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Francis Mcnamara

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Francis Mcnamara
Aliases: Frank The Poet
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1811
Occupation: Miner
Date of Death: 29th August, 1861
Age: 50 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 53 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Stealing
Convicted at: Ireland, Kilkenny
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Eliza
Departure date: 10th May, 1832
Arrival date: 6th September, 1832
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 31 other convicts


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Community Contributions

D Wong on 18th October, 2013 wrote:

Francis McNamara was 21 years old when transported for “Stealing plaid”.  He was single and his native place was Wicklow.

1833: Absconded from No.13 Road gang.
Francis was 5’4 3/4” tall, ruddy complexion, light brown hair, grey eyes, scar on outer corner of right eye.

1838: Worked for the A A Company as a shepherd at Peel River.

1842: Convicted of being illegally at large with fire arms (he was a bushranger).  Sent to VDL for life, commuted to 10 years, then to 7 years.

29/10/1842: Arrived VDL per Waterlily.
He was 32 years old and listed as a Labourer/Shepherd.
19/1/1847: TOL
31/9/1847: Recommended for a CP
1848: Was in Launceston.

1858: Working at the gold mines at Tambaroora, NSW. Made a lot of money and spent most of it.

29/8/1861: Died at Mudgee NSW of Hypothermia.

His Obituary:
MacNamara, Francis (1810–1861)

from Empire (Sydney)

The Mudgee Western Post says:— An inquest was held on Friday morning, by W. King, Esq, M.D., coroner for this district, at the Fountain of Friendship, on the body of Francis MacNamara, alias Hill, better known as “Frank the Poet.” Robert Welsh, having been sworn, said that the deceased had resided with him the last five months, on the Pipe Clay Creek diggings. They came into Mudgee together on Wednesday, deceased left him, and promised to meet him by a certain time at Mr. McQuiggin’s. He then went to Phillips’, and found him in bed. He asked for some water; he was half drunk. He advised deceased to get up; he replied, “Put your hand in my pocket and take out what is there.” Had known him eight years. He had a complaint which caused him to spit blood. He earned a great deal of money, and spent it very freely. Had known him to obtain “hundreds a week” at Tambaroora. The wind used to annoy him very much in the hut in which be resided. He was no better for his visit to Mudgee. The day before they had been drinking together all day off and on. John McDermid deposed: That he had been working with previous witness since the end of last month. He came into Mudgee on Thursday, to see what was keeping him and deceased. He met Welsh, who was nearly tipsy, in Phillips’ tap-room, and said “You promised not to get drunk;” he replied, how can I help it, Frank is very bad. He then went to see deceased, who made no reply to a question he put to him respecting his health. Shortly after, he called Welsh and told him to get some money owing to him in Mudgee, and to give him (witness) half, and died directly after. He used to complain of a pain in his shoulder. During the time he resided with them his appetite was good. He had no effects, excepting some papers. He never cared for clothes.—Arthur Thomas Piggott Cutting, being duly, sworn, stated that he was a duly qualified medical practitioner. He had viewed and examined the body, and it was his opinion that the deceased came to his death by the effects of cold and inanition. The jury found a verdict accordingly.

greg petersen on 16th February, 2017 wrote:

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (MUP), 2005
MacNamara, Francis (1810–1861)
by R. H. W. Reece

Francis MacNamara (c.1810-1861), convict, known as ‘Frank The Poet’, was possibly from County Clare, Ireland, although he was reported at his trial at Kilkenny in January 1832 to be ‘a real Corkonian’ in his speech. His writings show that he had a good education in English literature and was familiar with the Irish Bardic tradition and its poetic forms. MacNamara was entered in the convict records as both Protestant and Catholic and with different places of origin and occupations. Sentenced to seven years transportation for smashing a shop window and stealing a piece of cloth, he entertained the court to an extempore epigram expressing his happiness at being sent to ‘Botany Bay’. Aboard the convict transport Eliza he composed ‘a mock heroic poem’ about his trial; this did not prevent him from incurring a flogging for ‘bad conduct’.

Reaching Sydney on 6 September 1832, MacNamara was assigned to John Jones, but within three months was put in an ironed gang for an undisclosed offence. During the next eight years he received fourteen floggings (650 lashes) and served three and a half years in road gangs, thirteen days of solitary confinement and three months on the treadmill. Early in 1838 he was assigned to the Australian Agricultural Co. at Calala on the Peel River, before being moved to Stroud and in 1839 to the company’s coalmines at Newcastle. Apparently refusing to work underground, he was transferred to an ironed gang at Woolloomooloo and from there to Parramatta, then to Berrima to work on road making. For escaping and carrying arms stolen from their guards, he and four others were sentenced to ten years, subsequently reduced to seven years, transportation to Van Diemen’s Land in July 1842.

Apart from being punished for leading a successful go-slow protest, MacNamara did not get into trouble at Port Arthur. He received his ticket-of-leave in January 1847, his conditional pardon late that year and his full pardon in July 1849. Moving to Melbourne, he subsequently vanished from the record apart from an appearance in 1861 at the Mudgee goldfields in New South Wales where he made a genealogy for a local innkeeper and an illuminated copy of Burns’s ‘Man Was Made To Mourn’. An 1868 description by Marcus Clarke of an Irish poet in one of the ‘low’ Melbourne pubs sounds very like MacNamara, but there is no record of what became of him.

There is dispute over how many of the verses that circulated orally and were written down by other people late in the nineteenth century were composed by ‘Frank the Poet’. Incontestably, he wrote his magnum opus, ‘The Convict’s Tour to Hell’, while working as a shepherd at Stroud in October 1839, and subsequently at Newcastle composed three petitions to the authorities, in verse. Other works which can be more or less confidently attributed to him were: ‘Dialogue Between Two Hibernians in Botany Bay’, ‘Labouring with the Hoe’, ‘The Seizure of the Cypress Brig’, ‘The Ballad of Martin Cash’, the celebrated ‘The Convict’s Lament’ (also known as ‘Moreton Bay’) and some epigrams. While possessing an extensive knowledge of classical literary allusions, he was also an extempore versifier. His poems and songs had instant appeal to the convict population for their spirited opposition to the ‘System’ and were enthusiastically rendered around the evening campfire wherever convicts gathered.

Mark Gregory on 6th April, 2017 wrote:

Our most famous convict poet



Heather Stevens on 19th March, 2021 wrote:

A detailed biography is in Wikitree https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=MacNamara-238&public=1

Convict Changes History

D Wong on 18th October, 2013 made the following changes:

convicted at, term 7 years, voyage, source, firstname, surname, alias1, alias2, alias3, alias4, date of birth 1810, date of death 29th August, 1861, gender, occupation, crime

greg petersen on 16th February, 2017 made the following changes:

source: http://members.pcug.org.au/~ppmay/convicts.htm http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/macnamara-francis-13073 (prev. http://members.pcug.org.au/~ppmay/convicts.htm)

Mark Gregory on 6th April, 2017 made the following changes:

alias1: Frank The Poet, date of birth: 1811 (prev. 1810)

This record was discovered and printed on ConvictRecords.com.au