read it and let us start reconnecting with our country again
My Country by Dorothea Mackellar(1885 – 1968)
Sadly this poem is sneered at by many and has been deliberately altered by others, but this poem says it all. What it means to be Australian. Perhaps the last verse is the most significant.The first verse is referring to England where many of our first settlers came from. The rest of the poem is of course about Australia. There are versions of this poem in which the first verse has been totally and deliberately deleted. This is un-Australian and an insult to the poet, and an insult to our early English, Irish and European settlers and their descendants.Please stop deliberately messing with Australian History. We have not got much so let’s try and keep what we do have as accurately as we can.
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,T he 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 Ovens Valley Highway between Porepunkah and Bright heading for Mt Bogong, Mt Hotham and the Dargo High Plains. Typical Australian bush scene. Mt Hotham is one of the highest mountains in Victoria. Great skiing in the winter and superb high country in the summer. Mt Feathertop is a little higher than Mt. Hotham and Mt. Kosciusko 2227.96 metres in New South Wales is the highest mountain in Australia.
Biography of Dorothea Mackellar
Isobel Marion Dorothea Mackellar was an Australian poet and fiction writer.
Life and Works
The only daughter of noted physician and parliamentarian Sir Charles Mackellar, she was born in Sydney in 1885. Although raised in a professional urban family, Mackellar’s poetry is usually regarded as quintessential bush poetry, inspired by her experience on her brothers’ farms near Gunnedah, North-West New South Wales.
Her best-known poem is My Country, written at age 19 while homesick in England, and first published in the London Spectator in 1908 under the title Core of My Heart. The second stanza of this poem is amongst the most well-known in Australia. Four volumes of her collected verse were published: The Closed Door (published in 1911, contained the first appearance of My Country under its present name); The Witch Maid, and Other Verses (1914); Dreamharbour (1923); and Fancy Dress (1926).
In addition to writing poems, Mackellar also wrote novels, one by herself, Outlaw’s Luck (1913), and at least two in collaboration with Ruth Bedford. These are The Little Blue Devil (1912) and Two’s Company (1914). According to Dale Spender, little has been written or is yet known about the circumstances behind this collaboration.
In the New Year’s Day Honours of 1968, Dorothea Mackellar was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her contribution to Australian literature.She died two weeks later. She is buried with her father and family in Waverley Cemetery overlooking the open ocean. A memorial to Mackellar stands in ANZAC Park in Gunnedah. A federal electorate covering half of Sydney’s Northern Beaches and a street in the Canberra suburb of Cook are named in her honour. (The Canberra suburb of McKellar was not named after her, but is often assumed to have been.)
A federal electorate covering half of Sydney’s Northern Beaches is named in her honour as well as a street in the Canberra suburb of Cook. (The Canberra suburb of McKellar was not named after her, but is often assumed to have been.)
On Australia Day, 26 January 1983, a statue was unveiled in Gunnedah to commemorate Dorothea Mackellar. In conjunction with the unveiling, there was an exhibition of a series of 34 water colour paintings by Jean Isherwood illustrating the writer’s most famous poem, My Country. The watercolours were eventually put on permanent display in the Gunnedah Bicentennial Regional Gallery. Isherwood set about painting a series of oils based on the watercolours which were exhibited at the Artarmon Galleries in Sydney in 1986.
In 1984, Gunnedah resident Mikie Maas created the “Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards”, which has grown into a nationwide poetry competition for Australian school students.
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