[Editor: This poem by Philip Durham Lorimer was published in Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, 1901.]
From the high headlands, rock-bound in their might,
Where tier above tier of forests arise,
From heights, now gladdened with undergrowth bright,
Upraising their hues to the warm sunny skies,
There cometh a noise like the crashing of thunder,
Reverb’rating caverns re-echo the sound ;
’Tis as if an earthquake were rending asunder
The rocks with which earth’s mighty framework were bound.
Near and more near to the precipice flowing,
Cometh a stream in its terrible flight,
Over the giddy height, where flow’rs are growing,
Falleth the torrent — incrushed in its might ;
Caught now by a rock, but still onward it dashes,
Spreading the width of its wonderful fall ;
Then down the deep chasm, grandly it crashes,
Wreathing like silver the moss-covered wall ;
Yes, with a terrible dashing and crashing,
Down in the basin of rocks far below
Its waters are foaming, boiling, and slashing,
As if they had met with their deadliest foe !
Here it is sweeping o’er rocks that seem weeping,
Both with its spray and waters of ice,
While arches overhead of bright crystals are steeping
The home of the fairies with every device.
The tree-ferns are robed with the vines of clematis,
From beautiful aisles where the lyre-birds roam ;
While the satin-bird asks where now her true mate is,
For here she has found out a wonderful home.
Vieing the hues of the kingfisher’s wing,
Other high archways in mid-air arise ;
Till beauty is perfect and hastens to fling
Her loveliest colours to gladden the skies.
All boldly the gum and the sassafras brush
Tearlessly watch the career of the stream,
As onward it rolls in its maddening rush,
Tracing its course like a silvery gleam.
Fitzroy ! thy waterfall long will be cherished,
As being the home of the wild and the free ;
Ages of glory have passed and have perished,
And now are enrolled in honour of thee,
Deep is thy roaring, of Nature the treasure
Long ago loved by Australia’s first race ;
Now in thy keeping man hears it with pleasure,
Then turns to his God and covers his face !
E. A. Petherick (editor). Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, William Clowes and Sons, London, 1901, pages 174-175