Sunday, August 05, 2012

Frank the Poet: A Convict's Tour to Hell

Hindsight ABC Radio National : Thursday 9 August 2012 1:00 pm [repeat]

August 2012 marks the 151st anniversary of the death of Francis MacNamara, better known in convict Australia as Frank the Poet. According to one of Australia's leading contemporary poets, Les Murray, MacNamara's epic work A Convict's Tour to Hell should be placed right at the beginning of English literature in Australia.

Frank’s attitude to the colonial authorities, embodied in this now famous poem, can also be gauged from the punishments he received. Lashed 590 times, he was sent to solitary confinement, to the treadmill, and worked on chain gangs. All through his incarceration, Frank continued to entertain his fellow convicts with his rebellious verse.
For the Company Underground - Trimmingham Manuscript 1839
A Petition from the Chain Gang at New Castle To Capt. Furlong - Trimingham Manuscript 1839

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