Francis MacNamara was born in 1811 in Cashel, he claimed, in the County Tipperary, Ireland. He was transported to Botany Bay in 1832, then to Van Diemen's Land arriving 29 October 1842, by which time he was widely known as Frank the Poet.

Archives Office of Tasmania

Conditional Pardon for Francis MacNamara September 25, 1847.
The definitive collection and study of the man and his works remains Frank the Poet published in 1979 by Hugh Anderson and written by John Meredith and Rex Whalan, the result of many years of research.

From the Foreword
'Frank' was indeed an Irish convict, though probably a Protestant, not a Catholic; and he personally underwent many of the experiences, including repeated floggings, which are reflected in his verses.
As time goes on interest in Australia's beginnings, and in contemporary views of them, can only increase. Frank's life and verse will be of even more concern to Australians a hundred or a thousand years hence, than they are now. The authors of this book have earned the gratitude of posterity.
RUSSEL WARD.
University of New England.

The Life and Works of Francis MacNamara Red Rooster Press 1979
His songs and poems are alive today while his life and work has been written about, discussed and referred to by poets, playwrights, folklorists, historians, singers and scholars including:

Hugh Anderson, Philip Butterss, James Boyce, Bob Brissenden, Jeff Brownrigg, Colleen Burke, Rowan Cahill, Julian Croft, Joe Culley, John Dengate, Warren Fahey, Eric Fry, Robert Gray, Fran de Groen, Miguel Heatwole, Bob Hodge, A.D. Hope, Geoffrey Inglis, Terry Irving, James Jupp, Denis Kevans, John Kinsella, Geoffrey Lehmann, David Levell, Peter Mara, Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Keith McKenry, Perry Middlemiss, Vijay Mishra, Gino Moliterno, Tony Moore, David Moss, Les Murray, Phillip Neilsen, Maria Northcote, Deborah Oxley, Geoff Page, Peter Pierce, Marjory Pizer, Kenneth Porter, Bob Reece, Michael Roe, Graham Seal, Veronica Sen, June Senyard, James Tucker, Margaret Walters, Bill Wannan, Russel Ward, Vincent Wood, Elizabeth Webby, David Young ... and undoubtedly many more.

Mudgee Hotel c1900

2011 was both the bicentenary of his birth and the 150th anniversary of his death. While only one of his poems was published in his lifetime, a dozen more were remembered and collected in oral tradition up to 100 years after his death.

See Frank the Poet Commemorative events on this website.