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  • peter-macinnis 3 Feb 2012 at 16:16
    The spelling is a challenge, but besides gunya, we see here Coogee (Coodge), and waratah (warretaw).

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7 corrections, most recently by InstituteOfAustralianCulture - Show corrections

Original Poetry.



"Where spreads the sloping shaded turf  

By Coodge's smooth and sandy bay, And roars the ever-ceaseless surf,

I've built my gunya for to-day.

"The gum-tree with its glitt'ring leaves  

Is sparkling in the sunny light,  

And round my leafy home it weaves

Its dancing shade with flow'rets bright. "And beauteous things around are spread;    

The burwan, with its graceful bend   And cone of nuts, and o'er my head

The flowering vines their fragrance lend. "The grass-tree, too, is waving there,  

The fern-tree sweeping o'er the stream, The fan-palm, curious as rare,

And warretaws with crimson beam.

"Around them all the glecinæ  

Its dainty tendrils careless winds,

Gemming their green with blossoms gay,

One common flower each bush-shrub finds.

"Fresh water, too, is tumbling o'er  

The shell-strewn rocks into the sea;   'Midst them I seek the hidden store,

To heap the rich repast for thee.

"But where is Bian? — where is he? —

My husband comes not to my meal:   Why does he not the white man flee,

Nor let their god his senses steal?  

"Lingers he yet in Sydney streets?    

Accursed race! to you we owe,  

No more the heart contented beats.

But droops with sickness, pain, and woe. "Oh ! for the days my mother tells,  

Ere yet the white man knew our land;   When silent all our hills and dells,

The game was at the huntsman's hand. "Then roamed we o'er the sunny hill,  

Or sought the gully's grassy way, With ease our frugal nets could fill

From forest, plain, or glen, or bay.   "Where sported once the kangaroo,  

Their uncouth cattle trend the soil,

Or corn-crops spring, and quick renew,

Beneath the foolish white man's toil.

"On sunny spots, by coast and creek,  

Near the fresh stream we sat us down ; Now fenced, and shelterless, and bleak,

They're haunted by the white man's frown."

She climbed the rock—she gazed afar—

The sun behind those mountains blue        

Had sunk; faint gleamed the Western star,  

And in the East a rainbow hue

Was mingling with the darkling sea;   When gradual rose the zodiac light, And over rock, and stream, and tree,

Spread out its chastened radiance bright. So calm, so soft, so sweet a ray,

It lingers on the horizon's shore;     The echo of the brighter day,

That bless'd the world an hour before.

But sudden fades the beam that shone,

And lit the earth like fairy spell;  

Whilst in the East, the sky's deep tone

Proclaims the daylight's last farewell. "Fast comes the night, and Bian yet  

Returns not to his leafy bed;  

My hair is with the night-dew wet —

Sleep comes not to this aching head. "The screeching cockatoo's at rest;    

From yonder flat the curlew's wail

Comes mournful to this sorrowing breast,

And keenly blows the Southern gale. "Avaunt ye from our merry land!    

Ye that so boast our souls to save,

Yet treat us with such niggard hand:  

We have no hope but in the grave." Thus sung Toongulla's wretched child,

As o'er her sleeping babe she hung, Mourning her doom, to lead a wild

And cheerless life the rocks among.

Their health destroyed — their sense depraved —

The game, their food, for ever gone;   Let me invoke religion's aid  

To shield them from this double storm

Of physical and moral ill;  

We owe them all that we possess — The forest, plain, the glen, the hill,

Were theirs;—to slight is to oppress.