18 January-Francis McNamara ‘Frank the Poet’

Francis McNamara was a native of Co Tipperary, Ireland. In Australia he is known as ‘Frank the Poet’. In 1832 he was found guilty of larceny and was deported to Australia. He was about 22 years old at the time. Frank McNamara lived in Australia for the remainder of his life dying in 1861.

Francis McNamara was born in Cashel Co Tipperary in 1810. Some accounts of his life say he was born in Co Clare. From his writings it is clear that he had a good education in English literature. His writings also show that he was familiar with the various Irish poetic forms.

In 1832 McNamara was working as a miner in the Castlecomer Mines in County Kilkenny. He was arrested for breaking a shop window and stealing some cloth. Having been found guilty of larceny McNamara was sentenced to seven years transportation. He sailed from Cork with 197 other prisoners aboard the Eliza on May 10th 1832. The prisoners were disembarked in Sydney on September 15th 1832.

McNamara had his sentence extended on several occasions for absconding and various other infringements. He eventually received his freedom in 1849. McNamara became well known in Australia for such poems as ‘A Convict’s Tour of Hell’ and ‘A Dialogue between Two Hibernians in Botany Bay’ which was published in the Sydney Gazette in 1840. He died of ‘cold and inanition’ near Mudgee NSW on August 31st 1861.

The trial of Francis McNamara began in Kilkenny in the year 1832 On This Day.

Mudgee Farmers Market


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