Wide brown land: Tasmania 2011

john88We spent Christmas 2010 and New Year in Hobart, where my father, John, and James celebrated their birthdays on the same day—2nd January—and shared a cake.

There was much trouble with bushfires in Tasmania at the time we were there. Dorothea Mackellar’s 1904 poem My country comes to many minds in time of flood and fire.


Some extracts:

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!

… 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 …

… 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 …




Touring Tasmania, we saw the jewelled seas at the Bay of Fires
… vast East coast beaches were almost empty of people,
… and everywhere the vast blue horizons, the filmy veil of greenness.