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England by Myra Morris

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England is mine, and I am England's own!  
All that is best within me lives for her alone. 
That which is base and vile I spurn from me 
Lest she with her unsleeping eyes should see,
And me condemn. She bore me in her womb
Where wild winds blew; and through the storm-lashed gloom  
      Came ocean's boom.
And I was wove a living thread here strung
      In the vast loom.
She was my mother mighty-voiced. I hung  
Upon her breasts and greedy-mouthed did drink   
Her noble sustenance. And on the brink
Of secret things I stood, when sweet and high 
Her slumber songs lulled me to sleep, and I
Heard through their mounting cadence, wild and free,
The low andante beating of a sea.

England is mine, and I am England's own!    
I am a singing harp, and hers the hand alone
That plays the strings. Without, I am a thing, 
Dead, dumb, inanimate. So shall I sing!   
Here at the door-way of her room I keep
A ceaseless watch, untouched by straying sleep --
      Dream shadowed, deep.
A living flame of fire from out its sheath
      My sword shall leap,
If I should hear her proud soul moan beneath
A weight of woe. My voice shall beat the stars
And thund'ring shake the might of Heaven's bars 
Till earth's dark caverns echo with the cry: -- 
"Here, mother, mighty-souled, O England, I     
Am here to serve! Born of the wind and sea 
I give thee back the life thou gav'st to me!"  

First published in The Argus, 12 May 1917;
and later in
England and Other Verses by Myra Morris, 1918.

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Disloyal by Mabel Forrest

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["We have no time for men who spit on their country's flag." -- "Sunday Times,"  April 18, 1909.] 

Her brown hair trails in the ridges, while her blue eyes laugh in the bays;   
Her sinews are girded bridges, and her veins are the river ways.   
Her arms fold the golden hours, and her breast is the green-grassed plain     
That breaks into laughing flowers from the kiss of the Autumn rain. 
Her robe is the mist of morning, and her girdle the wealth of mines, 
And sweet for her sole adorning the star-snow of clematis twines;   
She has rocked you on her ocean, she has cradled you on her heart;   
Did she dream of unchanged devotion, of the pride of your manhood's part?   
The breast that has nursed your childhood, and the wings that were bent above,             
In dusk of the tangled wildwood, with the warmth of a mother's love, 
You have spurned in idle folly, you have seared with treacherous flame --     
From Palm-world to Land of Holly, there is flashed forth your deed of shame!   
Go! Slink to your hiding places, where the Cowards and Ingrates breed;     
We ask for no shame-dark faces in the hour of our Country's need.   

First published in The Sunday Times, 9 May 1909  

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Native-Born by Kathleen Dalziel

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St. Kilda Junction -- where the trams
Thrash up and down all day,
While peak-hour traffic checks and dams,
Breaks loose, and slides away --
Converges on a verdant square
With one old eucalyptus, there
Tossing the topmost spray.

If the old eucalypt could but tell
The story of his past,
Like music murmuring through a shell
By many waters cast
On timeless shores, the tale would run
Decades and chapters, one by one,
From the first page to the last.

The wind would weave it into songs,
The leaves would lift and gleam
Interpreting the many tongues
Of that tremendous theme
Begun in his Arcadian youth,
All leaping sap and eager growth,
And ending in a dream.

The calendars and almanacks
Reversed, would we not find
St. Kilda-road just wallaby tracks,
Push-pads that weave and wind,
Eagle-hawks circling in the blue
That now the mail-plane thunders through,
Much else, gone out of mind?

Flashing of rainbow parakeets
Morning and afternoon,
Brolgas and swans where sungold sheets
The opalite lagoon;
Bunch-feathered emus, ones and two,
The flop of feeding kangaroos,
Mopokes beneath the moon.

Clippers would curtsy down the bay,
The primitive slopes would know
The horseman and the bullock-dray,
Harrow and axe and plough.
We would watch the white invaders come --
Adventurers all, day dreamers some --
And see the doomed tribes go ...

So much of history has slipped
Away since he was young
And all the world was eucalypt,
Banksia and brush and hung
With banners faded long ago.
How much the native-born must know
For all he holds his tongue.

First published in The Bulletin, 2 April 1952

Author reference site: Austlit

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The Voice of Australia by Zora Cross

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I am a gipsy woman wild,
With the teasing eyes of a little child;
A roving, wandering lass am I,
With never afar as the days go by.
My caravan is the wide, fresh air;
My steed, the sun with his yellow hair.
Will you ride awhile, and glide awhile,
At the spell of my gipsy smile?

I am a hag-thing, old and grey,
With a dying babe at my breast of clay;
A hungry soul on the night afloat,
And the long sobs thick in my thirsty throat.
My home's the plain, the low, brown plain;
My food the dust, all dry with pain.
Will you bear with me, and care for me,
In the hour of my misery?

I am the terrible life in death.
Beware, beware of my scarlet breath!
A spectre, talking the world unseen,
In a black, black robe 'neath a mantle green!
My heart's the fire, the blood-red fire;
My soul, the dream of its lost desire.
Will you brave an hour, and slave an hour
'Gainst the wrath of my fatal power?

I am a siren, singing joy
In the ocean depths to a mad "ahoy!"
A wooing witch in the heart if the sea,
With a tang of mirth in my melody.
My ship's the sea -- the open sea;
My sails, the winds that gather free.
Will you trip a day, and slip a day,
To the song of my laughing spray?

Sing ho! for the gipsy, ho! for the sea,
And a long, long sigh for misery!
Who cares for the flame, and the bag of death,
When my world is a bubble of morning breath?

First published in The Lone Hand, 26 January 1920

Mateship - Australia's Creed by C.J. Dennis

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In a speech denouncing the seaman's strike, which threatens to throw thousands out of employment, the Prime Minister said, "One of the first principles of mateship is to stand behind a sick man and assist him, and the first principle of Unionism is the principle of mateship."

Oh, a mate was a mate in the olden days
   When mateship was a creed,
And a good man sought unselfish ways
   To serve a brother's need.
Out on the track, thro'out the land
   True mates stood ever by,
With a cheery word and a helping hand,
   That mateship should not die.

But now, where mean self-seeking looms,
   And newer councils hold,
By tricks and schemes in council rooms
   Men's faith is bought and sold.
A hundred by false catchwords swayed
   Shall prate of brotherhood,
Yet see ten thousand mates betrayed
   And deem the treason good.

For mateship grows a bitter thing
   That has its roots in hate,
Where bitter foreign phrases ring
   To sunder mate form mate.
Foul doctrines hatched in foreign schools,
   Preached in Australia's name
By one knave to a thousand fools,
   Have brought our creed to shame.

