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Folklore: Van Diemen's Land

DigiTrad:
VAN DIEMAN'S LAND
VAN DIEMANS LAND (YOUNG MEN BEWARE)


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Van Diemen's Land (28)
Van Diemen (not Van Dieman) (15)
Tune Req: Van Diemen's Land (from U2) (8)
Help: relation between Ireland & Van Diemen's Land (73)
Van Diemen's Land (Revisited) (1)


VIN 05 Feb 04 - 11:29 AM
GUEST 05 Feb 04 - 11:40 AM
Nigel Parsons 05 Feb 04 - 11:54 AM
IanC 05 Feb 04 - 12:03 PM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM
Dr Will C U Now 05 Feb 04 - 12:48 PM
Shimbo Darktree 05 Feb 04 - 05:06 PM
dick greenhaus 05 Feb 04 - 06:52 PM
Bob Bolton 05 Feb 04 - 10:07 PM
Alex.S 05 Feb 04 - 11:53 PM
GUEST 06 Feb 04 - 12:31 AM
barrygeo 06 Feb 04 - 05:48 AM
Hrothgar 06 Feb 04 - 05:55 AM
barrygeo 06 Feb 04 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Boab 07 Feb 04 - 12:05 AM
GUEST,Boab 07 Feb 04 - 12:10 AM
Little Robyn 07 Feb 04 - 02:39 AM
Dave Hanson 07 Feb 04 - 05:23 AM
Teribus 09 Feb 04 - 04:37 AM
GUEST,Marco 12 Nov 04 - 11:04 AM
Dead Horse 12 Nov 04 - 12:59 PM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Nov 04 - 04:58 PM
Bob Bolton 12 Nov 04 - 05:15 PM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Nov 04 - 05:30 PM
Shanghaiceltic 15 Nov 04 - 11:32 PM
The Fooles Troupe 16 Nov 04 - 01:01 AM
Bob Bolton 16 Nov 04 - 02:13 AM
Hrothgar 16 Nov 04 - 05:58 AM
The Fooles Troupe 16 Nov 04 - 07:39 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Oct 07 - 02:00 PM
Malcolm Douglas 19 Oct 07 - 02:43 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Oct 07 - 04:35 PM
Malcolm Douglas 19 Oct 07 - 06:45 PM
Dave'sWife 19 Oct 07 - 07:07 PM
Q 19 Oct 07 - 08:46 PM
Q 19 Oct 07 - 10:05 PM
Q 19 Oct 07 - 11:55 PM
GUEST,albert 20 Oct 07 - 07:50 AM
Richard Bridge 20 Oct 07 - 10:03 AM
Q 20 Oct 07 - 03:01 PM
Richard Bridge 20 Oct 07 - 06:50 PM
Rowan 21 Oct 07 - 07:41 PM
Q 21 Oct 07 - 09:32 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Oct 07 - 12:21 AM
Rowan 22 Oct 07 - 01:01 AM
Q 07 Nov 10 - 11:37 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: VIN
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 11:29 AM

Hi all,

There's a word in the song lyrics to Van Diemen's Land i.e. 'trepanned'. Errr anyone know what this means. Assume it somethin to do wi being caught?

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 11:40 AM

Trepanning is the art of relieving pressure on the brain by drilling holes in the skull! It sometimes worked apparently!
I don't remember the context in Van deimans land though.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 11:54 AM

Another sung mention of 'trepanning'


The pluck of Lord Nelson on board of the Victory
Genius of Bismarck devising a plan
The humour of Fielding (which sounds contradictory)
Coolness of Paget about to trepan
The science of Jullien, the eminent musico
Wit of Macaulay, who wrote of Queen Anne
The pathos of Paddy, as rendered by Boucicault
Style of the Bishop of Sodor and Man
The dash of a D'Orsay, divested of quackery
Narrative powers of Dickens and Thackeray
Victor Emmanuel peak-haunting Peveril
Thomas Aquinas, and Doctor Sacheverell
Tupper and Tennyson Daniel Defoe
Anthony Trollope and Mister Guizot! Ah!


