Heading photographs by Harry Whaite (1912-2011)

 

 

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Dorothy Lawry
from "Sing with the Wind"
Published by Envirobook 1989

A Rhyme Re A Road

Weather

 
With food, tents, and clothing upon their backs,
All more or less hidden in bulging rucsacs,
Six weird looking people one morning set out -
Ignoring the smiles of the folk round about -
Set out on the road to Audley.
 
Then charged down the hill a big charabanc
At a perilous pace past the tramping throng,
Whilst a boy to the back very frantically clung,
And, oh, how he bounced, and he clutched, and he swung,
Ah down the long road to Audley!
 
Though the size of their packs made the other folk stare,
The Gypsies strode off with a carefree air,
And priests, youths, and families easily passed,
Arriving there first though they'd started off last
A tramping the road to Audley.
 
Across the stone causeway, near Carrington Drive,
Some country-folk met them and scarce could survive
The sight of those Gypsies so weird and so glad -
Who must really be mad --and quite probably bad -
Whom they met on the road to Audley.
 
Then into the bush the six disappeared
But were heard of next day when the weather had cleared
From a couple who'd stood up all night in the rain,
Then decided to go back to Sydney again,
Following the road to Audley.
 
At Curracurrang near the Smuggler's cave
We next see the Gypsies so strong and so brave,
Where they picked up a tortuous cattle track,
And tramped on along 'neath a driving cloud wrack,
Far from the road to Audley.
 
At lunchtime that day beside a stream
They suddenly rose with one loud scream;
While the black snake turned with a wriggly squirm
And went off full speed, like a timid worm,
For the faraway road to Audley.
 
In the end they packed up their fat rucsacs again,
To return to drab work amidst thousands of men!
Ah, woe is me! Alas! and Alack!
Why need we ever again go back,
Back by the road to Audley?
 
At the top of the hill the sextet met
Some wowsers strange who're staring yet,
If they haven't all died of the shock they got,
When they sighted that singing, tramping lot,
Some miles from the road to Audley.
 
Off porridge and fish in the midst of a stream
Those Gypsies dined on a sand-bar cream,
Whilst the motorists past them chugged and raced
(By their dust and noise all too easily traced)
Along the road to Audley.
 
Up a last long hill and around a bend
They suddenly came to the journey's end,
When the train roared up on its way to town;
And their hearts sank heavily down and down
"Goodbye, Oh Road to Audley!"
 
Dorothy Lawry
October 1921
.
 
Oh, we pitched the tent in darkness by some gum-trees on the plain.
We were wakened in the morning by the magpies, and the rain.
The rain was sharply splashing on the ground all round our bed,
While the magpies held a concert in the gum-trees overhead,
So we rose and rolled our bedding ere the flood came in the tent,
Then we donned our capes and rucksacks, and along the mad we went...
Splashing through the puddles, plodding through the rain;
Wondering at the spirit that had dawn us from the train!
For the train was going homewards to the city by the sea,
Where the people live in comfort not to speak of luxury,
But we left the train at midnight at a village dark, unknown,
Where the folk were jazzing madly to a blaring saxophone;
And we tramped along the high road o'er bleak and treeless plain,
While the helpful moon was smothered by black clouds that threatened rain...
Listening to the frogs rejoicing, sniffing the damp breeze,
Wondering would rain come ere we found some sheltering trees...
At length a clump of gums were sighted, and to them gladly went
And, sheltered by their stalwart trunks, we ate; then pitched our tent
The rain next morning roused us with its soggy, swampy splash,
And we paddled through the mud and slush without our former dash;
While the rain streamed on unceasing, and the road went on and on;
And 'Why do we come camping?" was the constant cry of Con -
Wiping the rain from her glasses, plodding along through the mud,
Small wonder if Contie was feeling adventure was lost in the flood!
But at midday a breeze came blowing, driving the clouds away,
And turning that sodden morning to a joyous sparkling day.
Flocks of parrots arose like bubbles; fleecy clouds were froth overhead;
All the air was rarest wine while we went where the roadway led
Over hill and down dale, through field and bush, we lightly swung along,
While Contie's plaintive morning cry became a lilted song...
"Why do we come camping? How the clouds race by!
Why do we come camping? Let the romping breeze say why!"
 
Dorothy Lawry
1926