Foreword [for Beyond the City Gates, by Jack Moses]

[Editor: This is the foreword to Beyond the City Gates: Australian Story & Verse (1923) by Jack Moses.]


An association with “Mother Bush,” extending over a period of thirty-five years, has taught me much of the splendour and heroism of the men and women of rural New South Wales, till I have come to get a dependable idea and an appreciation of the silent spaces, the straggling villages, the thriving towns, the great gums, the long, winding roads of black, red and brown, the golden fields, and the scent of the wattle. All this is my Australia, and knowing this as my Australia I fain would have try fellow-citizens know of its glory also.

The good folk who live in Sydney, within coo-ee of the spot where Captain Cook first trod these shores, know little of the grandeur of the Australian Bush — and most of them have not gone farther inland than did the famous Navigator. Too frequently does the city-dweller fail to appreciate the fact that his whole existence depends upon the generosity of the great hinterland. His range is limited, and his habitat, mainly, around his beautiful and, justly, beloved harbour. Sometimes there is a motor jaunt, or a dash through the country in railway trains, but the cinematographic impression thus obtained tells him little of the life and conditions of men who sow and reap, so that wealth may be poured into the coffers of the State, and thus his vision of the vast wealth and boundless opportunities of rural New South Wales is cramped. If it was not so he would, perhaps, more readily understand the spirit which compels the dedication of “Beyond the City Gates.”

I dedicate this book, which I have been prompted to publish by the frequent solicitations of good old pals, to “Mother Bush,” as a modest tribute to the scores of splendid men and women, the hardy and glorious pioneers, who blazed the trail to Australia’s greatness.

Away beyond the City Gates of to-day, across the rugged mountain peaks, over the fertile plains to the west, away to the south, and over the north, the spirit of the pioneer lives; stimulating us to better, bigger, and brighter things. We want the spirit of optimism to prevail; we want to boycott the pernicious principle of pessimism; we want to realise that for every drought-stricken area in the State, that for every little bit of land threatened with rabbits or prickly-pear or some other pest, we have scores of places with fertile soil and generous climate, capable of producing wealth untold. We have, in short, been blessed with a heritage richer and greater, and destined to be grander than that of any country in the world. Every country district of this State reflects, in part, the glories of our Commonwealth, which from the standpoint of productive capabilities is unequalled throughout the world — and it is from this aspect that I humbly urge every resident of the city to look through the Great White Gates to the golden fields of opportunity that stretch beyond.

During my years of wanderings through the State, attending every agricultural show, I have been taught what the spirit of the Bush is — and in using the term, “Bush” I do so because it means to me all that is big and noble. Those splendid people of the north, those “all wool” Australians of the south and west, with whom I am brought in touch at the Annual Shows — with these I have formed friendships which I cherish, and in the years to be, when no longer I journey through the countryside, I shall peer though the Great Gates of the City, and I shall see in the moonlight of our sunny land the men and women who are building up this country to its destined splendour.

It is fitting, here, for me to record my appreciation of all the big-hearted courtesy and kindness extended me by countrysiders during my visits to every part of the State, and if in the reading of my book in some far-off country home there will dawn the realisation that it is intended as a mark of my love for the Great Bush and its splendid people — then indeed I shall be content.


New South Head Road,
January, 1923.

Jack Moses, Beyond the City Gates: Australian Story & Verse, Sydney: Austral Publishing Co., 1923, pages 11-13

Editor’s notes:
coo-ee = a prolonged call used by Australian Aborigines to attract attention; the call of “coo-ee” was adopted by Europeans in Australia

countrysider = someone who lives in the country

fain = happily or gladly; ready or willing; obliged or compelled

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