> Martyn Wyndham-Read > Songs > Botany Bay

Botany Bay

[ Roud 3267 ; AFS 10 ; Ballad Index R096 ; BotanyBay at Old Songs ; DT BOTBAY3 ; Mudcat 17695 ; Henry Pottinger Stephens, William Yardley]

Botany Bay is a burlesque, written by Henry Pottinger Stephens and William Yardley, from the comedy Little Jack Shepherd that played in London in 1885, and in Melbourne in 1886. It was first published in Sydney Golden Songster in 1893.

Peter Laycock, Brian Mooney, David Lumsden and Martyn Wyndham-Read sang Botany Bay live at Melbourne Town Hall on the 1964 album Australian Folk Night.

Kate Rusby sang Botany Bay in 1998 on her EP Cowsong. The track was also included in 2002 on her anniversary CD 10.


Botany Bay in the Digital Tradition

Farewell to old England forever,
Farewell to my rum culls as well.
Farewell to the well known Old Bailey
Where I used for to cut such a swell.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Singing, too-ral-li, oo-ral-li, addity
Singing, too-ral-li, oo-ral-li, ay,
Singing, too-ral-li, oo-ral-li, addity
And we’re bound for Botany Bay.

There’s the captain as is our commander,
There’s the bosun and all the ship’s crew.
There’s the first and the second class passengers,
Knows what we poor convicts go through.

’T ain’t leaving old England we cares about,
’T ain’t ’cause we mis-spells what we knows,
But because all we light fingered gentry
Hops around with a log on our toes.

These seven long years I’ve been serving now
And seven long more have to stay,
All for bashing a bloke down our alley
And taking his ticker away.

Oh, had I the wings of a turtle dove
I’d soar on my pinions so high,
Slap bang to the arms of my Polly love
And in her sweet presence I’d die.

Now all my young Dookies and Dutchesses
Take warning from what I’ve to say,
Mind all is your own as you toucheses
Or you’ll find us in Botany Bay.

Kate Rusby sings Botany Bay

Farewell to old England forever,
Farewell to my sweetheart as well.
Keep my child safe in your arms, love,
I need you like no words can tell.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Too-ral-li, oo-ral-li, addity
Too-ral-li, oo-ral-li, ay,
Too-ral-li, oo-ral-li, addity
Sailing to Botany Bay.

The captain that is our commander,
He sails by the stars and the sun.
If e’er well I live I’ll return again
To my darling sweet kisses I’d run.

For seven long years I’m transported,
Seven long years and a day.
Oh, I wish I were drowned on the ocean bed
For they’ve taken my true love away.

If I had the wings of a turtle dove
I’d soar on my pinions and fly,
Oh, I’d fly to the arms of my Polly love,
And in her sweet bosom I’d lie.