Moreton Bay is the third in my new series of Australian bush songs arranged for choir. It is sometimes referred to as The Convict’s Lament.

This emotive Australian folk ballad, which tells of the hardships experienced by a convict at the Moreton Bay penal settlement, is arranged for TBB choir with piano accompaniment.

The story of Moreton Bay

The song first appeared in Australia around the time of the murder of Captain Patrick Logan in October 1830.

At that time, Captain Logan was the commandant of the penal settlement at Morton Bay, in what is now the state of Queensland. Soon after the first penal colony in Australian had been established at Port Jackson (on a site which is now more or less the centre of the city of Sydney), other penal stations were established in several more remote locations to cater for the most recalcitrant prisoners. Moreton Bay was one of these.

The lyrics for Moreton Bay are attributed to Francis MacNamara, who was more commonly known as Frankie the Poet. Frankie had been convicted by a court in Kilkenny (Ireland) of smashing a shop window and stealing some cloth. He was sentenced to transportation to Australia for seven years. He landed in Australia in 1832 and quickly established himself as a talented writer who produced several songs and poems critical of the treatment of convicts by the authorities.

The song is based on Frankie’s own experiences as a convict and describes the cruelty of the penal stations in Australia in the middle of the 19thCentury.

Captain Logan was hated by the convicts for his harsh treatment. He was a relentless flogger and was widely regarded as a tyrant. On a positive note, he did explore and develop the Moreton Bay area. It was while he was out surveying the Upper Brisbane River that he was speared to death by aborigines on October 17, 1830.

Notes, samples and clips

You can find out more about my arrangement of Moreton Bay by visiting my website where there are sample pages and audio clips available.

Purchase Moreton Bay online for immediate download

Moreton Bay/The Convicts Lament is available for online purchase and immediate download. Simply go to my website, click on Moreton Bay, then click on the Buy Now button in the right-hand sidebar.

Like to have a favourite Australian bush song arranged for choir?

If you have a favourite Australian bush song that you would like to have arranged for your choir, please contact me with your request and I’ll do my best to have your idea realised.