Archive for July, 2010

I’m going down to the waterhole….

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Cooper’s Creek, man, she’s just a string of muddy waterholes,
you go there wrong time of year,
you might die before you get there,
you might die just as Mr Burke and Mr Wills.

Extract from ‘Cooper’s Creek’ from the CD Another Country, © Shane Howard 2004.

Burke & Wills’ 1861 Junction Camp on Cooper Creek.

Distance reduced to a continental walk…

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

In Collins Street standeth a statue tall -
A statue tall on a pillar of stone,
Telling its story, to great and small,
Of the dust reclaimed from the sand waste lone…
…He lay on the desert a dying man,
Who has gone, my friends, where we all must go.

Extract from ‘Gone’ by Adam Lindsay Gordon.
Published in Poems by Adam Lindsay Gordon, Melbourne, 1893.

You can see the statue,
Watched by civic clock and
stained by pigeon rains.

And there he is, blessed by hoary arms,
Hoisted by the adventurer who imagined
Distance reduced to a continental walk.

Extract from ‘William John Wills writes his ending’ by Peter Gebhardt © 1992.
Meanjin, Vol 51, No 4, Summer 1992.

that vast and utter lonliness…

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

So all men come at last to their Explorers’ Tree,
Whereon they carve their valediction to the world.
Whether as they, we explore a continent,
or are content to explore ourselves,
we find that mysterious centre,
that vast and utter loneliness, which is the heart of being;

‘Burke & Wills’ by Ken Barratt.
Published in A Book of Australian Verse, Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 1956. pp.153-154.

The Dig Tree