailing
As on the sunny river bank he lay.

‘I am a native of Erin’s island,
Though banished now from my native shore;
They took me from my aged parents
And from the maiden whom I adore.

“Ive been a prisoner at Port Macquarie,
At Norfolk Island and Emu Plains,
At Castle Hill and at cursed Toongabbie,
At all those settlements I’ve worked in chains;
But of all places of condemnation
And penal stations in New South Wales
To Moreton Bay I have found no equal,
Excessive tyranny each day prevails.

‘For three long years I’ve been beastly treated
And heavy irons on my legs I wore;
My back with flogging is lacerated
And often painted with my crimson gore.
And many a man from downright starvation
Lies mouldering now underneath the clay;
And Captain Logan he had us mangled
At the triangles of Moreton Bay.

‘Like the Egyptians and ancient Hebrews
We were oppressed under Logan’s yoke,
Till a native black lying there in ambush
Did deal our tyrant with his mortal stroke.
My fellow prisoners, be exhilarated
That all such monsters such death may find!
And when from bondage we are liberated
Our former sufferings shall fade from mind.’


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