Part of "Dragoons" from G&S "Patience"

Full song Here

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: IanC
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 12:03 PM

Merriam-Webster records an ancient sense of the word, meaning to entrap or lure:

Main Entry: 4 tre·pan
Pronunciation: tri-'pan
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): tre·panned; tre·pan·ning
archaic : ENTRAP, LURE

:-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM

Also seduce, lead astray, etc. To be found in most good dictionaries, and not to be confused with the surgical term, which is probably etymologically unrelated.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Dr Will C U Now
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 12:48 PM

That will be 600 dollars.
NEXT!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Shimbo Darktree
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 05:06 PM

As an expatriate of Van Diemen's Land, I trust the happy soul who referred to cranial surgery was not intending to slight the good citizens of Tasmania. We are not really inbred (well, some of us aren't!).

On to the topic ... surely the song would not suggest that the authorities would intentionally set out to trap poachers. Wouldn't be allowed through the courts these days! Not cricket, old chap.

Shimbo Darktree


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 06:52 PM

alt meaning (18th century) pierce

"Cease your funning
Toil and cunning
Never shall my heart trepan.."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 10:07 PM

G'day,

dick: "Pierce" is pretty well what the surgical term started out meanining ('bore', 'perforate' &c) - but this verse could well use Malcolm Douglas's sense of 'seduce', 'lead astray'.

Malcolm Douglas: My (Australian) Macquarie Dictionary derives the surgical sense from Middle English / Mediaeval Latin / Greek: trypanon = "borer'. In the separate entry for the 'ensnare', 'entrap' sense it derives from trapan, presumably an Old English inflection of the root of our modern word 'trap' ... that has been confused with 'trepan'. This fits fairly closely with my (unchecked) theory, on first hearing the song, that an old form of 'trapped' had been confused with the medical term.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Alex.S
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 11:53 PM

While we're on the topic, where exactly *is* Van Diemen's Land?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 12:31 AM

Van Diemen's Land is Tasmania, Australia's island state, the little one like an arrow pointing to Antarctica. Tasmania was named 'Van Diemen's Land' by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. When transportation was stopped in 1853 the name was changed because of the yukky association it had with the penal colony.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: barrygeo
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 05:48 AM

For Irish convicts being deported to Van Diemens Land the first stop off was Mountjoy jail in Dublin. They were then moved to Spike Island Prison in Cork before embarking on the long Voyage to Tasmania.

Mountjoy is still in use as a prison but the Irish Goverment has just this week announced plans to demolish it.

Mountjoy jail was also the subject of Bendan Behan's song The Ould Triangle.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Hrothgar
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 05:55 AM

And where they hanged Kevin BARRY. Barry?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: barrygeo
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 08:43 AM

In Mountjoy jail one monday morning.....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 12:05 AM


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 12:10 AM

Am I the only daft git with spatulate digits on this forum----?
As I was about to say, trepanning refers not only to cranial surgery. "Trepanners", were/are regularly employed in mining, particularly coal mining.Coal;seams over a certain thickness were suited to the use of large diameter "trepanners".Just a wee comment---


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Little Robyn
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 02:39 AM

"By the keepers of the land, me boys,
One night we were trepanned,"

Simply put, they were trapped and caught.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 05:23 AM

Trepanner- machine for cutting coal.
eric


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Teribus
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 04:37 AM

Trepanning, in the medical sense of the word, is also used as a means of rendering explosive devices safe. Two, or more, holes are trepanned in the casing of the bomb/torpedo/mine, and the explosives are washed out, leaving only the fuse.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: GUEST,Marco
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 11:04 AM

So (let me get this straight) in the song Black Velvet Band, the gal is neither trippin down the highway nor trapsin down the highway, but rather trapan down the highway?

To seduce or ensnare makes sense in that lyric.

Thanks for the info about Van Diemen's Land being a part of Australia; now I know the poor lad was exiled to a penal colony. Next question, who was Van Diemen?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Dead Horse
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 12:59 PM

Son of Carr & Laurie Dieman?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 04:58 PM

Van Diemen was the first recorded European explorer to nearly run aground on the hostile (rocky wind driving hard in Roaring Forties mode) West Coast of Tasmania and get back home alive.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 05:15 PM

G'day Marco (and Foolestroupe!)

