Note: Van Dieman's Land, nowadays Tasmania, was a British penal colony. In the mid to late 19th century British justice substituted it's excessively severe capital punishments for minor offenses with arguably equally excessive exile to Australia and Tasmania for such crimes as poaching to help feed one's family. "For wounding a keeper an man could be hanged; for taking a squire's pheasant or hare he could be transported to the penal stations of Van Dieman's Land, Norfolk Island, Botany Bay, Moreton Bay. In the three years alone between 1827 and 1830, more than 8,500 men and youths were convicted as poachers, and a high proportion of them shipped away in broad-arrowed felt suits, shackles on their ankles," A. A. Lloyd, Folk Song in England.
A broadside of this ballad was published in 1830.
About the session: Ballads, work songs, and diddling songs performed by Ewan MacColl in London.
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