First published in The Herald, 24 October 1931 

"After All--" by C.J. Dennis

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"No nation in the world is readier than the Australian nation to respond to an appeal to its patriotism." -- The London "Times," commenting on the Australian Loan Conversion plan.

We have grinned 'neath the weight of 
   And groaned 'neath the strictures and blame, 
But when critics have done criticising 
   They own we like playing the game. 
We are prone to extravagant follies, 
   But, just on the edge of a fall, 
We are apt to awake to the danger, 
   And country comes first, after all. 

We are reckless, mayhap, in our living, 
   And slow to awaken to fear; 
But when we do wake and seek action 
   These praises are pleasant, to hear. 
She has watched more in sorrow than anger 
   Our waywardness ride for a fall; 
But old Motherland now recognises 
   We're not such bad boys, after all. 

We are young, we are robust, and ardent, 
   And optimists right to the end; 
Dull caution was never our watchword, 
   Timidity never our friend. 
But with the hard facts set before us, 
   We've sound common sense at our call; 
And, if wisdom be deemed patriotic, 
   We merit the praise, after all.

First published in The Herald, 8 August 1931;
and later in
The Advertiser and Register, 13 August 1931;
The Chronicle, 20 August 1931; and
The Border Watch, 3 November 1931.

The March by C.J. Dennis

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In early, prehistoric days, before the reign of Man,
When neolithic Nature fashioned things upon a plan
That was large as it was rugged, and, in truth, a trifle crude,
There arose a dusky human who was positively rude. 

Now, this was in the days when lived the monster kangaroo;
When the mammoth bunyip gambolled in the hills of Beetaloo;
They'd owned the land for centuries, and reckoned it their own;
For might was right, and such a thing as "law" was quite unknown.

But this dusky old reformer in the ages long ago,
One morning in the Eocene discovered how to "throw";
He studied well and practised hard until he learned the art;
Then, having planned his Great Campaign, went forth to make a start.

"See here," he said -- and hurled a piece of tertiary rock,
That struck a Tory bunyip with a most unpleasant shock --
"See here, my name is Progress, and your methods are too slow,
This land that you are fooling with must be cut up.  Now go!"

They gazed at him in wonder, then they slowly backed away;
For "throwing" things was novel in that neolithic day;
'Twas the prehistoric "argument," the first faint gleam of "art."
Yet those mammoths seemed to take it in exceedingly bad part.  

Then a hoary, agéd bunyip rose, and spluttered loud and long;
He said the black man's arguments were very, very wrong;
"You forget," he said, indignantly "the land is ours by right,
And to seek to wrest it from us would be - well, most impolite."

But the savage shook his woolly head and smiled a savage smile,
And went on hurling prehistoric missiles all the while,
Till the bunyip and the others couldn't bear the argument,
And they said, "You are a Socialist." But, all the same - they went.

Some centuries -- or, maybe, it was aeons -- later on,
When the bunyip and the mammoth kangaroo had passed and gone;
While the black man slowly profited by what his fathers saw,
While he learned to fashion weapons and establish tribal law.

There came a band of pale-faced men in ships, from oversea,
Who viewed the land, then shook their heads and sadly said, "Dear me!"
Then they landed with some rum and Bibles and a gun or two,
And started out to "civilize," as whites are apt to do.

They interviewed the black man and remarked, "It's very sad,
But the use you make of this great land is positively bad;
Why, you haven't got a sheep or cow about the blessed place!
Considering the price of wool, it's simply a disgrace!"

Then they started with the Bibles and the rum -- also the guns;
And some began to look for gold and others "took up runs,"
For, they said, "This land must be cut up it's simply useless so:
Our name is Progress, and you're out of date, so you must go!"

But the black was most indignant, and he said it was a shame;
For he'd been full and satisfied before the white man came,
And he used that awful word, "Bowowgong," in his argument,
Which is native for "A blanky Socialist." And yet -- he went.

It's the same old "march unceasing."  We are getting down the list,
And yesterday's "Reformer" is tomorrow's "Monopolist,"
For hist'ry will repeat itself in this annoying way:
Who stood for "Progress" yesterday is "Retrograde" to-day.

To-day we view the land, as did those men for oversea,
And, like them, slowly shake our heads and sadly say, "Dear me!
This land will have to be cut up; your methods are too slow;
Our name is Progress; you are out of date, so you must go."

They mutter Tory Platitudes, and call the land their land;
For, like the bunyip and the black, they do not understand.
Like bunyip and like black they hark to days of long ago;
And, like them, murmur "Socialist!"  But, all the same -- they'll go.

First published in The Gadfly, 8 May 1907;
and later in
Backblock Ballads and Other Verses by C.J. Dennis, 1913.

To the Daughter of Australia by Henry Halloran

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Bright are thine eyes, star-scorning,
   Fair daughter of the South, 
The roseate hues of morning
   Are on thy cheek and mouth,
And thoughts of Paradise repose 
About thy bosom's snows.

A dream of beauty wandering o'er
   Some poet's raptured brain,
Thy form of grace might well restore,
   Never to part again :-
A form which sculptors might behold, 
Then scorn their art as cold.

Daughter! profusely dower'd,--
   Rise high o'er Beauty's dower,
And, tho' midst roses bower'd,  
   Assume thy righteous power; 
Shape with triumphant hand 
The glories of thy land.  

For, in thy power of Beauty,  
   Thou has a vast control,--
To guard the path of Duty,  
   And to exalt the soul,-- 
To bid our youth aspire,
And glow with patriot fire.

Old Greece, old Rome, and Britain,
   Have annals which relate,--
Brave men have truly written,--
What glorifies a State; 
Be it thy pride to raise
Our youth to Glory's ways.

The sordid heart can never 
   A patriot breast inflame;  
Fear stays each high endeavour,
And slopes the path to shame :-- 
Injustice -- leprous taint--
Makes the heart foul and faint.  

Let not the mean of spirit
   Approach thy virgin hand, 
Altho' he may inherit  
The riches of the land,-- 
Nor let thy bright eyes smile 
On cruelty or guile.  

Nor beeves nor treasures hoarded,
   Should shield from woman's scorn 
The base, the false, the sordid,--
   Altho' of princes born;
Yet should her smile make glad, 
The high-souled peasant lad.

Teach thy young smiling brother,
   True -- chivalrous to be,--
And, when thou art a mother,
   Teach those around thy knee,
How great their country's claim, 
How high a patriot's fame.

