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Van Diemen's Land [4:59]

The Front Cover
Coming In
Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band
Claudy Banks [4:37]
The Little Gypsy Girl [2:16]
Banks Of The Bann [3:38]
Murder Of Maria Marten [7:28]
Van Diemen's Land [4:59]
Just As The Tide Was A 'Flowing [2:13]
The White Hare [2:43]
Hal-An-Tow [2:54]
Poor Murdered Woman [4:17]
A Little Music or The Delights of Harmony
Anthems In Eden
Notes and Things
The Back Cover

(collated by Ashley Hutchings)

Come, all you gallant poachers,
That ramble free from care,
That walk out of a moonlight night,
With your dog, your gun, and snare;
Where the lusty hare and pheasant
You have at your command,
Not thinking that your last career
Is on Van Diemen's Land.
There was poor Tom Brown from Nottingham,
Jack Williams, and poor Joe,
Were three as daring poachers
As the country well does know;
At night they were trapannèd
By the keepers hid in sand,
And for fourteen years transported were
Unto Van Diemen's Land.
Oh! when we sailed from England
We landed at the bay,
We had rotten straw for bedding,
We dared not to say nay.
Our cots were fenced with fire,
(we slumber when we can,)
To drive away the wolves and tigers
Upon Van Diemen's Land.
Oh! when that we were landed
Upon that fatal shore,
The planters they came flocking round,
Full twenty score or more;
They ranked us up like horses,
And sold us out of hand,
They yoked us to the plough, my boys,
To plough Van Diemen's Land.
There was one girl from England,
Susan Summers was her name,
For fourteen years transported was,
We all well knew the same;
Our planter bought her freedom,
And he married her out of hand,
Good usage then she gave to us,
Upon Van Diemen's Land.
Oh! oft when I am slumbering,
I have a pleasant dream:
With my sweet girl I am sitting,
Down by some purling stream,
Through England I am roaming,
With her at my command,
Then waken, brokenhearted,
Upon 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 our wretched females,
See them we seldom can,
There are twenty to one woman
Upon Van Diemen's Land.
Come all you gallant poachers,
Give ear unto my song,
It is a bit of good advice,
Although it is not long:
Lay by your dog and snare;
To you I do speak plain,
If you knew the hardships we endure
You ne'er would poach again.

Van Diemen's Land was the original name used by Europeans for the island of Tasmania, now part of Australia. The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to explore Tasmania, he named the island Anthoonij van Diemenslandt in honor of Anthony van Diemen, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies who had sent Tasman on his voyage of discovery in 1642.

In 1803, the island was colonized by the British as a penal colony with the name Van Diemen's Land.

From the 1830s to the abolition of transportation in 1853, Van Diemen's Land was the primary penal colony in Australia. Following the suspension of transportation to New South Wales, all convicts sent to Australia first served their sentences at the Tasman Peninsula prison known as Port Arthur or as assigned labour to free settlers in Van Diemen's Land. In total, some 75,000 convicts were transported to Van Diemen's Land, or about 40% of all convicts sent to Australia.

Convicts earning their pardon or ticket-of-leave often promptly left Van Diemen's Land to settle in the new free colony of Victoria to the disgust of the free settlers in towns such as Melbourne. Tensions sometimes ran high between the settlers and the "Vandemonians" as they were termed, particularly during the Victorian gold rush when a flood of settlers from Van Diemen's Land rushed to the Victorian gold fields. Complaints from Victorians about recently released convicts from Van Diemen's Land re-offending in Victoria eventually led to the abolition of transportation to Van Diemen's Land in 1853.

In order to remove the unsavoury connotations with crime associated with its name, in 1856 Van Diemen's Land was renamed Tasmania in honour of Abel Tasman. The last penal colony in Tasmania at Port Arthur finally closed in 1877.


Van Diemen's Land", also known as "The Gallant Poachers", is a traditional English folk song. It has been performed by Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band on their 1971 album No Roses, by Walter Pardon on the 1974 album Farewell, My Own Dear Native Land, by Gay & Terry Woods on their 1976 album Renowned, and by Steeleye Span on their 2004 album They Called Her Babylon.


related internet links

eldest son of
John and Hannah Cone,
was convicted at
Suffolk Assizes
20th March 1787 and
sentenced to be
transported for life -
for stealing a sum of money,
two crown pieces and
three shillings, out of the
dwelling house of
Mr John Wade of

the "birthplace" of
the settlement

a Tasmanian Convict Index
(11,253 names). Other indexes
include permission to marry;
conditional pardons; free males
who became prisoners and
assignment lists

by Jenny Fawcett.
This ever expanding site offers
access to information and a wide
variety of online indexes.

From the Indefatigable arriving
in 1812 until the St. Vincent in
1852 there were 371 voyages,
from overseas, bringing convicts
to Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land).
There were also ships arriving with
convicts from elsewhere

our website about
Peter Bellamy's classic
tale of The First Convict Fleet

no roses is
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all rights reserved