© Copyright George Papavgeris, January 2002
The dilemma of a “First Fleeter” who has completed his transportation
sentence in early 19th century Australia: To return, or stay?
Seventy months in transportation
Another two and I'll be free.
Should I come home to dear old England,
Should you instead come home to me?
For when the night lights up above me
I look for home inside my heart
But there's no Northern Star to guide me
The Southern Cross now lights my path.
Taking a loaf of bread was my crime
And was it worth all these six years?
Together with the pimps and murderers
I had more lashes than shed tears.
The soil is hard, the wood is harder
I break an axe each month it seems
Yet when at night I put my head down
The Southern Cross would light my dreams.
One hundred acres up by Rose Hill
Are mine if I should choose to stay;
Ten sacks of grain, two sacks of flour
I'll dig and sow and pray for rain.
If I go back what is there for me
Except more hunger, pain and fear?
I have a chance to build a future
The Southern Cross will keep me here.
I came on board the "Alexander"
And now she's going back for more.
The Reverend helped me write this letter,
Whether I'll send it I'm not sure.
For if I do and you refuse me,
With such a truth how could I cope?
Perhaps I should just keep my memories
The Southern Cross is now my hope.
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