A short Winter Escape travel blog


Henry Lawson Centre

Tonight we are in Lawson Territory, beautiful Gulgong, the town on the AU$10 note... When I was a lad I served a term (or several) at West Como School and we had a Henry Lawson Festival held in the park behind our house. The orations were delivered by us school kids and Leonard Teale. 6th Class had to recite “Australian Engineers”; I think I can still remember most of it;

Ah, well! but the case seems hopeless, and the pen might write in vain;

The people gabble of old things over and over again.

For the sake of the sleek importer we slave with the pick and the shears,

While hundreds of boys in Australia long to be engineers.

A new generation has risen under Australian skies,

Boys with the light of genius deep in their dreamy eyes---

Not as of artists or poets with their vain imaginings,

But born to be thinkers and doers, and makers of wonderful things.

Born to be builders of vessels in the Harbours of Waste and Loss,

That shall carry our goods to the nations, flying the Southern Cross;

And fleets that shall guard our seaboard while the

East is backed by the Jews (wow racist or what?)

Under Australian captains, and manned by Australian crews.

Boys who are slight and quiet, but boys who are strong and true,

Dreaming of great inventions always of something new;

With brains untrammelled by training, but quick where reason directs

Boys with imagination and keen, strong intellects.

They long for the crank and the belting, the gear and the whirring wheel,

The stamp of the giant hammer, the glint of the polished steel,

For the mould, and the vice, and the turning lathe they are boys who long for the keys

To the doors of the world's mechanics and science's mysteries.

They would be makers of fabrics, of cloth for the continents

Makers of mighty engines and delicate instruments,

It is they who would set fair cities on the western plains far out,

They who would garden the deserts it is they who would conquer the drought!

They see the dykes to the skyline, where a dust-waste blazes today,

And they hear the lap of the waters on the miles of sand and clay;

They see the rainfall increasing, and the bountiful sweeps of grass,

And all the year on the rivers long strings of their barges pass.

But still are the steamers loading with our timber and wood and gold,

To return with the costly shoddy stacked high in the foreign hold,

With cardboard boots for our leather, and Brummagem (Birmingham) goods and slops

For thin, white-faced Australians to sell in our sordid shops.

Well that’s most of it... You can start reading from here if you skipped that bit.. Not a lot has changed has it?

A longish drive today punctuated by a very pleasant stop for a pee at the Golden Highway turnoff and yet another for lunch (and another pee) at Merriwa RSL.

It will be an electric blanket night tonight already dropped to a bracing 1.6c outside which is just a bit warmer than Home at -3....

Moving on to Cowra tomorrow which will really upset Dad as he expects me home on Saturday...

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