Anthony Van Diemen was the Governor of the Dutch East Indies in 1636. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who had been hospitably received by him, named the Island south of Nieuwe Hollande (now Australia) "Van Diemen's Land" in his honour, in 1642.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 05:30 PM

I apologize Bob,

Abel Tasman was the first recorded European explorer to nearly run aground on the hostile (rocky wind driving hard in Roaring Forties mode) West Coast of Tasmania and get back home alive.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 11:32 PM

Just been reading a book called the British At War, good book and last night I came a cross a reference to trepanning.

It was a term used when the Navy press or Army recruiters were operating about 1800, in the book it referred to people being trepanned or abducted by use of large amounts of alchohol and the offer of a bounty (no not the chocolate bar) if they joined up.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 01:01 AM

So the girl in the black velevet band seduced sailors by getting them drunk on alcohol, for which they paid... sounds just like Aussie shearer songs tradition, eh, Bob Bolton? :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 02:13 AM

Careful Foolestroupe;

You're getting close to some of my ancestors - the ones who, after marrying out on the goldfields (well, actually in Bathurst - that's where the church was) went on to run a hotel called "The Hit or Miss" at 100 Windmill Street, The Rocks - Sydney Harbour. A lot of those places did a roaring shanghai trade ... especially durung the goldrushes, when so many sailors jumped ship to go and find a fortune in gold (... or not ... ). Thayt would have been a bit ironical for great-great Gran Jane-Anne (neé Quinn) and her husband Jan van Kampen ... since he was a Dutch sailor who almost undoubtedly did just that in the 1850s.

Another kind of trepanning is what a friend (who was in a band with me in the 1970s) has passed down in his family's history. One ancestor was a young tradesman carpenter, just out of his time as apprentice, who was transported to Australia ... apparently "framed" in much the way the song Black Velvet Band describes ... at a time when the English authorities were despairing of coaxing free tradesmen needed to build the colony (ie: before the Gold Rush).

Of course, "lambing down" seasonal bush workers (such as shearers) with strong ... and 'doped' ... liquor at grog shanties was not concerned with getting the victims as workers / soldiers / sailors ... just getting their hard-earned cheques into the publican's hands.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Hrothgar
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 05:58 AM

Tasmanians have to pay twice as much for brain surgery, don't they, Shimbo?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 07:39 AM

Not if it's only the one head of the two at a time that's giving trouble... :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 02:00 PM

The words in the digitrad for Van Diemen's Land do not appear wholly to accord with the Ewan MacColl recording nor the Young Tradition one.

I am told that the intrusive "Young Men Beware!" chorus was written and inserted by Steeleye Span. Can anyone comment on this while I eat - maybe back later with the other words...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 02:43 PM

You were told wrong.

In fact, the DT file you refer to isn't 'Van Diemen's Land' (Roud 519, Laws L18) at all, but 'Young Henry the Poacher' (Roud 221) with the first two verses omitted. There are close similarities with 'Van Diemen's Land', though (one was a re-write of the other) and such confusion isn't uncommon; but they should be treated as two distinct, though closely related, songs. The refrain belongs to 'Young Henry the Poacher', not to 'Van Diemen's Land'.

Since the DT file neglects to identify any source, it would take more time than I have spare just now to find out if the words there derive from tradition or not; but they are substantially as found on broadsides and in oral currency, refrain included.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HENRY THE POACHER and VAN DIEMEN'S LAND
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 04:35 PM

MacColl and the YT seem to have the same version as each other with only trivial variations, and both credit it as "Henry the Poacher" but without the chorus. In both not only is the chorus absent but also other words differ.

The YT sleeve notes say ""Henry the Poacher" sometimes called "Van Diemen's Land"is a magnificently detailed transportation ballad learned from the vast repertoire of Harry Cox of Sutton, Norfolk. It tells its own very moving story better than any other ballad we know. A very convincing story too - you can't doubt such full and precise narrative. MacColl relates the tune used here to "The banks of the Sweet Dundee".

I find it rather interesting that the full and detailed narrative seems to differ with each version as to dates and times...

I have the words of another version as follows: -

HENRY THE POACHER

Come all you wild and wicked youths, wherever you may be
I pray you give attention and listen unto me,
The fate of us poor transports as you shall understand
The hardships that we under go up on Van Diemen's Land.0

My parents reared me tenderly, good learning gave to me,
Till bad company did me beguile which proved my destiny,
I was brought up in Warwickshire, near Southam town did dwell,
My name it is Young Henry in Harbourne known full well. [THIS LINE IS NOT QUITE RIGHT]

Me and five more went out one night into Squire Dunhill's Park,
To see if we could get some game. The night it prov'ed dark;
But to our great misfortune they trepanned us with speed,
And sent us off to Warwick gaol which made our hearts to bleed.

