Stockton [poem by T. Fennell, 29 May 1847]

[Editor: A poem published in The Sydney Chronicle, 29 May 1847.]


Some sing of castellated towers.
Of mail-clad knights and deeds of arms;
Some sing of groves and shady bowers,
And ladies of unrivall’d charms;—

But I of love or war sing not,
I heed not Cupid’s bow or quiver;
I sing about a little spot
Called Stockton, on the Hunter River.

This small republic — for sure such
It may be called: as its white strand
Was ne’er defil’d by despot’s touch,
Nor by police or red-coat band;—

It’s truly, what the wise would say,
A happy spot — where all are free
Either to fight or run away,
Get drunk on rum, or live on tea.

But mark me well — there are no drones,
Who idle dwell within this hive;—
No useless hands, no lazy bones —
For “Rob,” he keeps them all alive.

Yet still, at times, a little drop
Too much of rum or mountain dew
Will cause the best of work to stop;—
But mind, such cases are but few.

For, like great Moore of former days,
Who read the stars, and things foretold,
Our Moore is up to all the ways
Of male and female, young and old.

He, by a shake of head, or blink —
A single sentence, awful “Nay,”
When they call on him for more drink,
Will make the boldest walk away!

No filthy watch-house in the place;—
No night patrol to pick you up;—
No fear that you’ll get in disgrace,
If you by chance take a wee sup.

No! — in the bush you down may lay,
And snore an anthem to the stars;
And when awoke by break of day,
You’re free from handcuffs, bolts, and bars.

Within our walls we’ve men of might,
True men, who boast they have no fear;
Yet never join’d the sanguine fight,
But wield the shuttle, not the spear;—

Who swing the weaver’s ponderous beam,
And clothe the naked by their skill;—
Men who are peaceful as they seem,
For never were they known to kill.

We’ve men who’re dying day by day,
Yet all things do around them thrive;
Though daily dying, strange to say,
When night comes on they’re all alive.

There’s piercers, feeders, stubbers, too,
Spinners and warpers, full a score;
All have as much as they can do,
And would, if there were twenty more.

There is a devil, too, whose roar
Doth make the very buildings shake;
And for his food he swallows more
Than the most savage brute could take.

But not of flesh or dead men’s bones
Does he thus take his belly-full;
Nor yet of brimstone, fire, or stones;
But, strange to say, he feeds on wool!

Ay, wool! — both black, and white, and brown;
Yet all he gorges is in vain:
No sooner does he gulp it down
Than up he throws it all again!

But soon a wond’rous change is wrought —
’Tis spun, ’tis wove, and cloth is made;—
The best that e’er was sold or bought,
None equal to it in the trade.

O Stockton! thou art fam’d indeed,
Thy equal is not in this land:
For making of “colonial tweed,”
Thou proudly dost unrivall’d stand!

Advance, Australia! still progress —
Still may thy trade and wealth increase!
Stockton, I wish thee all success,
And may your weaving never cease!


The Sydney Chronicle (Sydney, NSW), 29 May 1847, p. 4

[Editor: Corrected “you’re weaving” to “your weaving”.]

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