Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Aussie Maria's Sunburnt Country

Happy Australia Day!!!

A poem which I always feels epitomises to me, my Australia is copied out below.

Dorothea wrote this on a trip back to England when she was extremely home-sick.  I think the poem really shows this.  The bit in red is the most often quoted part of the entire poem.  It is also frequently called "A sunburnt country".  It was originally title "Core of my heart".  I was trying to find a video of Leonard Teale reading this poem, as I saw it once and loved the way he spoke, but no luck so far.  The first part is of course referring to England.

by Dorothea Mackellar
written in 1904

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

P.S Key to photos - 1st one is of Uluru in Apr 1988 (dug out of the archives, the old-fashioned way); the 2nd one is Heron Island at the jetty end, Jul 2003 (you can see where they blasted the coral to allow the boats in) Heron Island is totally surrounded by coral and is in the middle of the Whitsundays


  1. It is a great poem isn't it? I also love the song "I am, We are Australian ".

    Hope you enjoy your australia Day. It promises to be very hot here today - 36!!!

  2. Enjoy your day. Loved the pictures. Didn't even realize that it was a holiday for you all.


  3. Hi Maria!
    Beautiful poem and pictures.
    I hope you have a HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY!
    ~X~ Karin

  4. Hi Maria

    A belated Happy Australia Day! to you - love the poem and the piccies are stunning! ** Kim x

  5. Sorry I'm late stopping by Maria. I hope you enjoyed yourself.
    Been busy at home.
    Hugs and Love Suex

  6. Try WHALE'S TAILS and then click on IMAGES at the top to see pictures. I don't know if you knew this little trick. It's amazing what pictures you can find when you do this. Or then again, it maybe a different google. I would be interested if this works over there for you all.


  7. Beautiful pictures of a beautiful country! And what a fabulous blog!
    Thank you for visiting my place and leaving a trail to yours! :)

  8. Maria lovely post for Australia Day & great photos... wonderful what we all have tucked away in our archives... ha ha... Bethel