First published in The Empire, 2 December 1851

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Aurora-Dawn. Auroria--Land of Dawn by Douglas B.W. Sladen

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Hesperia was thy name, O Italy, 
   From the old Greeks -- deemed Europe's subtlest wits; 
   For over thee the glorious sunshine quits 
Their world. And we accept the augury.
Our land shall be Auroria. Is not she 
   The Land of Dawn? In her the sun first lits 
   The realm whereon all darkness never sits; 
And here dawned Greater Britain oversea. 
   Pray we that here has dawned the coming age, 
      The great Millennium, hoped for eight hundred years, 
   From war and want--the only heritage 
      That man brought out of Eden, except tears; 
So the new dawning which with us had birth 
Shall broaden into light for all the earth.

First published in The Queenslander, 26 November 1887

Note: Auroria was, at that time, being proposed as a new name for the Australian state of New 
South Wales.

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

A Plea For Australia by Louisa Lawson

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Come out from among them, ye sons of Australia!
   Come out and denounce them with tongue and with pen.
Tear off from each traitor her honoured regalia,
   Give back to Australia her birthright again!

The golden tiara that flashed o'er the mountain,
   The girdle of opals like fires on the sea,
Were stolen and scattered like drops from a fountain.
   Shall ye, her protectors, say thus shall it be?

To robe her in sackcloth, to crown her with ashes,
   Cast lots for her raiment and sully her fame?
Rob, wrong and belie her, until with wet lashes
   She bows her fair forehead in sorrow and shame?

She who is so queenly --- our tender girl-mother ---
   Beloved of heroes. By white virgins blest.
From pole unto pole find ye never another
   Like her --- of Earth's daughters, the fairest and best.

Come out from among them, true sons of Australia!
   Come out from among them, and show yourselves men
With courage undaunted, and fearing not failure;
   Give back to Australia her prestige again!

First published in The Barrier Truth, 20 October 1905;
and later in
The Lonely Crossing and Other Poems by Louisa Lawson, 1905; and
Louisa Lawson: Collected Poems with Selected Critical Commentaries edited by L.M. Rutherford, M.E. Roughley and Nigel Spence, 1996.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Wattle Day Musings by Myra M. Campbell

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They say our wealth lies wasted,
   Our weal has ceased to be;
I doubt it much this morning,
   Beneath my Wattle Tree!

Our land has still her sunshine,
   Her blossom-scented breeze,
Her wheatfields and her goldfields,
   Her "Heritage of Trees."

A murmur of contentment,
   Comes from the cooing dove;   
The Wattle-gold's about me,
   And Heaven is still above!  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 July 1932

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Morning Voices by James Lister Cuthbertson

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I.
      Voices I love to hear,
      Filling my soul with cheer,
Sounding are heard by mountain and fell;      
      Gaily they speak to me,
      Gently as distant sea,   
Echoing laughter like ocean-tuned shell,   
Telling such tales as angels-may tell!    

II.        

      Morn awakes, bright and clear,
      Laughing at thinking drear,       
Sweeping the hills with chariot of gold;
      Smiling on toil of men,     
      Wielding a poet pen;  
Trailing green ivy o'er monuments old,    
Lighting the hours till their moments are told.  

III.

      Poet, your lyric thought;   
      Now to the moment wrought,  
Sandalled and hooded with glory may rise;  
      Joy to the city throng,
      Loved as a cheering song --
Lifting sad hearts to the hope in the skies,
Breathing a music toil slaves realise!        

IV.

      Voices through bush and glen
      Take me away again
Over life's plain to the dawn of its day;
      Far o'er the road of tears,
      Back o'er the gulf of years,
Into the time when my fancy had sway --  
Gilding the future with tinsel array!  

V.        

      Only to know once more    
      Friends who have gone before;        
Some by the kiss of the pleasure-lit wave;
      Some on the track of life,
      Some on the field of strife,          
Soundly they sleep in the folds of the grave;   
And never a one had taint of the knave!

VI.          

      Lonely I wander on,        
      Singing my song of morn,
Drinking the nectar of sunshine around,    
      Yet for awhile I gleam  
      Thoughts from life's morning dream,
Till a new joy in the present is found,  
Thrilling with song of healthier sound!    

VII.          

      Over the mountain crest,    
      Over the golden west,
Soundeth the joy of a brotherhood new;    
      Riseth the Austral cross,
      Glorious o'er its course,  
Flaming its ground of pure, azureous blue,  
Welding our States to a Commonwealth true!

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 22 June 1901

Author: James Lister Cutherbertson (1851-1910) was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and arrived in Australia in 1874 to teach at Geelong Grammar.  He was to remain a teacher or master at the college most of his adult life. He found himself in Mount Gambier at the start of 1910 suffering from illness and insomnia.  He died there after taking an overdose of barbiturates.  He never married.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

The Circling Hearth-Fires by Roderic Quinn

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My Countrymen, though you are young as yet
With little history, nought to show
Of lives enleagued against a foreign foe --
Torn flags and triumph, glory or regret;
Still some things make our kinshp sweet,
Some deeds inglorious but of royal worth,
As when with tireless arms and toiling feet
We felled the tree and tilled the earth.  

'Tis no great way that we have travelled since
Our feet first shook the storied dust
Of England from them, when with love and trust
In one another, and large confidence
In God above, our ways were ta'en
'Neath alien skies -- each keeping step in mind
And soul and purpose to one trumpet strain,
One urging music on the wind:

Yet tears of ours have wet the dust, have wooed
Some subtle green things from the ground --
Like violets -- only violets never wound
Such tendrils round the heart; the solitude
Has seen young hearts with love entwine;
And many gentle friends gone down to death
Have mingled with the dust, and made divine
The very soil we tread beneath.

Thus we have learned to love our country, learned
To treasure every inch from foam
To foam; to title her with name of Home;
To light in her regard a flame that burned
No land in vain, that calls the eyes
Of men to glory heights and old renown;
That wild winds cannot quench, nor thunder-skies
Make dim, nor many waters drown.

Six hearths have circled round our shores, and round
The six hearths group a common race,
Though leagues divide; the one light on their face,
The same old songs and stories rise; the sound
Of kindred voices and the dear
Old English tongue make music; and men move
From hearth to hearth with little fear
Of aught, save open arms and love.

To keep these hearth-fires red, to keep the door
Of each house wide -- that is our part!
Surely 'tis noble! Surely, heart to heart,
God's love upon us and one gaol before
Is something worth! Something to win
Our hearts to effort! Something it were good
To garner soon! And something 'twould be sin
To cast aside in wanton mood.

