[Editor: This poem, by Ruby Jean Stephenson, was published in Eyre’s Peninsula Tribune (Cowell, SA), 18 November 1943.]
Australia the beautiful child of an empire,
Britain has mothered thee, land of the free,
Home of the negro, with boomerang, camp fire
Land of the wattle, rimmed by the sea.
Land of great spaces, where smiling in mirage,
Fairyland mirrors her lakes and her palms.
Forest and mountain, where soareth the buzzard,
Up in the sunshine, basking in calm.
Land of the Kookaburra, land of the ’roo,
Home of the magpie, and morbid curlew,
Land of the waratah, the sweet lyre bird,
Out in the North the tall emus herd.
Land of the white man, our God has ordained, that —
You shall be ruler despite all you lack,
Noble your Statesmen, who founded and built,
Red was the blood your pioneers spilt.
Australia the beautiful pagans would wrest,
All that is glorious, sacred and blest,
We’ll fight on the land, in the sky and the sea,
Gladly thy Sons would die to save thee.
— Ruby Jean Stephenson.
Eyre’s Peninsula Tribune (Cowell, SA), 18 November 1943, p. 4
blest = (archaic) blessed
negro = a black person; someone of black African racial origin [in this poem, the writer refers to the Australian Aborigines as “negro”; however, that is an incorrect description, as that term generally refers to black Africans, distinct from black Australian Aborigines]
pagan = someone who follows a non-Christian religion; an adherent of a polytheistic religion; a heathen [in the context of this poem, the phrase “pagans would wrest” is referring to non-Christian Asians (“pagans”) wanting to wrest control of Australia away from the white population]
’roo = (abbreviation) kangaroo
soareth = (archaic) soars
thee = (archaic) you (regarding a person as the object in a sentence)
thy = (archaic) your
[Editor: Changed “waratah” to “waratah,” (inserted a comma).]
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