Botany Bay - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

Botany Bay was written for for a musical burlesque called 'Little Jack Sheppard', dating from 1885, with music probably adapted from a folk song.  Botany Bay itself was an Australian penal colony to which convicted British criminals were transported to serve out their time.  The song has a few simple chords, is easy to play, and can provoke a singalong if you're not careful.  It has been recorded by Burl Ives.

Chords

Verse

C                         G7               C
Farewell to old England forever,

                          
F                   G7
Farewell to my rum culls as well,


        
F                                            C             Am
Farewell to the well-known Old Bailey,

           
C                     G7             C           G7
Where I used for to cut such a swell;         singing



Chorus

C                 G7            C

Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,

                                  F               G7
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, ai,

               F                                 C           Am
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,

           C                G7         C
We're bound for Botany Bay.

Lyrics

Farewell to old England forever,
Farewell to my rum culls as well,
Farewell to the well-known Old Bailey,
Where I used for to cut such a swell;

Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, ai,
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,
We're bound for Botany Bay.

There's the captain as is our commander,
There's the bosun and all the ship's crew,
There's the first and the second class passengers,
Knows what we poor convicts go through,

Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, ai,
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,
We're bound for Botany Bay.

'T'aint leaving old England we cares about,
'T'aint cos we mis-spells what we knows,
But because all we light fingered gentry,
Hops around with a log on our toes;

Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, ai,
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,
We're bound for Botany Bay.

These seven long years I've been serving now,
And seven long more have to stay,
All for bashing a bloke down our alley,
And taking his ticker away;

Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, ai,
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,
We're bound for Botany Bay.

Oh had I the wings of a turtle dove,
I'd soar on my pinions so high,
Slap bang to the arms of my Polly love,
And in her sweet presence I'd die;

Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, ai,
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,
We're bound for Botany Bay.

Now all you young Dookies and Dutchesses,
Take warning from what I've to say,
Mind all is your own as you toucheses
Or you'll find us in Botany Bay;

Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, ai,
Singing Too-ra-lie, oo-ra-lie, addity,
We're bound for Botany Bay.

Other Australian Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs