Illawarra quotes and poems
Quotes about the Illawarra
"...it seemed, on descending and entering Illawarra, that we had suddenly become transported into a glen of tropical vegetation; ...the dry arid soil of the stringy-bark forest, with its stunted vegetation, was exchange for a damp, humid region presenting a prodigal luxuriance and wealth of vegetation almost inconceivable."
"George Angus 1847"
“...this day we crossed the shallow entrance from the sea of Lake Illawarra...The Lake was illustrated by Natives in their canoes, looking very characteristic and beautiful, now that the process of English civilization had disarmed this part of the coast of those savage dangers with which it threatened Mr Flinders and Mr Bass, when they were here in the Tom Thumb.... The
view was so picturesque - the lake, the hills, the Aborigines, the spirit of them all - as to deserve a painter...”
"Barron Field, 20 October 1823"
"It was perhaps his favourite collecting area in the whole colony, a place where he was to find many a "botanical novelty" with a wet, temperate climate and sub-tropical vegetation, Illawarra was a welcome change from the dry scrubby brush which was typically found in the environs of Sydney. The unique Geography of the area - bounded as it was to the west by a sheer, 2000 foot high escarpment; to the east the Pacific Ocean; and on average no less than ten miles wide - gave rise to a natural hot house effect, creating a breeding ground for native flora, especially in those areas under the shadow of the escarpment."
Poems about the Illawarra
Lonely the wind sings,
Lonely the bird wings
Through fold of hill
Then all is still
In Windy Gully
Deep in the mountainside
Ninety-six miners died
Loud were there cries
Smoke filled the skies
Of Windy Gully
Closed now, the old pit
Sealed up, the mouth of it
Paid for the coal
Exacted the toll
In Windy Gully
Only the Rains Weep
Only the hills keep
Watch were men died
Know where they lie
In Windy Gully, in Windy Gully
"Wendy Richardson 1972"
Mickey Brennan's Ghost
Back in nineteen hundred and two after the Mt Kembla mineshaft blew
And men went back under working in the panels
One body was never found and remains underground
Entombed forever in Mt Kembla's history annals.
Winning coal was their mission, but there was always suspicion
Of any noise from a pit prop or post
Any timber creek or groan was interpreted as a moan
And attributed to Mickey Brennan's ghost.
Mickey loved it down there the mine and to while away the time
He wandered through the tunnels, his favourite haunt
He thought it was a lark that the pit was always dark
And there was always lots of men down there to taunt
But around sixty nine productions slowed down at the mine
And Mickey's ghost could see the writing on the wall
When they closed the bugger down he'd be stuck there underground
All alone, with no one there to haunt at all
Well he was not the type to roam so he had to find another home
A place where people gathered, a social hub
And he thought of just the place, there'd be people there to chase
So he left the pit and moved down to the pub.
He now lives happily in the cellar, a very contented fella
And comes out only sometimes, late at night
When it's dark and bleak he might illuminate and speak
Just to give the publican a fright
So if you're ever in Mt Kembla with a taste for liquid amber
And you're greeted by an ashan faced mine host
If he's still decidedly pale by the time you drink your ale
Chances are he's just encountered Mickey's ghost.
"Alan Tubman 2002"
Written for the Mt Kembla Mine Disaster Centenary Commemoration 31st July 2002
Winner in section of Poet's Breakfast 2003
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