Happy Australia Day!

My Country

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Dorothea Mackellar
A  homesick young Australian woman wrote this poem sometime before 1908, while on a visit to England. It was a poem taught to all Australian children during my time in Primary school. Whilst most Australians are now city dwellers, many of us still feel a deep connection to the land and it’s a poem that speaks to our national identity. I think I could live  elsewhere, for a while, but would always be yearning for my beautiful, harsh country.
tea towel 3 watermarked

My home is in Melbourne in South Eastern  Australia.

tea towel 4 watermarked

Australian wild flowers

tea towel 2 watermarked

A vintage find.

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40 thoughts on “Happy Australia Day!

  1. I love this poem. She was from Gunnedah. [Dorothy Mackellar] I drove through there yesterday after a few days visiting my mother in North West NSW. I’m a country girl. I love the sweeping plains but must admit had forgotten about the heat. So very hot and dry at the moment. Nice to be back on the coast. We are indeed the lucky country. Happy Australia Day.

    • It is so dry at the moment, the dirt is more like dust in my garden. We need rain, a big thundery downpour. I’ve never been to Gunnedah but I did camp in Mildura one summer which we realised was a big mistake – 46 degrees on New Years Eve in a tent!

  2. A lovely post to celebrate Australia Day : ) And the tea towel is great!!! You can never have too many vintage tea towels (I should know – I’ve inherited quite a few)!

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