South Australia’s Jubilee [poem by Miss M. G. Leask, 11 September 1886]

[Editor: A poem published in The South Australian Register, 11 September 1886.]

South Australia’s Jubilee.

The poem on “South Australia’s Jubilee,” composed by Miss M. G. Leask (Kensington Literary Society), for the Literary Societies’ Union competition, which took place in the Adelaide Town Hall on Thursday, September 9, was awarded first prize. It is as follows:—

In fair Judea, years ago,
God gave forth this command:
That every fiftieth year should bring
Rich blessings o’er the land;
Debts were forgiven, the slaves set free,
When trumpets echoed “Jubilee!”

And to our fair and sunny shores,
Washed by the Southern sea,
Old Time hath steered the restless bark
Which bears our jubilee;
For fifty years have passed away
Since South Australia’s natal day.

Australia’s first proud jubilee!
Oh for a golden pen
And magic ink to write these words,
So fraught with hope to men —
To men who, far from Fatherland,
Have found new homes on Southern strand.

When on that strand their sires first raised
Old Britain’s flag on high,
No hall had they for festive rites,
No roof but God’s own sky;
But thrice they shouted loud, I ween,
Hurrah, for country and for Queen!

Then wave the banners, sound the chimes,
Let sweet music flow,
Bright flowers wreathe in garlands gay,
The silver trumpets blow,
Flash the news across the sea
Of South Australia’s jubilee!

Bring olive wreath to crown her brow,
The mellow fruits pile high,
Her sceptre form of golden grain,
Grown ’neath an azure sky,
A throne raise of the snowy wool,
And twine the whole in vine-leaves cool.

Bring roses for Old England,
The Scottish heather too,
The Shamrock for fair Erin,
For Rhineland flowers of blue,
And bind them all with closest strand,
In honour of our Southern land.

Through bush, and scrub, and lonely nook,
Where the gumtree’s tassels wave,
Whisper the glad tidings low;
O’er the pioneer’s forgotten grave —
Ah! let us think of them to-day,
The brave who sleep so far away.

No warlike trophies would we bring,
This jubilee to crown;
No booty wrested from the foe,
By deeds of loud renown;
Australia’s triumphs, won by peace,
Are mineral wealth and earth’s increase.

But agriculture, science, art,
Religion pure and free —
Those are the handmaids we would bid
To our first jubilee;
The artist’s brush, the poet’s pen,
And song to soothe the hearts of men.

While patient Labour, dewy browed,
By mill, or forge, or loom,
In lonely bush, or dim-lit mine,
Or where the stampers boom,
Wins in our jubilee a part,
By willing arm and steadfast heart.

For Enterprise hath waved her wand,
And safely overhead,
From balmy South to ardent North,
Has spun her magic thread;
While mighty Steam at her decree
Australia serves on land and sea.

Where once thick bushtrees shed their leaves
Our Capital now stands,
With streets where once dark natives crept,
In unmolested bands;
And where their huts’ smoke dimmed the air
Rise modern structures, grand and fair.

And South Australia, greater grown,
Now sends o’er land and sea
To bid strange guests, from various climes,
Come join her jubilee;
And with them bring goods rich and rare,
To make her Exhibition fair.

From Europe, India, and the West
They come, with grand array,
And South Australia smiles again,
To hail a better day,
Whose dawn already tints the sky,
And whispers, “Brighter days are nigh.”

Oh, favoured land! where men ne’er fear
Dame Nature’s sternest frown,
Thou hast but known one gentle sway —
’Tis hers who wears the crown,
Victoria, Queen on England’s Throne!
Australian hearts are all thine own;
To thee we send from o’er the sea
A nation’s love this jubilee.

August 26, 1886.

The South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA), 11 September 1886, p. 7

Also published in:
The Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA), 11 September 1886, p. 8

Editor’s notes:
azure = the blue of a clear unclouded sky

bark = (also spelt “barque”) a small sailing ship in general, or specifically a sailing ship with three (or more) masts, in which the aftmost mast is fore-and-aft rigged, whilst the other masts are square-rigged

clime = a place, region, or foreign land, particularly referred to with regard to its climate (usually used in the plural, e.g. “cooler climes”, “hot climes”, “lovely climes”, “Northern climes”, “other climes”, “Southern climes”, “sunny climes”, “warmer climes”)

Erin = Ireland

o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)

Rhineland = Germany

stamper = a heavy mining stamp; a large machine used to crush rocks, etc.

ween = believe, suppose, think

Old spelling in the original text:
hath (has)
ne’er (never)

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