The Bathurst Plain
By Brenda Saunders
‘Latest Discoveries: fine open country…with wooded plains
reminiscent of an Englishman’s estate’
The Expeditions of Major Mitchell, State Library of NSW.
We watched them come with new ideas for change, create
‘a green and pleasant land’ on dusty plains, clear our wildlife
for sport or game. They brought Red coats, mulled wine.
Hounds for the English hunt, chasing a fox on the run.
Smoothed the outcrops, straightened our snaky trails
for the shortest route to town. Cleared forests, squared
the land into parcels bound with wire. They drove sheep
onto patchy runs, planted seed in a land with no seasons.
They gave new names to our rivers and creeks. New laws
defied our old beliefs, sent starving families drifting
off Country. Skirmishes turning the tribe in on itself
knowing the white man had come to stay.
Originally published by Hybrid Publishers.