Queensland to New South Wales. 26th January, 1888: A Centennial Greeting by Mary Hannay Foott

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Joy be with thee, Elder Sister, on thy proud Centennial Day ---
All thy stalwart sons about thee, and thy daughters, dear as they,
And the sheaves of thy Thanksgiving gladdening with their golden glow
Lands that lay a glebe unbroken but a hundred years ago!

Thou hast crowned thyself with cities --- and no stone is set on Wrong;
Freemen tend thy flocks at pasture, freemen dwell thy hills among.
Never Ural, never Andes, held such wealth as is thine own --
By no sweat of serfdom tainted, purchased by no bondman's groan.

Nor for gain alone thy striving, nor to sit in place of pride;
Whilst thy roof-tree still was lowly, thou didst lodge, in chambers wide,
Learning, Charity, Religion--of thy bard-won store bestowed.
In each steep by thee surmounted thou host hewn for them a road.

On the heights of wave-washed Sydney stand her stately College towers;
Far and wide full many a Hospice waits to soothe Misfortune's hours;   
From the Altar-fires thou kindledst there be brands already borne
To illume the Earth's dark places and to comfort the forlorn.

Joy be with thee, O Our Sister! --- we thy Kin are glad with thee
For the greatness of thy Present --- for the glory that shall be
When the Noblest of the Nations --- She we all alike hold dear ---
Calls thee not alone her Daughter, but for evermore her Peer.

First published in The Queenslander, 21 January 1888

Author: Mary Hannay Foott (1846-1918) was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1846 and emigrated to Melbourne with her family in 1853.  She trained as a teacher and taught in various schools in Victoria and New South Wales before marrying Thomas Wade Foott in 1874 in Bourke, NSW.  She later moved to Queensland where she became editor of the women's page in The Queenslander.  She died in Bundaberg, Queensland, in 1918.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Old Qld Poetry

See also.

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