My countrymen, hats off! with heart and will
Thank God that you are free, and then
Arise, and don your Nationhood like men,
And, manlike, face the world for good or ill.
Peace be to you, and in the tide
Of years great plenty till Time's course be run;
Six Ploughmen in the same field side by side,
But, if need be, six Swords as one.

First published in The Bulletin, 17 June 1899;
and later in
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918.

Note: this poem is also known by the title "The Circling Hearths".

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Australia by Henry Halloran

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It is not that our heaven is bright
With stars, which through the fragrant night,
Shine, like uncounted worshippers
Of the great Source of Light.

It is not that our balmy air
Makes it a vital joy, to share
In the sweet breathing of the hills,     
As of a world in prayer;--  

It is not that our valleys hold
The means of life, for manifold
And various creatures-man and beast--
Or the red-treasured gold;--  

It is not that rapt Beauty seems,
As in a world of fairy dreams,
To mould the Daughters of the land
For bards' and painters' themes;--    

Nor that our sons, would they disdain
The soul-corroding thirst of gain,
And look on glory, as on heaven,
Would never look in vain;

That we this favoured land should prize,
Or walk with proud and grateful eyes,
Blessing the Great All-Bountiful
For this new Paradise;

But for a guerdon, free from ill,
That we, with just and righteous will,
May frame a state of things to win--
The Soul of Freedom still;

That far above, the clamorous cry
Of an insane Democracy,--
Or Tyranny, more monstrous still,--
Utopia may try;

May so adjust the wheels and weights,
And balance all the mixed estates,
That each shall share with equal pride,
The freedom that elates;--

That makes man, with an upright heart,
Take in the world his lofty part,--
The Christian walking through the flames,
And dreading not the dart!  

Oh, God ! if one, a castaway
From hope-almost from heaven-may pray;
His first, his last, one prayer would be
From morn to evening grey,--

That his adopted land may be,
Great in her glory-wise and free--
God-fearing, just, and terrible
Alike by land and sea.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 May 1864

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Romance by Will M. Fleming

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A recent visitor has expressed the view that there is no romance in Australia outside the racecourse.

There is no romance in the brigalows,
   Nor out on the myall plains.  
There is nothing worth while in the mulga scrub
   When racing with slackened reins
To head-off a crashing clean-skin mob.
It's only a nurse-with-a-cradle job;
   There's no romance for your pains.

There is no romance in the mountain range,
   Where the blue peaks take the dawn.
It's a poor little thrill where the waterfall
   Leaps down through the dewy morn
For two thousand miles where the stockmen ride
Till it meets the strong incoming tide,
   Where romance has never been born.

There is no romance in the sounding surf,
   Where clean-limbed athletes sport
With the glorious grace of the Grecian gods;
   And glamour that youth has caught.
There is no romance in the harbour lights,
Or the jewel stars of the summer nights,
   For our romance is naught.

There is no romance in the men who come
   Through the choking desert sand
To win a mate from the grasp of death
   With the grip of a manly hand.
Where the risks are great and the cheers are few,
There is no romance in the deeds we do,
   In the name of a Brave Young Land?

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 February 1928

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Future of Australia by Mary Hannay Foott

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Sing us the Land of the Southern Sea --
The land we have called our own;
Tell us what harvest there shall be
From the seed that we have sown.

We love the stories of stirring days,
The songs of the wind and wave,
The Border ballads and courtly lays,
And the poems Shakespeare gave.

We love the chant, like cathedral chimes,
Of him "made blind to sing."
We list the Laureate's languid rhymes;
His verse of the knightly ring.

For the tears they tell of our brethren wept;
Their praise is our fathers' fame;
They sing of the Seas our navies swept --
Of the shrines that lent us flame.

But the Past is past for all its pride,
And its ways are not our ways;
We watch the flow of a fresher tide,
And the dawn of brighter days.

Sing us the Land of the Southern Sea --
The land we have called our own ;
Tell us what harvest there shall be
From the seed that we have sown.

* * * * *

I see the child we are tending now,
To a queenly stature grown;
The crown of empire on her brow,
And the purple round her thrown.

She feeds her household plenteously,
From the granaries we have filled;
Her vintage is gathered in with glee,
From the fields our toil has tilled.  

The Old World's outcast starvelings feast
Ungrudged on her corn and wine,
The gleaners are welcome west and east
Where her autumn sickles shine.

She clothes her people in silk and wool,
Whose warp and whose woof we spun,
And sons and daughters are hers to rule;
And of slaves-she has not one.

There are herds of hers on a thousand hills;
There are fleecy flocks untold,
No foreign wealth her coffers fills, --
She has streams whose sands are gold!

She will not scramble for falling crowns;
No theft shall her 'scutcheon soil;
She shall fear no despot's smiles or frowns --
Shall have no need of spoil.

But if wronged or menaced, she shall stand
Where the battle-surges swell, --
The sword of Heaven in her hand,
Like the sword of La Pucelle!

If there be ever so base a foe
As to speak of a time-cleansed stain, --
To say, "She was cradled, long ago,
'Mid clanks of the convict's chain."

Ask.-as the taunt in his teeth is hurled, --
"What lineage sprang she from
Who was Empress once of the Pagan world,
And the Queen of Christendom?"

When the toils of her early years are o'er,
And her children round her throng, --
They shall learn from her of the sage's lore,
And her lips shall teach them song.

And then of those in the dust who dwell,
May there kindly mention be!
May the birds that build in the branches tell
Of the planting of the tree!  

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 8 February 1873;
and later in
Where the Pelican Builds and Other Poems by Mary Hannay Foott, 1885; and
A Book of Queensland Verse edited by J.J. Stable and A.E.M. Kirkwood, 1924.

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

See also.

Greater Britain by George Essex Evans

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   Another England's growing in a far-off sunny land,
   Which with the mother country in union firm shall stand,
   Its people with her people, the prosperous and free,
   Shall lend their voice to swell the shout of glorious liberty.
Advance! advance! Australia! Great Empress of the South
Advance! until thy progress shall be told from every mouth.
Prosperity shall bless thy land, and rivalries shall cease,
When all thy states amalgamate in unity and peace.

   The bonds that bind us to the land we love to call our home
   Shall firmer prove than e'en the rocks which break the ocean's foam.
   The blood which courses through our veins so joyously, I ween,
   Is thicker than the water of the sea which rolls between.
Advance, advance, Australia, &c.

