“Australia (Virginny)”


"When I was a young man, my age seventeen, I ought ha' been serving Victoria our Queen, But those hard-hearted judges, how cruel they've been, To send us poor lads to Australia." To please his girlfriend, the singer turns outlaw, and winds up transported


Yates, Musical Traditions site _Voice of the People suite_ "Notes - Volume 4" - 19.8.02: "Originally an 18th century song about transportation to the American State of Virginia. Later broadside printers changed it to Australia, to suit the then current destination of transports." - BS

This is at least possible (with the footnote that no one was ever transported to the *state* of Virginia, but rather to the *colony*). Though Virginia did not receive a high number of transportees. The transport system arose around 1650, and by the time the American colonies had been closed off by the Revolution, only about 50,000 prisoners had been sent (see _The Oxford Companion to British History_, article on "Transportation"). And most of these went to the West Indies (see Samuel Eliot Morison, _The Oxford History of the American People_, p. 82), with only a handful to Virginia, Maryland, and New England. And many of *them* were Jacobite refugees exiled in the aftermath of the 1745 rebellion. (Plus, of course, a lot of Jacobites came voluntarily; see, e.g. the notes to "Flora MacDonald's Lament.") - RBW


  • Bob Hart, "Australia" (on BHart01, HiddenE)
  • Cyril Poacher, "Australia" (on Voice04)


  1. Fahey-Eureka, pp. 12-13, "Australia" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Paterson/Fahey/Seal, pp. 47-48, "Australia" (1 text)
  3. Roud #1488
  4. BI, FaE012


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1969 (collected from Bob Hart by Rod & Danny Stradling, according to Patterson/Fahey/Seal)
Found in: Australia Britain(England(Lond,South))