Category Archives: Quote

The rose of England never bud till I gain my liberty

May the rose of England never bud. The thistle of Scotland never grow. The harp of Ireland never play. Till I poor convict gain my liberty.

This is one of the more original verses found on the convict love tokens held by the National Museum of Australia. The verse is from this convict love token dated 1837, engraved for an unknown convict sentenced for seven years.

Have you heard this verse before? Do you think the token was left with a loved one or was for the convict alone? 

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Scotch thistle

This posting has been produced using content from the National Museum of Australia’s Convict love tokens interactive.

When this, you see remember me

When this, you see remember me, and, bare, me in, your mind let, all, the, world say, what they, will speak of me, as, you find
— Anonymous

This is one of the sayings that appear on convict love tokens . You can see it on this token. I was a bit unsure if these sayings should be attributed to the convict (where known), but anonymous seems more fitting as I assume the origin of these words is unknown.

What we do know, though, is that these words were meaningful for the individual convict who had them engraved on a token for their loved ones. In history the voices of the disadvantaged can be hard to hear. Convict love tokens are one of those rare historical sources where the dominant voices are not the winners but the losers. This makes them very special.

Do you agree?

This posting has been produced using content from the National Museum of Australia’s Convict love tokens interactive.

Revision, the lifeblood of historical scholarship

Revision is the lifeblood of historical scholarship. History is a continuing dialogue between the present and the past. Interpretations of the past are subject to change in response to new evidence, new questions asked of the evidence, new perspectives gained by the passage of time. There is no single, eternal, and immutable “truth” about past events and their meaning. The unending quest of historians for understanding the past—that is, “revisionism”—is what makes history vital and meaningful.
— James McPherson

White man, white law, white gun

In 1982, ten years before Paul Keating’s Redfern speech, the song Solid Rock by Goanna became a hit, reaching number two on the Australian singles charts. Young Australians, for the first time, were asked to imagine the injustice of European settlement on Indigenous Australians.

Well they were standin’ on the shore one day
Saw the white sails in the sun
Wasn’t long before they felt the sting
White man, white law, white gun
Don’t tell me that it’s justified
Cause somewhere someone lied
Yeah, well someone lied
Someone lied
Well someone lied oh
— Shane Howard