Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waratah and Wattle: Sun and Sand: Emblems of a Nation

Waratah and Wattle
~ Henry Lawson, 1905

Though poor and in trouble I wander alone,
With a rebel cockade in my hat;
Though friends may desert me, and kindred disown,
My country will never do that!
You may sing of the Shamrock, the Thistle, and Rose,
Or the three in a bunch if you will;
But I know of a country that gathered all those,
And I love the great land where the Waratah grows,
And the Wattle bough blooms on the hill.

Australia! Australia! so fair to behold
While the blue sky is arching above;
The stranger should never have need to be told,
That the Wattle-bloom means that her heart is of gold,
And the Waratah red blood of love.

Australia! Australia! most beautiful name,
Most kindly and bountiful land;
I would die every death that might save her from shame,
If a black cloud should rise on the strand;
But whatever the quarrel, whoever her foes,
Let them come! Let them come when they will!
Though the struggle be grim, 'tis Australia that knows,
That her children shall fight while the Waratah grows,
And the Wattle blooms out on the hill.

Australia Day 2011.   The day commemorates, somewhat controversially, the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788, the hoisting of the British flag there, and the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of New Holland.  Happy 223rd birthday, regardless, to a great land and people.   The barbie is about to fired up for a family 'do' at lunchtime.  I'm off to soak kebab sticks this time - as opposed to the Christmas pudding fruit which was soaking a month or so ago - and shake the porch mat in anticipation of the visitors' imminent arrival. 

Image: Surf Beach, Barwon Heads, Victoria


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