Gundagai is the bend, the curve,
the turn in the Murrumbidgee River
ebbing and flowing – the ancient mother
of Wiradjuri children.
Settlers were awestruck by your beauty,
your promise. You were their
Garden of Eden almost undiscovered.
They slid in like snakes to the apple to
this place where
Wiradjuri knew no wants.
Strangers came with wagons of wire,
steel axes, muskets, diseases and bibles
full of their original sin. They scarred, raped
and built over deeper tracks that wind
back to a time that knows no fall
of man, or woman or child.
They wrote their new histories of
 triumph and progress – songs and poems
of lovers, larrikins, sheep, profits, droughts,
floods, fire, pioneers, bushrangers, troopers,
war – the stuff of colonial dreams.
They thought we’d gone. But Wiradjuri
Mother Country remembers all her children,
holds all our stories – keeps our Dreaming.
Centuries beyond this short history we are
still here to say at Gundagai
deeper tracks wind back.

View this poem on The Disappearing »

Jeanine Leane reads 'Tracks Wind Back'