   Then, while we drain one bumper more, oh let us not forget
   The dear old land which gave us birth--the mother country yet.
   And let us toast upstanding, like loyal subjects true,
   The Queen, who sways the sceptre o'er the old land and the new.
Advance, advance, Australia, &c.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 20 January 1883;
and in The Queenslander on the same day.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.
[A foolish suggestion has lately been mooted in the English papers, that British New Guinea should be bartered with Germany for her African West Coast possessions.]

Bold Torres the sailor came and went
   With his swarthy, storm-worn band;
He saw Saavedra's * Isle to north,
   To the south a loom of land.
He left, unknowing his name would live
   Through ages big with Fate
As the first to stem with his broad-bowed ship
   The wash of the Northern Strait.

Round the western shores the Dutch ships crept,
   Seeking the hidden way;
Some left their bones on a wind-swept coast,
   And the others sailed away.
Turned back, turned back by reef and rock ---
   Twin guards of the sunlit gate,
The path of the sun from the eastern seas ---
   They were mocked by the Northern Strait.

Year in, year out, the monsoons swept
   O'er the isles off the coral shore;
The savage tossed in his frail canoe
   But the white man came no more.
No sail in sight at the break of dawn,
   No sail at the gloaming late;
Silent and still was the lonely pass,
   Unsought was the Northern Strait.

A rattle of arms and a roll of drums,
   And the meteor flag flies free,
As an English voice proclaims King George
   Lord of that tropic sea.
The parrots scream as the volleys flash,
   The gulls their haunts vacate,
And the "south-east" fills the Endeavour's sails
   As she heads through the Northern Strait.

And ever since then has the watch been kept
   O'er the ships in the narrow way,
Where the smoking funnels flare by night,
   And the house-flags flaunt by day.
Ever the same strong "south-east" blows,
   And ever we watch and wait ---
The wardens we, in Australia's name,
   The Guard of the Northern Strait.

Over banks of pearl our watch is kept,
   Over sands where the drown'd men rest;
Ever we signal the ships from east,
   And watch for the ships from west;
Always we watch for the battle-flag
   Of a foe with defiant prate;
Our answer is --- "In Australia's name,
   "We're the Guard of the Northern Strait!"    

*Alvaro Saavedra, the discoverer of New Guinea in 1528. 

First published in The Queenslander, 13 August 1898;
and later in
A Book of Australian Verse for Boys and Girls edited by Bertram Stevens, 1915; and
This Land: An Anthology of Australian Poetry for Young People edited by M.M. Flynn and J. Groom 1968.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Emus by Mary E. Fullerton

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My annals have it so:
A thing my mother saw
Near eighty years ago
With happiness and awe.

Along a level hill --
A clearing in wild space;
And night's last tardy chill
Yet damp on morning's face.

Sight never to forget:
Solemn against the sky
In stately silhouette
Ten emus stalking by.

One after one they went
In line. and without haste:
On their unknown intent,
Ten emus grandly paced.

She, used to hedged-in fields,
Watched them go filing past
Into the great bush wilds
Silent and vast.

Sudden that hour she knew
That this far place was good,
This mighty land and new,
For the soul's hardihood;

For hearts that love the strange
That carry wonder:
The bush the hills the range,
And the dark flats under.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 August 1944;
and later in
Australian Poetry, 1946 edited by T. Inglis Moore,1947;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Anthology of Australian Religious Poetry edited by Les Murray, 1986;
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001;
The Turning Wave: Poems and Songs of Irish Australia edited by Colleen Burke and Vincent Woods, 2001;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004;
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008; and
The Puncher & Wattmann Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Leonard, 2009.

Author: Mary Elizabeth Fullerton (1868-1946) was born in Glenmaggie, Victoria, and was mainly home and self-educated.  By the 1890s she was living in Melbourne and working as a journalist.  She was an active supporter of the suffrage movement, the Victorian Socialist Party and the Women's Political Association.  In 1922 she moved to England where she lived until her death in 1946.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

The Dominion by J. Brunton Stephens

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   She is not yet; but he whose ear
   Thrills to that finer atmosphere
      Where footfalls of appointed things,
         Reverberant of days to be,
      Are heard in forecast echoings,
         Like wave-beats from a viewless sea ---
Hears in the voiceful tremors of the sky
Auroral heralds whispering, "She is nigh."

   She is not yet; but he whose sight
   Foreknows the advent of the light,
      Whose soul to morning radiance turns
         Ere night her curtain hath withdrawn,
      And in its quivering folds discerns
         The mute monitions of the dawn,
With urgent sense strained onward to descry
Her distant tokens, starts to find Her nigh.

   Not yet her day. How long "not yet"! . .
   There comes the flush of violet!
      And heavenward faces, all aflame
         With sanguine imminence of morn,
      Wait but the sun-kiss to proclaim
         The Day of The Dominion born.
Prelusive baptism! --- ere the natal hour
Named with the name and prophecy of power.

   Already here to hearts intense,
   A spirit-force, transcending sense,
      In heights unsealed, in deeps unstirred,
         Beneath the calm, above the storm,
      She waits the incorporating word
         To bid her tremble into form.
Already, like divining-rods, men's souls
Bend down to where the unseen river rolls;--

   For even as, from sight concealed,
   By never flush of dawn revealed,
      Nor e'er illumed by golden noon,
         Nor sunset-streaked with crimson bar,
      Nor silver-spanned by wake of moon,
         Nor visited of any star,
Beneath these lands a river waits to bless
(So men divine) our utmost wilderness, ---

   Rolls dark, but yet shall know our skies,
   Soon as the wisdom of the wise
      Conspires with nature to disclose
         The blessing prisoned and unseen,
      Till round our lessening wastes there glows
         A perfect cone of broadening green, ---
Till all our land Australia Felix called,
Become one Continent-Isle of Emerald; ---

   So flows beneath our good and ill
   A viewless stream of Common Will,
      A gathering force, a present might,
         That from its silent depths of gloom
      At Wisdom's voice shall leap to light,
         And hide our barren feuds in bloom,
Till, all our sundering lines with love o'ergrown,
Our bounds shall be the seas alone.

First published in The Queenslander, 4 August 1877, and in the same magazine on 21 December 1878;
and later in
Convict Once and Other Poems by J. Brunton Stephens, 1885;
The Boomerang, 11 February 1888;
The Australian Town and Country Journal, 25 February 1888;
Tasmanian Mail, 8 July 1899;
The Brisbane Courier, 8 August 1899;
The North Queensland Register, 29 August 1899;
The Poetical Works of Brunton Stephens by J. Brunton Stephens, 1902;
An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1907;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse by Walter Murdoch, 1924;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964; and
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982.

Note: this poem is also known by the titles The Dominion of Australia and The Dominoion of Australia: A Forecast: 1877.

