THE POETRY OF 'BREAKER' MORANT book cover   The Poetry of 'Breaker' Morant
Foreword by David McNicoll
Harry 'Breaker' Morant

First Paragraph from the Foreword:

"Could I be shown the spot where The Breaker was executed?" I asked.

Charles More, the South African Government's expert on the Boer War, shook his head.

"The barracks and jail have been torn down, and housing covers it," he said, "but I can show you Morant's grave."

We drove out to the Pretoria cemetery. Shady trees, well-tended lawns, graves surrounded by flowers. At the end of a long row of old graves, More pointed.

There was this narrow grave, enclosed with a low stone edging. At its head was a white stone cross, and below was written: "To the memory of P. Handcock and Henry H. Morant. February 27, I902. 'He that loseth his life shall find it"'

"They are both there," Charles More said. "We believe the coffins were laid one on top of the other. That is the reason for the narrow grave."

It was very still in the cemetery that morning. As I looked at the grave I tried to visualize the happenings of I902-the mismanaged, ghastly Boer War still dragging on and, superimposed over one section of it, the trial and conviction of a group of Australian volunteers and the execution by firing squad of a man who had become a rouseabout legend in Australia-Harry Morant, known to readers of The Bulletin as "The Breaker".

Since 1902 the story of Morant has been written scores of times. Writers, almost as if by prearrangement, have reached different conclusions about Morant. The differences have, on occasion, erupted into fairly angry letters, claims and counter-claims.


A Night Thought
A Song
A Summer Midnight
Love Outlasteth All
Paddy Magee
Brigalow Mick
The Nights at Rocky Bar
When The Light Is As Darkness
The Reprobate's Reply
Sir Walter
The Wooing o' 't
Since The Country Carried Sheep
"The Day That Is Dead"
Behind The Bar - A Desecration of Tennyson
While Yet We May
His Masterpiece
Westward Ho!
To A Silent Girl
Pat Magee
The Good Things Which Remain
Beyond His jurisdiction
Brown Sugar
Lost Light
Much A Little While
Rule Nisi
West By North, Again
In Such A Night
The Admiral!
At The Crossing Of Warrigal Creek
A "Striking" Girl
Last Night!
The Austral "Light!"
The Prodigal's Reply
Daffodil And Violet
Who's Riding Old Harlequin Now?
Two Gossips
A Stage-Aside
The Devoutly Thankful Lover
At The Church Concert
Parlez Doucementi
Not "a Veteran"
Goody Two-Shoes
Corn Medicine
Kitty's Broom
Where Willow-Trees Fringe a Fairyland
A Departing Dirge
At The River Crossing
An Enthusiastic Sportsman Enthuses
Too Much Light
At Last
Some Other Somebody
Short Shrift
A-Shelling Peas
When Stock Go By
Butchered To Make a Dutchman's Holiday

From the Golden Press hardback edition, 1980.

This page and its contents are copyright © 2002-05 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: November 30, 2005.