(Six) poachers are taken and sent to Van Dieman's Land. Destined to work for a planter, the singer is frightened to see the conditions of the workers, but is instead picked out to be a bookkeeper. He meets another prisoner, Rosanna; they fall in love
Yates, Musical Traditions site _Voice of the People suite_ "Notes - Volume 4" - 19.8.02: "Roy Palmer has traced this song (which has been found only in England [sic]) to two real poaching affrays that occurred in Warwickshire in 1829." - BS
The "other" "Van Dieman's Land" has a plot so similar that I was not sure but that they should be classified as one. The tunes and texts are, however, distinct.
A typical stanza of this version is:
I and five more went out one night
To Squire Dunhill's park
To see if we could get some game
But the night it proved too dark.
And to our sad misfortune
They've hemmed us in with speed
They sent us off to Warwick Gaol
Which caused our hearts to bleed.
Young men all now beware
Lest you are drawn into a snare.
For notes on the history of Van Diemen's Land, see the entry on "Van Diemen's Land (I)." - RBW