Author: James Brunton Stephens (1835-1902) was born in Scotland and attended the University of Edinburgh, though he did not complete a degree, before working as a tutor for an English military family in Europe. He migrated to Australia in 1866 where he continued work as a tutor in various locations in Queensland.  After teaching at a number of schools he joined the public service where he remained for the rest of his working life.  At one time, after the death of Henry Kendall, he was considered Australia's best living poet, though his reputation has declined considerably over time.  He died in Brisbane in 1902.

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

See also.

Men of Australia by Edward Dyson

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Men of all the lands Australian from the Gulf to Derwent River,
   From the Heads of Sydney Harbour to the waters of the West,
There's a spirit loudly calling where the saplings dip and quiver,
   Where the city crowds are thronging, and the range uplifts its crest!
Do ye feel the holy fervour of a new-born exultation?
   For the task the Lord has set us is a trust of noblest pride --
We are named to march unblooded to the winning of a nation,
   And to crown her with a glory that may evermore abide.  

Have ye looked to great old nations, have ye wondered at their making,
   Seen their fair and gracious cities, gemmed with palaces of light,
Felt the pulse of mighty engines beating ever, never slaking,
   Like the sandalled feet of Progress moving onward in the night?
Can ye stand on some high headland when the drowsy day is fading,
   And in dreamlike fancy see a merchant fleet upon the seas,
See the pinioned ships majestic 'gainst the purple even sailing,
   And the busy steamers racing down to half a thousand quays?

Have ye dreamed of this or seen of this, and feel ye no elation
   O'er the most heroic duty that a free-born people knows?
To the chain of kindred nations ours to link another nation,
   Ours to stay and build and bless her for a future great as those!
Cold and sordid hearts may linger still to bargain over trifles,
   But the big-souled men have only hate for huckstoring and for sloth,
These would barter down division, tear away the bonds that stifle,
   And would free our dear Australia for the larger, nobler growth.  

Bushmen, loaming on the ridges, tracking "colours" to their sources,
   Swinging axes by the rivers where the mill-saws rend and shriek,     
Smoking thoughtful pipes, or dreaming on your slow, untroubled horses,
   While the lazy cattle feed along the track or ford the creek,
Ye have known our country's moods in all her wild and desert places,
   Ye have felt the sweet, strange promptings that her solitudes inspire,
To have breathed the spirit of her is to love her - turn your faces,
   Ride like lovers when the day dawns, ride to serve her, son and sire!  

Miners in the dripping workings, farmers, pioneers who settle
   On the bush lands, city workers of the benches and the marts,
Swart mechanics at the forges, beating out the glowing metal,
   Thinkers, planners, if ye feel the love of country stir your hearts,
Help to write the bravest chapter of a fair young nation's story --
   Great she'll be as Europe's greatest, more magnificent in ruth!-
That our children's children standing in the rose light of her glory
   May all honour us who loved her, and who crowned her in her youth!

First published in The Argus, 1 June 1898;
and later in
The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 26 June 1898;
Selections from the Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens and George Mackaness, 1925; and
This Land: An Anthology of Australian Poetry for Young People edited by M. M. Flynn and J. Groom, 1968.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Sunrise "Out Back" by Alice Ham

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With Apologies to Rudyard Kipling

There's never a flower for fifty miles;
But only the gidyea tree,
And the saltbush gray, and the coolibah,
But an ocean of Grass I see;
And out of the desert "Back of Beyond"
The wind blows eerily!

The coach-wheels whirl on the team-worn road,
Due South from the railway track,
The road that was made in the Days of Old
By the grand Pioneers, the Brave and the Bold
Who opened the way to the "Back of Beyond" ---
Who went there --- but never came back.

From a curtain of Rose and of Apricot
Of a sudden outflames the Sun!
And 'tis "Gee-up, Laddie!" and "Ho! Conrad!"
And the five-in-hand plunge like one! ---
But the Kangaroo steers for the "Back of Beyond,"
For he knows that his day is done.
But ours? Well, ours has just begun!

First published in The Queenslander, 28 May 1898

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Sunrise From Bourke's Statue by Henry Parkes

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A youth rein'd in his graceful steed
   On Bourke's proud-statued hill,
And bent his eye, with passionate heed,
   Where day was breaking still;
He watch'd the glorifying gleams
   Sent through the cloud-shapes grand,
And gazed until the god all beams
   Burst on his native land.

And like a god, indeed, he rose,
   That bright Australian sun,
Swift through the gorgeous phantom shows,
   Which flamed, -- are changed, -- are gone,--
Like battle-pomps of many a legion
   When first their bright ranks close;
Or burning city in a region
   Of dim and distant snows.

Ay, glorious more than dream of things
   All beauty, joy, and power,
Broke forth his world illuminings,
   His splendours of that hour.
And blissful as may ever seem
   This thorny world of ours,
The palaced shore and harbour-stream
   Glow'd in his beamy showers.

The young Australian press'd his steed
   Onward, with throbbing heart:
Wild, thrilling thoughts, which none might read,
   Rich hopes new-born, were part
Henceforth of his impassioned life;
   And ever in his breast,
By day, by night, in calm, in strife,
   That picture seem'd to rest.

That glorious picture he had seen
   From infancy till then;
But it a shining blank had been, --
   No thought of freeborn men
Had flash'd upon his spirit, there
   No prescience of the fame
And greatness of a land so fair
   E'er smote him, as with flame.

But ever hence shall he behold,
   That picture at all hours,
With thoughts more rich than virgin gold,
   With hopes more bright than flowers.
And, 'mid the soul-fret of the mart,
   And in the ball-room's glee,
His country shall be next his heart --
   A nation great and free.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 May 1850;
and later in
The Empire, 4 September 1851; and
Murmurs of the Stream by Henry Parkes, 1857.

Note: the statue referred to above is dedicated to Sir Richard Bourke (1777-1855) who was governor of the colony of New South Wales from 1831-37.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

A Song for Pioneers by C. J. Dennis

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The youth of a man have I known,
   And the youth of a land.
I have witnessed a wilderness sown,
   And a destiny planned.
The labor of stout pioneers
   It was mine to behold,
And the harvest that came with the years.
   And now I grow old.

And whatever for me lies before---
   Disillusion or bliss--
No future that fate has in store
   Can rob me of this:
I have dreamed and known dreaming come true;
   I have earned, I have spent;
I have watched a race grow as I grew;
   And I am content.

No land may for ever keep young,
   Or a nation apart;
When the songs of its youth have been sung,
   Change comes to its heart.
In the welter of war have we groaned,
   And in sorrows untold,
For the sins of an old world atoned;
   And our land has grown old.

