From the album Two Ravens
This song is a reminder of what ruthless people will do to the weak who stand in the way of their greed. In this case, it serves to remind English people of what the British Government would have us forget - that it was British politicians, British judges and their cronies who, between 1780 and 1870, sent nearly 80,000 English men, women and children to the penal colonies. In most cases their only crime was trying to survive the poverty, starvation and suffering created by the same British Ruling Classes during the Industrial Revolution. In 1845 the British Parliament outlawed slave trading, and yet carried on transporting their own people to slavery in Australia for another 25 years. What British history would have us forget is that in 1750 in Lancashire the average life expectancy of a male was 52 and infant mortality 1 in 5. In 1845 at the height of the Industrial Revolution life expectancy for an English male had fallen to 42 and the infant morality rate was 1 in 3. . I sing songs like this to remind English people what self-serving British politicians and their cronies will do to achieve their British political ends, and how little has changed.
When I was a young lad, of about 17,
I should’ve been serving, Victoria our queen
But those hard-hearted judges, how cruel they’ve been
For sending us lads to Australia
I fell in love with a woman, both handsome and gay,
I neglected my work more and more every day
And to keep her like a lady, I went on the highway
And for that I was sent to Australia
Well you should see how they stand, with their whips in their hand
They drove us like horses, to plough up their land
You should see us poor fellas, we worked in the jail yard
How sad was our plight in Australia.
Oh England my England I will never see you more
For I’m stricken with fever, cast down at death’s door
But if ever I live to see 7 years more
I’ll then bid adieu to Australia.