“Van Dieman's Land (II -- Young Henry's Downfall)”


(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

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Firth c.19(62), "Young Henry the Poacher," J. Pitts (London), 1819-1844; also Harding B 11(4369), Harding B 11(4370), Harding B 11(4371), Harding B 11(4372), "Young Henry the Poacher"; Firth c.19(61), "Henry's Downfall"; Harding B 17(349a), "Young Henry's Downfall"


  • Walter Pardon, "Van Dieman's Land" (on Voice04)


  1. Fahey-Eureka, pp. 16-17, "Henry's Downfall" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #221
  4. BI, FaE16


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1845 (broadside, Bodleian Firth c.19(62))
Found in: Australia Britain(England(Lond))