Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems

PIONEERS

 

We are the Old-world people,

Ours were the hearts to dare;

But our youth is spent, and our backs are bent,

And the snow is in our hair.

 

Back in the early fifties,

Dim through the mists of years,

By the bush-grown strand of a wild, strange land,

We entered - the pioneers.

 

Our axes rang in the woodlands,

Where the gaudy bush-birds flew,

And we turned the loam of our newfound home,

Where the Eucalyptus grew.

 

Housed in the rough log shanty,

Camped in the leaking tent,

From sea to view of the mountains blue

Where the eager diggers went.

 

We wrought with a will unceasing,

We moulded, and fashioned, and planned

And we fought with the black and we blazed the track

That ye might inherit the land.

 

There are your shops and churches,

Your cities of stucco and smoke;

And the swift trains fly where the wild cats cry

Oer the sad bush silence broke.

 

Take now the fruit of our labour,

Nourish and guard it with care;

For our youth is spent, and our backs are bent

And the snow is in our hair.

 

 Frank Hudson

 

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