All men for no more than a span
   Toil, dream and are gone;
For kind death is gentle with man;
   But a nation lives on.
And if we have built truly and well
   For this great continent,   
As the men who come after shall tell,
   Let us keep our content.

First published in The Herald, 21 May 1931;
and later in
Advertiser and Register, 23 May 1931.

Author reference sites: C.J. Dennis, Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Freedom on the Wallaby by Henry Lawson

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Australia's a big country
   An' Freedom's humping bluey,
An' Freedom's on the wallaby
   Oh! don't you hear 'er cooey?
She's just begun to boomerang,
   She'll knock the tyrants silly,
She's goin' to light another fire
   And boil another billy.

Our fathers toiled for bitter bread
   While loafers thrived beside 'em,
But food to eat and clothes to wear,
   Their native land denied 'em.
An' so they left their native land
   In spite of their devotion,
An' so they came, or if they stole,
   Were sent across the ocean.

Then Freedom couldn't stand the glare
   O' Royalty's regalia,
She left the loafers where they were,
   An' came out to Australia.
But now across the mighty main
   The chains have come ter bind her -
She little thought to see again
   The wrongs she left behind her.

Our parents toil'd to make a home -
   Hard grubbin 'twas an' clearin' -
They wasn't crowded much with lords
   When they was pioneering.
But now that we have made the land
   A garden full of promise,
Old Greed must crook 'is dirty hand
   And come ter take it from us.

So we must fly a rebel flag,
   As others did before us,
And we must sing a rebel song
   And join in rebel chorus.
We'll make the tyrants feel the sting
   O' those that they would throttle;
They needn't say the fault is ours
   If blood should stain the wattle!

First published in The Worker, 16 May 1891, and again in the same paper on 29 September 1894;
and later in
Freedom on the Wallaby: Poems of the Australian People edited by Marjorie Pizer, 1953;
Songs from Lawson by Henry Lawson, 1957;
The Penguin Australian Song Book edited by J. S. Manifold, 1964;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The World of Henry Lawson edited by Walter Stone, 1974;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
The Essential Henry Lawson edited by Brian Kiernan, 1982;
A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885-1900 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss,  1993;
Waltzing Matilda and Other Nursery Rhymes edited by Richard Magoffin, 1998; and
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library, The Poetry of Henry Lawson website

See also.

Australia by D. Fenton (Bernard O'Dowd)

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Last sea-thing dredged by sailor Time from Space,
   Are you a drift Sargasso, where the West
   In halcyon calm rebuilds her fatal nest?
Or Delos of a coming Sun-god's race?
Are you for Light, and trimmed, with oil in place,
   Or but a Will o' Wisp on marshy quest?
   A new demesne for Mammon to infest?
Or lurks millenial Eden 'neath your face?

The cenotaphs of species dead elsewhere
   That in your limits leap and swim and fly,
      Or trail uncanny harpstrings from your trees,
Mix omens with the auguries that dare
   To plant the Cross upon your forehead sky,
      A virgin helpmate Ocean at your knees.

First published in The Bulletin, 12 May 1900, and again in the same magazine on 1 February 1950;
and later in
The Golden Treasury of Australia Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Bookfellow, 15 November 1913;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Pervical Serle, R.H. Croll and Frank Wilmot;
New Song in an Old Land edited by Rex Ingamells, 1943;
Spoils of Time: Some Poems of the English Speaking Peoples edited by Rex Ingamells, 1948;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by John Thompson, Kenneth Slessor, and R.G. Howarth, 1958;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by Harry Heseltine, 1972;
Cross-Country: A Book of Australian Verse edited by John Barnes and Brian McFarlane, 1988;
The Macmillan Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Ken L. Goodwin and Alan Lawson, 1990;
The Arnold Anthology of Post-Colonial Literatures in English edited by John Thieme, 1996;
Sunlines: An Anthology of Poetry to Celebrate Australia's Harmony in Diversity edited by Anne Fairbairn, 2002;
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008;
The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Kinsella, 2009; and
Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Nicholas Jose, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Anita Heiss, David McCooey, Peter Minter, Nicole Moore and Elizabeth Webby, 2009.

Note: the poem was published by The Bulletin as the winner of a sonnet competition.  The judges had this to say of the poem: "...there was no difficulty in adjudging the prize of £2. 2s. to D. Fenton, Supreme Court Library, Melbourne, whose pithy, pregnant verse has frequentely adorned the columns of The Bulletin.  His fine and memorable sonnet heads this page. It urges the question and the doubt which state Australia's present place in the philosophic vista; and it is an intellectual diamond, with a facet flashing in every line."

Author: Bernard O'Dowd (1866-1953) was born in Beaufort, Victoria, and taught in Catholic Schools before joining the Victorian Public Service.  He graduated in arts and law in the 1890s and rose to the rank of Chief Parliamentary Draughtsman for Victoria.  He died in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1953.

Author reference sites:
Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Australia by Mabel Forrest

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"Look not at the stains on my robe," she said, "But bare my heart to your eyes,
"For only my heart is loyal, and so weary of Statesmen's lies,"
"Look not on my robe," she whispered. "Where is evil for all to see,
"But think of my dead sons lying on the shores of Gallipoli."

"Look not at my branded brow," she said, "For this is what ill men did;
"But look in my soul," she whispered, "and see what my soul has hid:   
"A jewel of love for England, a jewel of faiths to keep,
"Look not at my robe, oh brothers, but probe where my blood runs deep."

"For it is the blood of men," she said, "of the pioneers of the past
"Who fought for a nation's progress, and who made its honour fast,       
"Look not at my poor stained garments, but look in my heart," she cried;
"And then fold your flag about me, the flag for which heroes died!"  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 March 1931

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Land I Love! by Louise Mack

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Land I love! I will wrest your meaning
   See, I swear I will know you yet.
You shall reveal the soul of your song,
   And I will set it, as never set.
March of shadows to muted music,
   Heat-mists creeping, I know, I know;
And I know, dear Rain, that your desolate story
Has a hidden sweet and an inner glory.

Trees of mine! ah, the nights I listen,
   Nights I steal through your black, black shade,
I and the old gums sorrow alone,
   The young gums give me their accolade.
Mile on mile through the death-grey silence,
   Twilight, midnight, or yellow moon,
And 'tis I who know that your desolate story
Has its hidden sweet and its inner glory.

Dark and dawn through the grey gums sweeping,
   Blazing gold of the afternoon,
All have revealed the soul of their song,
   But when, O Land, is my promised tune?
I am silent, I have no music,
   Maestoso nor Allegro,-
But you know how fain is my impotent story
To unfold the hymn of your veiled, great glory.

