Van Dieman’s Land

Sung by Jerry O’Reilly

image of Jerry O’Reilly

sung by
Jerry O’Reilly
(Cullerlie 2007)

image of CD cover of Jerry O’Reilly

CDs available

Come all you gallant poachers, that ramble void of care
Who wander out on moonlit nights, with your dog, your gun, and snare
The hare and lofty pheasant, you have at your command
Not thinking of a long career, spent on Van Dieman’s Land
Young Thomas Brown from Nenagh Town, John Murphy and poor Joe
Were three determined poachers, as the county well does know
By the keeper of the land one night, alas they were trepanned
And for fourteen years transported, unto Van Dieman’s Land
We had one female prisoner, Peg Brophy was her name
For fourteen years transported, as you may know the same
But the captain bought her freedom, and he married her out of hand
And she gave to us good usage, going to Van Dieman’s Land
The first day that we landed, upon that fatal shore
The planters gathered round us, there might be twenty score
They ranked us off like horses, and they sold us out of hand
And they yoked us to the plough brave boys, for to plough Van Dieman’s Land
The cottages that we live in, are made with sods of earth
We have rotten straw for bedding, but we dare not say a word
Our huts we ring with fireing, and we slumber when we can
To keep at bay the beasts of prey, that prowl Van Dieman’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, all on Van Dieman’s Land
Oft times when I do slumber, I have a pleasant dream
I’m lying on the cool green grass, close by a rippling stream
Or wandering through the meadows fair, with my sweetheart by the hand
But awaken broken hearted, upon Van Dieman’s Land
For fourteen years is a long long time, and that’s our sentence run
For little else but poaching, for that is all we done
You’d give up both the dog and gun, and poaching every man
If you only knew the hardship, that’s upon Van Dieman’s Land
Perchance I had a thousand pounds, all laid down in my hand
I’d give it all for freedom, if that I could command
I’d then return to Ireland, and I’d be a happy man
And I’d bid farewell to poaching, likewise Van Dieman’s Land

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