It was at the March Assizes to the bar we did repair,
Like Job we stood with patience to hear our sentence there;
There being some old offenders, which made our case go hard,
My sentence was for fourteen years, then I was sent on board.

The ship that bore us from the land, the Speedwell was her name
For full five months and upwards, boys, we ploughed the raging main;
Neither land nor harbor could we see; believe it is no lie.
All around us one black water, boys; above us one blue sky.

The fifteenth of September, 'twas then we made the land.
At four o'clock we went on shore all chained hand in hand.
To see our fellow sufferers we felt I can't tell how;
Some yoked unto a harrow, and others to a plough.

No shoes or stockings they had on, nor hat had they to wear,
But leathern frock and linsey drawers; their feet and heads were bare.
They chained them up by two and two like horses in a dray;
The driver he stood over them, with his Melackey cane.

Then I was marched to Sydney town, without no more delay,
Where a gentleman he bought me, his bookkeeper to be.
I took this occupation, my master liked me well.
My joys were out of measure, and I'm sure no one can tell.

We had a female servant, Rosanna was her name,
For fourteen years a convict was, from Wolverhampton came.
We often told our tales of love when we were blest at home,
But now we're rattling of our chains in a foreign land to roam.




Another version I have is: -

VAN DIEMEN'S LAND

Come all you gallant poachers,
That ramble void of care,
That walk out on a moonlight night
With dog and gun and snare.
By the keepers of the land, my boys,
One night we were trepanned,
And for fourteen years transported
Unto Van Diemen's land.

The first day that we landed
Upon that fateful shore,
The planters came round us,
They might be twenty score.
They ranked us off like horses
And sold us out of hand,
And yoked us to the plough, brave boys,
To plough Van Diemen's Land.

God bless our wives and families,
Likewise that happy shore,
That isle of sweet contentment
Which we shall see no more;
As for the wretched females,
See them we seldom can,
There are fourteen men to every woman
In Van Diemen's Land.

Oh, if I had a thousand pounds
All laid out in my hand,
I'd give it all for liberty
If that I could command;
Once more to Ireland I'd return,
And be a happy man,
And bid adieu to poaching
And to Van Diemen's Land.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 06:45 PM

MacColl and The Young Tradition both used Harry Cox's set of 'Young Henry', which, unusually, omits the refrain.

Your first text is 'Young Henry the Poacher', noted by Vaughan Williams from Mr Anderson of Great Yarmouth in 1905. He too omitted the refrain. RVW wrote down the first verse only; the rest, as you quote it, is from Roy Palmer, Bushes and Briers: Folk Songs Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams, 91-2, where the rest is added from a broadside by Pitts (who did include the refrain). See Palmer's comments on variations in place names.

Your second text is 'Van Diemen's Land'; as I've pointed out, a separate song. An identical set of words is already in the DT: VAN DIEMEN'S LAND (see links above). No source is acknowledged, but it looks like the Irish localisation in Colm O Lochlainn, Irish Street Ballads 42-3, with several verses omitted and 'twenty' changed to 'fourteen'.

Given that the DT provides no information, it might have come from anywhere. Do you remember where you got it?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Diemen's Land
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 07:07 PM

When my father was a boy, he used to hear folks singing "Van Diemen's Land" and he thought they were singing "bandyman's land" Bandy meaning bandit. Funny what children mishear.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Diemen's Land
From: Q
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 08:46 PM

Versions of "Young Henry," "Henry's Downfall" and "Van Diemen's Land" were probably learned mostly from broadsides (period-1820-1880) and I would guess were little circulated as folk songs; Malcolm would know more about that.
All three are in the Bodleian Library, absent from NLS; haven't checked Glasgow yet.

I will post them here once I finish checking the unattributed ones in the DT and threads.

Richard, where did the two that you posted come from?


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Young Henry the Poacher (Bodleian)
From: Q
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 10:05 PM

Lyr. Add: YOUNG HENRY THE POACHER
1819-1844; J. Pitts London

Come all you wild and wicked youths, wherever you may be,
I pray you give attention and listen unto me,
The fate of us poor transports as you shall understand,
The hardships that we undergo upon Van Diemen's Land.
Chorus
Young men, all now beware,
Lest you are drawn into a snare.

