Moreton Bay (The Convict’s Lament)

Moreton Bay (The Convict’s Lament)2018-12-05T15:58:09+00:00

Project Description

Moreton Bay will be available soon as an arrangement for TTBB chorus with piano accompaniment.

Moreton Bay is an Australian folk ballad which tells of the hardships experienced by a convict at various penal settlements around Australia and, in particular, the one at Moreton Bay. The settlement at Moreton Bay was established in 1823 in what would later (1859) become the colony of Queensland. Its purpose was to house convicts who had reoffended in other convict settlements in New South Wales.

The song makes references to the exceptionally brutal treatment of the convicts while the colony was under the command of the infamous Captain Patrick Logan. It also describes Logan’s death at the hands of local Aborigines and the relief felt by the convicts when they heard the news.

The song was probably written sometime after Logan’s death, which occurred on or about 18 October 1830 while he was exploring and surveying the upper Brisbane River. The words were written by an Irish convict Francis McNamara, who was more commonly known as Frankie the Poet. McNamara was convicted in Kilkenny, Ireland, of stealing some cloth and was sentenced to seven years transportation to Botany Bay where he landed in 1832. There he quickly established himself as a talented writer who produced several songs and poems critical of the treatment of convicts by the authorities.