The origins of the song are uncertain but it is very old. Like many old traditional songs, especially those that have travelled the globe, the Black Velvet Band has undergone several changes and so has several versions.
"The Black Velvet Band" is a traditional English and Irish folk song describing transportation to Van Diemen's Land, a common punishment in 19th century Britain and Ireland. Van Diemen's Land was the original name used by most Europeans for the island of Tasmania, now part of Australia.
*****REVISED February 21, 2020 - SR****
A video for this song: