Came all young girls both far and near and listen unto me
While unto you I do relate what proved my destiny
Me mother died when I was young which caused me to deplore
And made me find me way too soon all on me native shore
Sarah Collins is me name and dreadful is me fate
Me father reared me tenderly the truth I do relate
Til enticed by bad company along with many more
Which led to my discovery all on me native shore.
Me trial it approached fast, before the judge I stood
And when that he the sentence passed it fairly chilled me blood
You must be transported for fourteen years or more
And make haste without delay unto Van Diemen's shore.
It hurt me heart when in the coach me native town passed by
To see so many I did know it fairly made me cry
Then to the ship I went with speed along with many more
Whose aching hearts did grieve to go
all on Van Dieman's shore.
They chained us two by two and whipped and lashed us all along
They cut off our provisions if we did the least thing wrong
They march us in the burning sun until our feet are sore
So hard our lot now we have got all on Van Dieman's shore.
We labor hard from morn til night until our bones do ache
Then everyone we must obey our mouldy beds to make.
We often wish when we lie down that we might rise no more
To face our savage Governors all on Van Dieman's shore.
So come young men and maidens a warning take by me
If tongue could tell our overthrow
t'would make your hearts to bleed.
You girls I pray be ruled by me, your wicked ways give o'er
For fear you end your days like me all on Van Dieman's shore
After the loss of the American colonies, the British government
was at a loss to know what to do with its convicts. And so penal
Settlements were created in Australia. The most trivial offenses
were enough to ensure transportation there for seven years,
fourteen years, or for life. Many songs were written around this
theme. Most of them dealing with men. Here the women's voice is heard.
Recorded by Frankie Armstrong