The Race of Jindoobarrie by Archibald Meston

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[Bribie Island was inhabited by a powerful tribe called "Jindoobarrie," a graceful, athletic, and warlike raw. In 1840 they were numbered at 600 to 1000; and to-day there is not a soul left on the island.]

Through vistas dim of vanished years,
With unrecorded sighs and tears,
Thy voice the mournful listener hears, ---
   Dark Jindoobarrie!   

A faint sad voice from days of yore,
An echo from the lonely shore
Where stalk thy stately forms no more,
   Caroomba Jindoobarrie!   

The days when you were wild and free,
And slept beneath the Doorah tree
On sand dunes by the sounding sea,
   Bandarra Jindoobarrie!   

And now! Oh Fate's remorseless doom,
Lone Beerwah rises through the gloom,
And calls in vain above thy tomb,
   "Inta wanya, Jindoobarrie?"

Round where the Cape in ocean dips,
Sailed Flinders in his white-winged ships,
The Heralds of your death eclipse,
   Oh Jindoobarrie!   

And what the deeds, and whose the blame,
When pale-faced "Carooinggi" came
With club of steel and spear of flame?
   Yalba! Jindoobarrie!     

But vengeance came in after years,
Each murdered stranger's ghost appears
Transfixed by dim and shadowy spears, ---
   Warrang Jindoobarrie!   

What reck they now, those deeds of yore?
No more the stranger's blood, no more
Thine own shall stain thy native shore,
   Wild Jindoobarrie!   

Silent the songs when hearts were light,
Gone are the dance, the hunt, the fight,
In darkness of eternal night.
   Lost Jindoobarrie!   

In vain the voice of Beerwah calls
From terraced cliffs and waterfalls,
Hark! Echo from the caverned walls, ---
   "Wanya Jindoobarrie?"

Lost in the dark Cimmerian gloom,
And on thy lonely unknown tomb
Stern Fate records the words of doom, ---
   "Dead is the race of Jindoobarrie!"

First published in The Queenslander, 26 September 1891

Caroomba --- great, mighty.
Doorah tree --- camping tree.
Bandarra --- strong.
Inta wanya --- where are you?
Carooinggi --- strangers.
Yalba -- speak!
Warrang --- bad, fierce.
Wanya --- where?

Author: Archibald Meston (1852-1924) was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and arrived in Australia in 1859. He lived near the Clarence River in New South Wales during his chldhood but spent the bulk of his adult years in Queensland.  He was a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly for 4 years and edited a number of Queensland newspapers before being appointed director of the Queensland Tourist Board in Sydney in 1910.  Throughout his life he wrote as a free-lance journalist, poet and short-story writer.  He died in Brisbane in 1924.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 26, 2011 7:10 AM.

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