Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems

The Cross of the South


‘Twas the month of December, the year ‘54
When the men of Eureka rebelled;
When they swore that the flag that they’d made for themselves
Hither proudly aloft would be held.
Oh, the miners took arms in the stockade that day,
The bold words passed from mouth to mouth –
‘We will stand by this flag and the stars that she bears,
White stars of the Cross of the South.’

Though the hot blood of heroes ran fast in their veins,
There was but one man they obeyed!
And the hero of heroes they chose from their ranks,
Peter Lalor, their hero they made.
Peter Lalor said, ‘Now you must stand by your guns,
Fear not the cannon’s fierce mouth;
For I see that the soldiers are gathering now
To tear down the Cross of the South!’

Captain Thomas, he charged the Eureka Stockade
With three hundred troops by his side;
Fire and steel met them there and they fell back again,
But the first of the miners had died!
And the smoke of the battle had scarce cleared away,
When the soldiers came charging once more!
And the miners were killed as they stood round the flag,
Or fell from the wounds that they bore.

Bold Peter Lalor lay shot on the ground
Where the soldiers had left him for dead!
The flag that he loved lay there by his side,
The white starts all stained with the red!
Peter Lalor, he rose on his knees in the dust,
These wild words poured from his mouth –
‘You can murder us all in black tyranny’s name,
But you can’t kill the Cross of the South.’



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