My parents rear'd me tenderly, good leaning gave to me,
Till by bad company was beguil'd which prov'd my destiny.
I was brought up in Warwickshire, near Southam town did dwell,
My name it is young Henry in Harbourn known full well.

Me and five more went out one night into Squire Dunhill's Park,
To see if we could get some game(1) the night it proved dark.
But to our great misfortune they trepanned(2) us with speed
And sent us off to Warwick jail which made our hearts to bleed.

It was at the March Assizes to the bar we did repair,
Like Job we stood with patience to hear our sentence there;
There being some old offenders, which made our case go hard,
My sentence was for fourteen years, then I was sent on board.

The ship that bore us from the land the Speedwell was by name.
For full five months and upwards boys, we plowed the raging main;
Neither land nor harbour could we see believe it is no lie,
All around us one black water boys above us one blue sky;

I often look'd behind me, towards my native shore,(3)
That cottage of contentment which we shall see no more;
Nor yet my own dear father who tore his hoary hair,
Likewise my tender mother the womb that did me bear.

The fifteenth of September 'twas then we made the land,
At four o'clock we went on shore all chained hand in hand;
To see our fellow-sufferers we felt I can't tell how,
Some chain'd unto a harrow, and others to a plough.

No shoes or stockings they had on, nor hat had they to wear,
But a leathern frock and linsey drawers their feet and heads were bare;
They chained them up by two and two like horses in a team,
Their driver he stood over them, with his Malackey(4) cane.

Then I was marched to Sydney town without any more delay,
Where a gentleman he bought me his book-keeper to be;
I took this occupation my master lik'd me well,
My joys were out of measure, and I'm sure no one can tell.

We had a female servant, Rosanna was her name,
For fourteen years a convict was from Wolverhampton came,
We often told our tales of love when we were blest at home,
But now we're rattling of our chains in foreign lands to roam.

Bodleian Library, Firth c.19(62), J. Pitts (London) c.1819-1844.
(1) mistaken as 'fame' in the DT. (3)verse omitted in DT. (4)Malacca.
(2)Trepan, trapan, treppan, trappan. To ensnare, entrap, beguile. OED. Obsolete.


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Subject: Re: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Q
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 11:55 PM

Variant- HENRY'S DOWNFALL
c. 1819-1844, W. R. Walker, Newcastle

The same as Young Henry the Poacher, posted above, but his town changed in verse 2. A few minor word changes elsewhere.

My parents reared me tenderly, good learning gave to me,
But bad companions did me spoil which proved my destiny,
In Lancashire I was bred, near Bolton town did dwell,
My name is young Henry, in Chorley known full well.

Bodleian Library, preserved on the same sheet as the one above.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: GUEST,albert
Date: 20 Oct 07 - 07:50 AM

Has anyone read the book The Fatal Shore by ,I think, Robert Harries.Its about the founding of Australia and the convict settlements and is quite a shattering read!
albert


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Diemen's Land
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Oct 07 - 10:03 AM

I don't know where I got the words I found as reported above - I suspect I googled "Van Diemen's land"

Anyway, I have now compared carefully with YT and MacColl recordings and can report as follows: -


HENRY THE POACHER YT VERSION
Capital letters/ Square brackets indicate where differing from nearest version above.

Come all you wild and wicked youths, WHERESOEVER you may be
I HOPE you'll PAY attention and listen unto me,
The fate of POOR LOST CONVICTS as you shall understand
AND the hardships THEY do undergo upon Van Diemen's Land.

My parents reared me tenderly, good learning THEY GIVE to me,
Till ALL MY BAD COMPANIONS BEGUILED MY HOME FROM ME,
I was brought up in WORCESTERSHIRE, near TO THE town did dwell,
My name is Henry ABBOT AND MANY KNOWS ME WELL

Me and FOUR more went out one night TO Squire DANIEL'S FARM,
FOR to [] get some game WERE OUR INTENT AS the night COME FALLING DOWN;
But to our SAD misfortune they TOOK us THERE with speed,
THEY sent us off to Warwick gaol which made our hearts to bleed.

