DOWNLOAD THE SONGSHEET
The show was written by Henry Pottinger Stephens and William Yardley, with music composed and arranged by Wilhelm Meyer Lutz. The show's programme credits "Botany Bay" as "Old Air arr. Lutz" The song's earlier history is less clear. It's now considered an Australian folk song.
Botany Bay was the designated settlement for the first fleet when it arrived in Australia in the eighteenth century. It was a settlement intended for the transport of convicts to Australia. The song describes the period in the late 18th and 19th centuries, when British convicts were deported to the various Australian penal colonies by the British government for seven-year terms as an alternative to incarceration in Britain. They were subjected to a cruel, desperate, hard life in a strange inhospitable land. But this song shows a great spirit of optimism.