Bush Music Club Songs, Tunes & Poetry competitions
I was thrilled to learn last night that I had won first prize in the poetry section of the Bush Music Club Song, Tunes & Poetry competition.
This is the first time I have entered. Indeed, I would not have been aware of its existence if Maggie Somerville, singer, mandolin player, and songwriter from Ringwood Folk Club, had not drawn it to my attention.
Congratulations, too, to Maggie, for winning the Tune section, as well as being runner-up in both the Song and Tune sections.
Here is my winning poem.
You talk of old Australia, with the flooding rain and drought;
Of the shearer, of the drover; of the cook, the rouseabout;
You talk of paddle steamer, or of bullock team and dray;
It’s the noisy, smoggy city where we congregate today.
You talk of red Australia, and the hulking Uluru;
Of the emu and the brolga, of the bounding kangaroo;
You talk of Kata Tjuta, like a buried monster’s spine.
It’s in the boutique restaurants we like to meet and dine.
You talk of white Australia, and the mountains capped with snow,
Where only hardy currawongs and wombats care to go;
Or hibernating possums fast asleep beneath a drift.
We like a bright skyscraper with a fast ascending lift.
You talk of blue Australia, with its narrow rim of sand,
Where breaching humpback whales provide performances so grand;
Whale sharks up at Ningaloo, or dolphins in the surf.
The bitumen and footpath offer more familiar turf.
You talk of green Australia, with the moss, the ferns, the trees;
The dew drops in the morning, and the cool and healing breeze;
The nesting cassowaries, or the stealthy thylacine,
But we prefer the steady purr of petrol-fuelled machine.
We don’t think of Australia as we make our busy way
Through the surging hordes and traffic of another hectic day.
“No room for sentiment,” we say, but all’s not as it seems.
Australia comes, with scented gums, and greets us in our dreams.
© Stephen Whiteside 07.11.2013
The snow is here once again.
Skiers understand full well the impact of global warming.
My father introduced me to skiing. His first snow trip was Mount Hotham in 1964. It was a bumper year. He told me how, at the end of the season, when the snow melted, cars were found to have been parked on top of other cars. Caused a lot of damage.
So, how much snow do you need before you don’t realise there is another car under you when you park? At least two metres, I would have thought.
These days, you are very happy to get one metre of snow. When I checked the Hotham web-site last week, there was about 30cm of natural snow, and 60 cm of man-made snow. There was no need for snow making in the 60s!
My first year of skiing was Mount Buller in 1968. It was another bumper year. I was in Year 8, and staying in the Scotch College lodge, Koomerang.
A long flight of steps had been dug down through the snow to gain access to the front door. We skied off the back balcony every morning. Shelves dug into the solid wall of compacted snow that greeted you when you opened the lodge door downstairs served as a second fridge.
Here are a few photos I’ve taken up in the snow country over the years.
This would have to be the best photo I have ever taken in the snow. I was skiing from Mount Loch across to Spargo’s Hut. I looked up to my left, and could not believe how beautiful the view was. I snapped it quickly. Blue sky. Virgin snow. As close to perfection as I’m every likely to see.
Mount Feathertop would have to be Victoria’s most beautiful mountain. (It is also the state’s second highest mountain, after Mount Bogong.) This photo was taken with a telescopic lens from Hotham.
The currawongs are your constant companions up in the snow.
Mount Buller is also a great place to ski. My favourite place to eat there is Koflers Restaurant, shown here. Don’t forget to try the Chocolate Rip-off Cake or the Apricot Mogul – preferably both!
This photo, with the Bluff in the background, shows just how isolated Koflers is. No wonder the food is not cheap!
Here is a great shot of the Bluff!
At Hotham, the surrounding mountains are generally also above the snow-line. At Buller, they are mostly below. It makes for a very different view, but it is also very beautiful.