Only this can I sing, and singing,
   Land of mine! you will understand,
You have revealed the heart of my song,
   While I went seeking for yours, O Land!
Your young lips have disclosed my courage,
   Deathless courage, my Continent!
For I learnt from you that my life's own story
Has a deeper depth and a higher glory.

Heat and haze! you have crept and caught me.
   See, 'tis you who will know me yet.
You have revealed the soul of my song;
   'Tis you who have set it, as never set.
March of shadows to muted music,
   White gums waiting, we know, we know!
And we know, Dear Land, that our desolate story
Has its hidden sweet and its inner glory.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 March 1901

Author:  Marie Louise Hamilton Mack (1870-1935) was born in Hobart and moved from state to state with her Wesleyan minister father before settling in Sydney where she undertook her secondary education.   A friend of Ethel Turner she started writing poetry for The Bulletin in the late 1880s.  She married in 1986 and left Australia for England in 1901.  After living there and in Italy she was the first woman war correspondent in Belgium in 1914.  She wrote several novels and travel books along with her poetry, and died in Sydney in 1935.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also

The Last of the Land by R. Spencer Browne

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A loom of the land with the light of our love on it,
   Fading to gray in the mists of the sea;
Setting, the sun throws a ray from above on it ---
   Sunlight of hope to the heart of the free.

Sombre, the shadow of sight throws a pall on it;
   Fainter its outlines go down on our lee.
Give one last longing, loving look on it,
   Land of our love as it sinks in the sea.

Gray and all gray, with the glint of the moon on it,
   Spreads the great ocean, and south is the star ---
Faintly and sweetly its soft lustres swoon on it,
   Land of our love that is fading afar.

Let that sweet star be our messenger fair to it,
   Beacon of love with a sigh and a tear,
Spirit of comfort to sad hearts out then on it --
   Hearts of our hearts, the most true and most dear.

Then with that thought which we throw to the loom of it,
   Fair Austral land with its mountain and plain,
Take the last sign of the sadness and gloom of it,
   Light of our land in our hearts shines again.

Fresh blows the breeze o'er the sea, and the waves of it
   Dance in tbe moonlight and flash in our wake.
Stand, then, like sentinel, sons of the braves of it,
   Part of the wall that no foeman can shake.

Gone is our land from our sight; but the thought of it
   Strengthens our hearts for the task to be done.
"Steadfast" and "True" are the countersigns wrought of it,
   Wrought for the good of the cause to be won.

First published in The Queenslander, 3 February 1900

Author: Reginald Spencer Browne (1856-1943) was born in Appin, New South Wales, and took to the profession of journalism at an early age.  After working on newspapers in Deniliquin, Albury, Townsville and Cooktown he moved to Brisbane in 1881 to be editor of The Observer.  He moved to The Brisbane Courier the next year and held the position of associate editor of The Queenslander for some years.  Active in the armed services he saw service in South Africa during the Boer War and was at Gallipoli during World War I.  He died in Brisbane in 1943.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

Ode for Commonwealth Day by George Essex Evans

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Awake! Arise! The wings of dawn
    Are beating at the Gates of Day!
The morning star hath been withdrawn,
    The silver vapours melt away!
Rise royally, O Sun, and crown
    The shoreward billow, streaming white,
The forelands and the mountains brown,
        With crested light;
Flood with soft beams the valleys wide,
    The mighty plains, the desert sand,
Till the New Day hath won for bride
        This Austral land!

Free-born of Nations, Virgin white,
    Not won by blood nor ringed with steel,
Thy throne is on a loftier height,
    Deep-rooted in the Commonweal!
O Thou, for whom the strong have wrought,
    And poets sung with souls aflame,
Born of long hope and patient thought,
        A mighty name ---
We pledge thee faith that shall not swerve,
    Our Land, Our Lady, breathing high
The thought that makes it love to serve,
        And life to die!

Now are thy maidens linked in love
    Who erst have striven for pride of place;
Lifted all meaner thoughts above
    They greet thee, one in heart and race:
She, in whose sun-lit coves of peace
    The navies of the world may rest,
And bear her wealth of snowy fleece
        Northward and West;
And she, whose corn and rock-hewn gold
    Built that Queen City of the South,
Where the lone billow swept of old
        Her harbour-mouth;

And the blithe Sun-maid, in whose veins
    For ever burns the tropic fire,
Whose cattle roam a thousand plains
    With opal and with pearl for tire;
And that sweet Harvester who twines
    The tender vine and binds the sheaf,
And the young Western Queen, who mines
        The desert reef,
And she, against whose flowery throne
    And orchards green the wave is hurled ---
Australia claims them; They are One
        Before the World!

Crown Her --- most worthy to be praised ---
    With eyes uplifted to the morn;
For on this day a flag is raised,
    A triumph won, a nation born!
And Ye, vast Army of the Dead,
    From mine and city, plain and sea,
Who fought and dared, who toiled and bled,
        That this might be,
Draw round us in this hour of fate ---
    Here, where thy children's children stand ---
With unseen lips, O consecrate
        And bless the land!

Eternal Power, benign, supreme,
    Who weigh'st the nations upon earth;
Without whose aid the Empire dream,
    And pride of states is nothing worth
From shameless speech, and vengeful deed,
    From license veiled in freedom's name,
From greed of gold and scorn of creed,
        Guard Thou our fame!
In stress of days that yet may be
    When hope shall rest upon the sword,
In Welfare and Adversity,
        Be with us, Lord!

First published in School Paper for Classes V and VI, no.26 December 1900,
and later in:
The Advertiser, 1 January 1901;
The Brisbane Courier, 1 January 1901;
The Australian Town and Country Journal, 5 January 1901;
The Bulletin, 5 January 1901;
The Coo-ee Reciter: Humourous, Pathetic, Dramatic, Dialect, Reciations and Readings compiled by William T. Pyke, 1904; and
The Secret Key and Other Verses by George Essex Evans 1906.

Author: George Essex Evans (1863 - 1909) was born in England and migrated to Australia in 1881. He is generally considered one of Queensland's best ever poets.  A memorial to him was raised in Toowoomba after his death.

Notes: "In 1901 [Essex Evans] won first prize in the New South Wales Government's Competition for a commonwealth ode with a poem that had been edited by Alfred Deakin prior to the competition."* The competiton was run to mark the inauguration of the Federation of the Commonwealth of Australia on January 1, 1901.
* - see the "Toowoomba's Literary History" webpage.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

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