It was at the March Assizes AT the bar we did APPEAR,
Like Job we stood with patience FOR to hear our sentence there;
AND being some old offenders, IT made our case go hard,
OUR sentence WERE for fourteen years, AND WE WERE sent on board.

The ship that bore us from the land, the Speedwell was her name
AND for [] FOUR month [] and A HALF, ME boys, we ploughed the raging main;
NO land nor harbour could I see; believe ME it is no lie.
All around us one black water; AND above us one blue sky.

I OFT-TIMES LOOKED BEHIND ME TOWARDS MY NATIVE SHORE
AND THE COTTAGE OF CONTENTMENT THAT I WILL SEE NO MORE
LIKEWISE MY AGED FATHER WHO TAUGHT US ALL HE HAD
ALSO MY TENDER MOTHER WHOSE ARMS ONCE DID ME BEAR

IT WAS ON the FOURTEENTH of JULY, THE DAY we made the land.
At four o'clock we went on shore all chained hand in hand.
AND To see our fellow sufferers I FEAR I can't tell how;
Some WERE CHAINED unto a harrow, and SOME UNTO a plough.

[]
AND then THEY marched US INTO THE town, without no more delay,
AND WAS THERE a gentleman he TOOK me, A bookkeeper FOR to be.
I took TO MY occupation THERE, NOW my master LIKES me well.
My joys ARE out of measure, [] I'm sure no one can tell.

HE KEPT a female servant, Rosanna was her name,
For fourteen year a convict [], from WORCESTERSHIRE SHE came.
We OFT-TIMES TELL our LOVE tales THERE WHERE we ARE SO FAR FROM home,
But now we're A-rattling of our chains in [] foreign lands to roam.




HENRY THE POACHER MacColl VERSION
Capital letters/ Square brackets indicate where differing from YT version above

NOW come all you wild and wicked youths, wheresoever you may be
I PRAY NOW pay attention and listen unto me,
The fate ALL of poor TRANSPORTS as you shall understand
[] The hardships they do undergo upon Van Diemen's Land.

My parents reared me tenderly, good learning they give to me,
Till all my bad companions beguiled my home from me,
I was brought up in Worcestershire, near to the town did dwell,
My name is Henry Abbot and many knows me well

Me and THREE more went out one night to Squire Daniel's farm,
[] To get some game WAS our intent as the night come falling down;
But to our sad misfortune they took us there with speed,
They sent us off to Warwick gaol which made our hearts to bleed.

It was at the March assizes at the bar we did appear,
Like Job we stood with patience [] to hear our sentence there;
And being some old offenders, it made our case go hard,
Our sentence were for fourteen years, and we were sent on board.

The ship that bore us from the land, the Speedwell was her name
And FULL four months and a half [] we ploughed ACROSS the raging main;
No land nor harbour could WE see; believe me it is no lie.
All around us one black water; and above us one blue sky.

I oft-times looked behind me towards my native shore
And THAT cottage of contentment that I SHALL see no more
Likewise my aged father who taught us all he had
Also my tender mother whose arms once did me bear

It was on the FOURTH of July, the day we made the land.
At four o'clock we went on shore all chained hand in hand.
And To see our fellow sufferers I FEEL I can't tell how;
Some [] chained unto a harrow, and some unto a plough.

SO WE WERE marched [] into the town, without no more delay,
And [] there a gentleman [] took me, a bookkeeper for to be.
I took [] my occupation [], [] my master likes me well.
My joys are out of measure, I'm sure no one can tell.

He kept a female servant, Rosanna was her name,
For fourteen years a convict, from Worcestershire she came.
We oft-times tell our love tales there where we are so far from home,
FOR now we're []rattling of our chains in foreign lands to roam


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Subject: Lyr. Add: The Female Transport (1819-1844)
From: Q
Date: 20 Oct 07 - 03:01 PM

"The Female Transport" is in the DT (Sung by Frankie Armstrong?) but is marred by the pseudo-dialect 'me,' instead of 'my,' etc. in the words. Several copies are in the Bodleian collection, the earliest dated 1819-1844, apparently composed contemporaneously to "Young Henry the Poacher" and "Van Diemen's Land."

