Moreton Bay Lyrics

The lyrics for the folk song that were written by the Irish convict poet Frank McNamara (see Below) .


Moreton Bay is an arrangement for an experienced string orchestra of an Australian folk song which became popular around 1830. The ‘Percy Grainger style’ work portrays the sadness and grief that was the experience of the convicts at the penal settlement of Moreton Bay run by the notorious Captain Logan. After a slow introduction of the theme, the piece seamlessly moves in to a lighter waltz section before returning to the memories of that horrendous period of Australian history.

Moreton Bay by Frank McNamara

One Sunday morning as I went walking
By Brisbane waters I chanced to stray
I heard a convict his fate bewailing
As on the sunny river bank I lay
I am a native from Erin’s island
But banished now from my native shore
They stole me from my aged parents
And from the maiden I do adore

I’ve been a prisoner at Port Macquarie
At Norfolk Island and Emu Plains
At Castle Hill and at cursed Toongabbie
At all these settlements I’ve been in chains
But of all places of condemnation
And penal stations in New South Wales
To Moreton Bay I have found no equal
Excessive tyranny each day prevails

For three long years I was beastly treated
And heavy irons on my legs I wore
My back from flogging was lacerated
And oft times painted with my crimson gore
And many a man from downright starvation
Lies mouldering now underneath the clay
And Captain Logan he had us mangled
All at the triangles of Moreton Bay

Like the Egyptians and ancient Hebrews
We were oppressed under Logan’s yoke
Till a native black lying there in ambush
Did deal this tyrant his mortal stroke
My fellow prisoners be exhilarated
That all such monsters such a death may find
And when from bondage we are liberated
Our former sufferings will fade from mind

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