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Lyr Add: The Forger's Farewell

Fergie 23 May 10 - 08:03 PM
Sandra in Sydney 24 May 10 - 01:17 AM
GUEST,John Moulden 24 May 10 - 12:46 PM
Liberty Boy 24 May 10 - 01:59 PM
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From: Fergie
Date: 23 May 10 - 08:03 PM

Hi all

Looking for descendants of William Hill celebrated in this song. More information below.

The Forger's Farewell.

Farewell lovely Erin I'm bound for to leave you,
May peace be on your daisy clad hills.
In wild foreign lands I'm bound for to praise you,
And I'll sing of your sweet winding rills.

My parents for my welfare they did their endeavour,
As parents will do for any son,
They bound me in my early days to be an engraver
But alas by that art I'm undone.

I set out the plates for forging notes and that I'll ne'er deny,
Drawn on the Bank of Scotland and that company I defy,
They traced me unto Belfast all through a hired spy,
Which parted me from my Sweet Erin the Green.

It was not for murder that I received my sentence.
I ardently loved all mankind.
Through the naked I clothed I made the acquaintance,
Of friendship sincere and sublime.

When my enemy assaileth me no dagger I drew
He was of a savage temper, with a smile I did subdue
The noble bonds of charity I held all in my view,
From my childhood with Sweet Erin the Green.

Now alas in that sweet harbour of commerce and pleasure
William Hill now he bids you farewell.
You're the sweetest in the North for talent and treasure.
And may peace and content with you dwell.

While though the cruel ocean, between us now does roll
My heart shall be as true as the needle to the pole.
A poor convict I remain, my sad spirits to condole,
Far away from you, my Sweet Erin the Green.

This song is still sung in traditional circles in Ireland. Recordings have been made by Frank Harte and Delores Keane amongst others.

The subject of this song is William Hill who was born in Belfast in 1779. Hill was by religion a protestant, and by trade he was a calico printer engraver. Sometime during his career he took to forgery and in 1825 at the age of 46 years he was tried at Antrim (probably Belfast) "for forging notes" …. "drawn on the Bank of Scotland". William was found guilty and sentenced to transportation to Australia for life.

He was transported aboard the sailing barque Regalia (master Robert Burt, surgeon James Rutherford). The Regalia embarked from Dublin on 16th March 1826 with a total of 130 aboard (all males, one of whom died during the trip) and arrived following a voyage of 142 days at Sydney NSW on 5th August. William was assigned to Port Macquarie.

There are records of him receiving: - a Ticket of Exemption from Government Labour, a Ticket of Leave and eventually on 2nd March 1846 when he was 67 years of age and had served a sentence of 20 years, he received a pardon.

I have gathered the above information from Internet sources

Can some expert or Australian genealogists fill in the gaps?

Did his wife get to join him in NSW?
Details from his Ticket of Exemption?
Details from his Ticket of Leave?
Details from his Pardon?
To what individual was he assigned?
What did he do when at Port Macquarie?
Did he stay in Australia?
Does he have descendants?
When did he die?
Is the song sung in Australia?
Any and all further information would be very welcome.


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Subject: RE: Wm. Hill, forger sent to NSW 1826
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 24 May 10 - 01:17 AM

A few sites that might be ablt to assist -
Society of Australian Genealogists

Cyndi's List - Australia & New Zealand

Oz Gen Online - Australia's Family History Server

New South Wales Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages- Family History page

I've asked a singer with a very wide repertoire & lots of songbooks if she knows whether the song is sung around here.


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Subject: RE: Wm. Hill, forger sent to NSW 1826
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 24 May 10 - 12:46 PM

I have researched this extensively and have produced a booklet which has most of the information you give above, corrects some of what you say and has many of the details you request. If you like to continue this privately - - we can collaborate.

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Subject: RE: Wm. Hill, forger sent to NSW 1826
From: Liberty Boy
Date: 24 May 10 - 01:59 PM

I was at Johns presentation when he gave it in, I think, Ballyliffen a few years ago. An excellent and well presented one. If anyone knows about this subject its John Moulden!

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