Lyr. Add: THE FEMALE TRANSPORT
J. Pitts, c.1819-1844

Come all young girls both far & near & listen unto me,
While unto you I do unfold, what proved my destiny,
My mother died when I was young, it caused me to deplore,
And I did get my reins(1) too soon, upon my native shore.

Sarah Collings(2) is my name, most dreadful is my fate
My father reared me tenderly the truth I do relate,
Till enticed to highway robbery, along with many more,
It led to my discovery, upon my native shore.

My trial it approached fast, before the Judge I stood,
And when the Judge sentence pass'd, it fairly chill'd my blood,
Crying, you must be transported, for fourteen years or more
And go from hence, across the seas, unto Van Diemen's shore.

It hurt my heart when on a coach I my native town passed
To see so many I did know, it made me heave a sigh,
Then to a ship was sent with speed, along with many more,
Whose aching hearts did grieve to go unto Van Diemen's shore.

The sea was rough, ran mountains high, with us poor girls was hard,
No friend but God ere(to) us came nigh, no one did us regard,
At length alas! we reach'd the land, it grieved us ten times more,
The wretched place Van Diemen's Land, far from our native shore.

They chained us up two by two, and whipt and lash'd along,
They cut off our provisions if we do the least thing
They march us in the burning sun until our feet are sore,
So hard's our lot now we are got upon Van Diemen's shore.

We labour hard from morn till night, until our bones do ache,
Then every one they must obey, their mouldy beds must make
We often wish when we lay down we ne'er may rise no more,
To meet our savage governor(s) upon Van Diemen's shore.

Every night when I lay down, I wash(wet) my straw with tears
While wind upon that horrid shore do(did) whistle in our ears,
Those dreadful beasts upon the land, around our cots do roar
Most dismal is our doom upon Van Diemen's shore.

Come all young men and maidens do bad company forsake,
If tongue could tell our overthrow, it would make your heart to ache,
You(young) girls I pray be ruled by me, your wicked ways give o'er,
For fear like us you spend your days upon Van Diemen's shore.

( ) way, Collins, etc.- slight variations in other printings.

Bodleian Library, Harding B 11 (2238).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Oct 07 - 06:50 PM

There is a rather effective play of the same name "Female Transport", more about the treatment during shipment.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Rowan
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 07:41 PM

Q's comment ""The Female Transport" is in the DT (Sung by Frankie Armstrong?) but is marred by the pseudo-dialect 'me,' instead of 'my,' etc. in the words" raises a point of interest to me.

If I tape recorded speakers in Oz I'd put money on the proposition that, when the word "my" is followed immediately by a noun, it would be pronounced "me" in more than 75% of cases. So the question is, when should one reflect the spoken word in the written text and when should one avoid it? I'd argue that, if the "original" was known to be a text, "proper" practice would be, when writing it out, to reproduce the text faithfully. The trouble arises when a person (usually well educated and from that class of people who "correct" the failings of others) collects an oral version and publishes their material so collected as written text.

Items collected orally from places far removed from London's strongholds of "received pronunciation" might be faithfully reflected only if they're in a form of speech that the collector identifies as a dialect rather than as a "pseudo-dialect" and I'm not sure that many of us have the technical knowhow in linguistics to do so. Appalachia and those parts of the British Isles west of London and further east than Hackney might qualify but Oz English?

An associated 'problem' comes up every now and then on Mudcat, because of the spread of its contributors. The songs in the thread above mention "plough", "ploughed" and "plowed", harbour etc.; all would be regarded as acceptable and, east of the Atlantic, not even noticed. But I've noticed examples of Oz songs where the words "travelled", "traveller" and "travelling" have been written (in quotation marks) as "traveled", etc.; until the rise of Micro$oft this would never have originated in Oz. I suppose it's understandable, and even acceptable if quotation marks aren't being used, but it grates a bit.

Idle contemplations before work.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Q
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 09:32 PM

All three songs probably came from the English broadsheets. They might have been carried to Oz early but I rather doubt that they entered the singing tradition until fairly recently. I will, of course defer to Bob Bolton, etc., on this point.
That English broadsheets of the 19th c. were carried abroad is shown by those found in the U. S. and Canada.

'Me' is sung by so many current American-Irish singers in the bars (pubs) that it 'grates' a bit, to use your words.

