R966 Van Diemen's Land



This is a traditional English folk song from the late 18th to early 19th century, warning young men against poaching and describing convicts' experiences in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). It was recorded by the Franklyn B Paverty Bush Band in 1999.

Acknowledgements: With permission of Franklyn B Paverty Bush Band. Reproduced courtesy of National Film and Sound Archive.

Educational value
This asset shows that poaching - killing animals and birds on other people's land - was a serious crime in England in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
It indicates that habitual poachers could be sentenced to transportation to Van Diemen's Land, one of the Australian penal colonies, and that 14 years' transportation was a typical sentence.
It illustrates that convicts sentenced to transportation in Australia did the work needed to establish the colonies - the song refers to them being harnessed like horses to 'plough Van Diemen's Land'.
It conveys the feeling of homesickness experienced by convicts.
Band music
Folk songs
Penal colonies
© Curriculum Corporation and National Film and Sound Archive, 2008, except where indicated under Acknowledgements