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The Voyage

Convicts and transportation



10,000 Miles Away.

A fanciful maritime song that appears to have wide circulation, especially in its lessened version in the folk revival. This is the original from the broadside held in the Kidston Collection, Mitchell Library, Glasgow, and reprinted in Ron Edward’s ‘The Transports’. The original was not dated and had no printer indicated (other than ‘Printed for the vendors’). It appeared on the same sheet as a song ‘Brigham Young and His Five-and-Forty Wives (Brigham Young (1801-77) was a Mormon). Its rather jolly words and traditional tune would imply it was a later creation along the lines of the well-known ‘Botany Bay’.

Warren Fahey sings ‘Ten Thousand Miles Away’



P Cunningham, Two Years in New South Wales, London, 1827

Before leaving the Hulk, the convicts are thoroughly clothed in. new suits, and ironed; and it is curious to observe with what nonchalance some of these fellows will turn the jingling of their chains into music whereto they dance and sing. Two rows of sleeping-berths, one above the other, extend on each side of the between-decks of the convict-ship, each berth being six feet square, and calculated to hold four convicts, every one thus possessing eighteen inches space to sleep in — and ample space, too!

The common diet of the convicts is certainly more than is requisite to keep them in health, as they have no work to do; but it is not more than is politic to allow them; because, if you stint them on the voyage, you must keep them under greater restraint, and their healths will suffer in consequence.