The 'll' in traveller is accepted by many North Americans, not as often as the single 'l', and it given without comment in Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, along with similar constructions (focused, focussed). Modern N. Am. writing drops the 'll' and I think now most children learn the single 'l' in school. I presume OZ remains closer to English 'll' usage.

I had another broadside version I was going to post for comparison; I should do it before I forget entirely.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 12:21 AM

If there is any evidence that 'The Female Transport' has ever been found in oral currency in Australia (or anywhere else, for that matter), I'd be interested in hearing about it.

When transcribing recordings made from oral tradition, the transcriber faces a whole series of decisions. How far is it appropriate or relevant to attempt to reproduce dialectal pronounciation or accent? What is more important; a faithful reproduction (insofar as this is possible without the use of phonetic symbols) of the sound of the words, or a transcription that, by using standard spelling except where rhyme or metre dictates otherwise, makes clear their meaning?

'Collectors' and, more recently, ethnomusicologists, have taken a whole range of approaches depending on what they were trying to achieve. Kenneth Peacock's comments (Songs of the Newfoundland Outports I, xxiii) are informative:

'Possibly the most vexing problems of preparing traditional songs for publication are concerned with editing the texts. Some researchers of more scientific bent consider it mandatory to reproduce each and every syllable the way the informant pronounced it. This is next to impossible even within the limitations of a strict phonetic system, but when ordinary written English is used to suggest the nuances of a dialect the result is often ludicrous. As an exercise in popular phonetics, I tried this method on one or two Newfoundland songs. For example, the first line of She's Like the Swallow in one of the Newfoundland dialects comes out something like this: "Shay's loik de swellah det floiz sa hoigh." Rather than have my poor readers lose their sanity ploughing through several hundred pages of this, I have reluctantly forsaken precision for readability.'

Although there is an argument for strict phonetic transcription, that is really the province of the academic musicologist rather than the ordinary student of folk song. It is educational to look at transcriptions made by the traditional singers themselves. I've seen quite a few as it happens; mainly written down in the first decade of the 20th century (illiteracy was not as common among the rural and urban poor as people seem to think). Often a singer wouldn't recall all the words of a song that they may not have sung for years when visited by a 'collector', and sometimes they would write the rest down later and send it on. Spelling might be non-standard in some cases, but they didn't go in for 'dialect' spelling. If the word was 'my', then that's what they wrote; regardless of whether they pronounced it 'me', or 'moy', or 'ma'. They may not have been highly educated, but they weren't ignorant or stupid.

When it comes to transcribing lyrics from modern, commercially recorded arrangements made by professional performers, however, these considerations don't apply. Such transcriptions may be useful for people who want to know exactly what a favourite entertainer sang, but pronounciation is mostly irrelevant. People who have a superficial acquaintance with transcriptions made from tradition often tend to render 'my' as 'me' and to omit final -g as a matter of course, but they are usually inconsistent, making no attempt to render other individualities of pronounciation.

These revival singers have, as often as not, learned their songs from print sources in any case. 'The Female Transport', so far as I can tell, has never been found in tradition. My guess (though better information would be welcome) would be that the words were taken from a broadside and a tune set to them shortly before Frankie recorded her arrangement. To insist on 'me' instead of 'my' in this sort of context risks being not only silly and pretentious but, more importantly, seriously misleading.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Dieman's Land
From: Rowan
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 01:01 AM

I knew there'd be sensible responses; thanks to you both. I hadn't meant to imply that the texts above had had an oral tradition separate from the broadsides but the variety of spellings I've observed on Mudcat, for things that I'd have thought as being 'set in concrete' so to speak, set me wondering aloud about the interraction between the written and spoke (or sung in this case) words. As it happens, I do have frequent dealings with linguists (although not usually about songs) and etymologists (ditto) as well as ethnologists and would walk considerable distances to avoid strict application of phonetics. I'd not seen Peacock's comments but heartily agree; thanks, Malcolm, for putting them up.

As I said, mine were idle thoughts.

And, while we're on about Tasmania, I've yet to find a song that refers to Tasmanians (or Vandemonians) as Taswegians, although the term has a fairly respectable currency; perhaps I haven't yet looked hard enough.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Van Diemen's Land
From: Q
Date: 07 Nov 10 - 11:37 PM

Just noticed that when I posted "The Female Transport" in 2007, I changed the spelling to Van Diemen's Land. In the broadside, it is Van Dieman's Land.


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