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It being in the Spring when the small birds sing
And the lambs do sport and play
I entered as a passenger, to New South Wales sailed o'er;
And I'll bid farewell to all that dwell
And the girls of the shamrock shore.
The ship that bore us from the land,
The Speedwell was her name,
For full five months and upwards boys,
We ploughed the foaming main,
Neither land nor harbour could we see,
Or the girls of the shamrock shore
On the fifteenth of September, boys,
We soon did make the land,
At four o'clock we went on shore
All chained hand to hand,
My sentence is for fourteen years
Farewell to the shamrock shore.
Collected by John Meredith from Sally Sloane and by Warren Fahey from Sister Mary O'Loughlin.
Between 1788 and 1842 approximately 80,0000 convicts were transported to the penal settlement of New South Wales. Of these, approximately 85% were men and 15% were women. Almost two thirds of convicts were English, along with a small number of Scottish and Welsh. Irish prisoners made up the remaining one third.
The illustration to this post is a studio photograph from the 1870s of "William Thompson, convict".