From the album Frontier
I was born in Port Macquarie, a very early penal colony in New South Wales. As a child at Eastport Primary School, I spotted something in the dirt, dug it up and found myself holding an old soldier's brass button.
So began my fascination with Australian history.
Government Man tells the story of the Port Macquarie convicts. They referred to themselves as 'Government Men', were flogged every Sunday before church by 'Lanky Lloyd' and through their labour helped open up the colony to free trade through the construction of roads, buildings and shipping ports.
Copyright 2016 Craig Stewart
Tip it in to him Lloyd,
Or you'll be next my boy,
And the whistle of the cat cuts the air.
My back's a bloody gore,
But I've still got twenty more,
'Til they cut me down to send me back out there.
Out on the roads,
With the killers, thieves and rogues,
Day and night ankles wrapped in chains,
Waiting for the day,
That a ticket comes my way,
And I can try and wash the iron from my veins,
Wooooah, I am a Government Man,
Transported seven years,
Wooooah, a Government Man,
Been chained up to the land,
A Government Man.
I was sent from my homeland,
To the colony of the damned,
On the word of a man that told a lie.
Shipped to Port Macquarie,
Where they tell me I'll be sorry,
As they try to take my body and my mind.
Hey mister preacher on the hill,
Don't you try and tell us still,
That a wretched soul will be saved.
For they flog us every Sunday,
And I know the day will come they,
Carry me to my grave.