Frank The Poet. (Francis MacNamara)
Francis MacNamara's story is remarkable in terms of the treatment he received at the hands of authorities. The treatment in itself is perhaps not remarkable as many men suffered the same, however what is remarkable was his determination to resist and oppose the abusive actions of the authorities. There is no doubt that he is a convict hero and a fighter against all tyranny.
The Silent Moon story follows closely what most historians agree as his early life and his experiences as a convict. However the research for the story took a vastly different path than what most historians once believed, once Frank is freed from his servitude. It is true that in this history Frank gets to live the life he wrote about in his poems and he attempts to execute his promise to authorities to repay them for what they had done to him and fellow convicts. This was not the set intention of the author but was a result simply of where the research led.
The conventionally accepted version of his death at Mudgee is challenged here and readers should be able to match this evidence with that which appears on the passenger list page to conclude that Frank the Poet was in fact on board The Madagascar when she set sail in 1853.
This page and in fact all the pages on this website should not be interpretted as being critical of other Historians work. Historians can only present their hypothesis' and findings based on what evidence they have before them. In time most histories get rewritten as new evidence and research forces a reconsideration of people and events.
MacNamara, Francis (1810–1861)
from Empire (Sydney)
The Mudgee Western Post says:— An inquest was held on Friday morning, by W. King, Esq, M.D., coroner for this district, at the Fountain of Friendship, on the body of Francis MacNamara, alias Hill, better known as "Frank the Poet." Robert Welsh, having been sworn, said that the deceased had resided with him the last five months, on the Pipe Clay Creek diggings. They came into Mudgee together on Wednesday, deceased left him, and promised to meet him by a certain time at Mr. McQuiggin's. He then went to Phillips', and found him in bed. He asked for some water; he was half drunk. He advised deceased to get up; he replied, "Put your hand in my pocket and take out what is there." Had known him eight years. He had a complaint which caused him to spit blood. He earned a great deal of money, and spent it very freely. Had known him to obtain "hundreds a week" at Tambaroora. Original publication
Empire (Sydney), 4 September 1861, p 3 (view original)
Other Obituaries for Francis MacNamara
Bathurst Free Press (NSW), 18 June 1862, p 2
is arrested along with other bushrangers, Sydney Gazette, 2 June 1842, p 3
is working at the gold mines at Tambaroora, NSW, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 September 1853, p 5
Related Entries in NCB Sites
'MacNamara, Francis (1810–1861)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 12
The Current Popular View.
The Actual Death Certificate.
NSW Birth Deaths and Marriages.
3796/1861 HILL FRANCIS AGE 54 YEARS DIED MUDGEE.
There does not exist a death certificate for Francis MacNamara. It is very clear that Francis Hill had represented himself as Frank The Poet for sometime. In fact Francis Hill's history shows that he may well have know Francis MacNamara when he was a convict, this would have made him familiar with everything about Frank The Poet.
Authorities would have been well pleased to see the death of Frank the Poet. Sadly the official inquest documents are missing from the archives and so we cannot verify the newspaper versions.
All the reported appearances in country NSW's after 1853 are of at least Francis Hill claiming or having people claim that he is Frank the Poet. Francis Hill is an imposter.
• Title:Francis Hill, one of 290 convicts transported on the Exmouth, 03 March 1831.
• Details: Sentence details: Convicted at York East Riding Quarter Session for a term of 7 years on 18 October 1830
Date of Departure: 03 March 1831.
Place of Arrival: New South Wales.
Source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 36
• Author/Creator:Great Britain. Home Office. ; State Library of Queensland.
• Subjects:Hill, Francis ; Exmouth (Ship) ; Convicts -- Australia -- Registers ; Australia -- Genealogy
• Publisher: Canberra A.C.T. : Australian Joint Copying Project
• Is Part Of: Criminal : Convict transportation registers [HO 11]
• Record number: 1099904
• Link to this record: http://onesearch.slq.qld.gov.au/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=SLQ&docId=slq_voyager1099904
Francis Hill arrived in Sydney as a convict one year after Francis MacNamara. Given the notoriety of Frank the Poet and his adventures there is little doubt that Frank Hill would have been familiar with Frank the Poet. This would make him a good imposter.