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The Black Velvet Band

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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Black Velvet Band
    Posted: 18-Sep-2011 at 19:44

This folk song tells the story of an apprentice-boy from either Manchester, Belfast or Dublin transported to Van Diemen's Land for theft. The girl responsible, identified by the velvet band in her hair, gave him a stolen watch and betrayed him to the authorities. Was this girl merely an opportunistic pickpocket/prostitute, or was she part of an organised gang? Thief-takers like John Wild controlled the criminal underworld and deliberately entrapped innocent people so they could claim a monetary-reward.

Edited by Nick1986 - 18-Sep-2011 at 20:20
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2011 at 15:30
Lyrics are here:
Well, in a neat little town they call Belfast, apprentice to trade I was bound
Many an hours sweet happiness, have I spent in that neat little town
A sad misfortune came over me, which caused me to stray from the land
Far away from my friends and relations, betrayed by the black velvet band

Her eyes they shone like diamonds
I thought her the queen of the land
And her hair it hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band

I took a stroll down Broadway, meaning not long for to stay
When who should I meet but this pretty fair maid comes a tripping along the highway
She was both fair and handsome, her neck it was just like a swans
And her hair it hung over her shoulder, tied up with a black velvet band

Her eyes they shone like diamonds
I thought her the queen of the land
And her hair it hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band

I took a stroll with this pretty fair maid, and a gentleman passing us by
Well I knew she meant the doing of him, by the look in her roguish black eye
A goldwatch she took from his pocket and placed it right in to my hand
And the very first thing that I said was bad luck to the black velvet band

Her eyes they shone like diamonds
I thought her the queen of the land
And her hair it hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band

Before the judge and the jury, next morning I had to appear
The judge he says to me: "Young man, your case it is proven clear
We'll give you seven years penal servitude, to be spent faraway from the land
Far away from your friends and companions, betrayed by the black velvet band"

Her eyes they shone like diamonds
I thought her the queen of the land
And her hair it hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band

So come all you jolly young fellows a warning take by me
When you are out on the town me lads, beware of them pretty colleens
For they feed you with strong drink, "Oh yeah", 'til you are unable to stand
And the very next thing that you'll know is you've landed in Van Diemens Land

Her eyes they shone like diamonds
I thought her the queen of the land
And her hair it hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2011 at 19:10
Which town did the apprentice originally come from? Different variants have his birthplace as London, Brockton, Belfast, Dublin, Halstead, Barking and Hampshire
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Sep-2011 at 19:46
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2011 at 20:02

Fields of Athenry tells the story of Michael, transported for stealing food during the Potato Famine. Who can tell me more about the prison hulks convicts were held in until they could be transported?
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Oct-2011 at 20:17

Prison hulks were obsolete warships used as holding pens until criminals could be transported. Conditions inside were terrible: many died from disease and overcrowding long before the journey. Above is a picture of Captain Cook's old ship Discovery, beached at Deptford until it was scrapped in 1834
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Nov-2011 at 19:35

Cross section of one of these floating hell-holes. Prisoners were crammed together in tiny cells, deprived of food and regularly beaten by the guards
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Nov-2011 at 19:05

Photos of life aboard the last prison ship, HMS Success. It was preserved as a museum ship in 1890, but caught fire and sank in 1946
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Nov-2011 at 19:08

I'd like to thank the person who uploaded these original photos onto the web. They provide unique insight into Australia's convict age
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Nov-2011 at 19:19

All the prison hulks are now long-gone, except for one: the Edwin Foxe. It lies half-restored in a New Zealand drydock. Its owners ran out of funds, so they sprayed the empty shell with preservatives and opened a museum next door. Amazingly, the Edwin Foxe can still float, thanks to the coating of tar that protected it from rot after its conversion to a convict ship
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Nov-2011 at 19:09

To prevent disease convicts had their heads shaved and were given regular baths in freezing salt water all year round. This prisoner is being scrubbed with a yard brush
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Nov-2011 at 00:50
Very rude pre ancestor of automotive car washing machine!British Empire have not wasted material and time:Old colonist's ships were used as prisons.Had they anchored on open sea,convicts would not be run away?
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Nov-2011 at 19:41
Most criminals (being from the big industrialised cities) couldn't swim. If a prisoner jumped overboard he'd probably drown
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Dec-2011 at 19:07

The cells of the convict ships were so small it was very difficult to lie down. Plus you'd be sharing this cramped space with other prisoners
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Dec-2011 at 19:13
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Mar-2012 at 18:30
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2012 at 19:49
Useful database of 19th century convict ships:
http://mc2.vicnet.net.au/home/grthom/web/adm101-ac.html
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Mar-2012 at 19:07
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2012 at 18:34
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 19:19
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