Dalhousie University Archives

Nova Scotia Ballads — Van Diemen's Land

Author: Anonymous

[Page 89]


Oh, come all ye men of learning,
And rambling boys beware,
And when you go a-hunting,
Take your dog, your gun, your snare.
Think on lofty hills and mountains
That are at your command,
And think of the tedious journey,
Going to Van Diemen's Land.1.
Figure 1. 1852 map of Van Diemen's Land
Oh, there were three men from Galway,
Brown, Martin and Paul Jones,
They were three loyal comrades,
To their country they were known.
One night they were trapanded
By the keepers of the strand,
And for seven long years transported2
Unto Van Diemen's Land.
Oh, Brown he had a sweetheart,
Jean Summer was her name,
And she was sent to Dublin town,
For the playing of her game.
Our captain fell in love with her,
And married her out of hand,
And the best of treatment she gave us,
Going to Van Diemen's Land.
[Page 90]
Oh, the place we had to land upon
Was on some foreign shore.
The people gathered around us,
About five hundred score.
They yoked us up like horses,
And they sold us out of hand,
And they hitched us to a plough, boys,
To plough Van Diemen's Land.
The place we had to sleep in,
Was built of sods and clay,
Some rotten straw to sleep upon,
And not one word dare say.
The people gathered around us
Saying "Slumber if you can!
But think of the Turks and tigers,
That’s in Van Diemen's Land."
[Page 91]
One night as I lay in my bed,
I had a pleasant dream,
I dreamed I was in old Ireland,
Down by a purling stream,
With a fair lassie by my side,
And she at my command;-
When I woke quite broken hearted,
All in Van Diemen's Land.


Van Diemen's Land: was the original name used by most Europeans for the island of Tasmania, now part of Australia, it was colonised by the British as a penal colony from 1800s to 1853
Penal Transportation: Van Diemen's Land was the primary penal colony in Australia. Following the suspension of transportation to New South Wales, all transported convicts were sent to 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.
Anonymous. Date: 2014-10-27