Moreton Bay was one of the first songs that opened my ears to Australian Folk Song and I can remember being enthralled at hearing it for the first time sung by Peter Laycock. I had heard the more popular songs like ‘Click go the Shears’ and others sung by the station hands on the sheep station I was working on, Emu Springs In South Australia, but ‘Moreton Bay’ put me on the road to finding out more Australian songs.
MORETON BAY Words Frank the Poet Tune traditional Irish.
One Sunday morning as I was walking by Brisbane waters I chanced did stray
I heard a convict his fate be-wailing as on the sunny river bank he lay
I am native of Erin’s island ‘though banished now from my native shore
They tore me from my aged parents and from the maiden whom I adore.
I’ve been a prisoner at Port Macquarie at Norfolk Island and Emu Plains
At Castle Hill and at cursed Toongabbie and all these settlements I’ve spent in chains
But of all the places of condemnation and penal stations of New South Wales
To Moreton Bay I have found no equal excessive tyranny prevails each day.
For three long years I’ve been badly treated and round my legs heavy chains I wore
My back with flogging is lacerated and ofttimes covered with my crimson gore
And many a man through downright starvation lies mouldering underneath the clay
And Captain Logan he had us mangled all on the triangles of Moreton Bay.
Like the Egyptians and ancient Hebrews we were oppressed under Logan’s yoke
Till a native Black lying there in ambush gave to this tyrant his fatal stroke
My fellow prisoners be exhilarated that all such monsters their fate should find
And when from bondage we’re liberated my former sufferings shall fade from mind.