“They” say we have no history, but “they” don’t understand.
We know it’s steeped in history, it’s a proud and ancient land.
Hume and Hovell, Burke and Wills made tracks across the years;
Each wrote a page of history, in blood and sweat and tears.
Other lands have Beech and Oak and Chestnut wide and big,
We have a leaning Coolabah and carved there, simply, “dig”.

Europe has its crumbling ruins, weather torn and worn,
But we had painted cave walls before the Christ was born.
The black man drew his history that all who come might read
the lifestyle of his people, his faith, his hopes, his creed;
His stories of the Dreamtime, of battles fought and won.
His axe of stone and spearhead now lie idle in the sun.

The pioneers who heard the call to move to further West
To open up the trackless land beyond the mountain’s crest;
Just how that land was conquered is part of history now,
The wild free land has yielded to axe and fence and plough.
They say we have no history! How can they understand
Deserted homes and lonely graves on shifting desert sand.

The young men of our nation who bravely marched to war
To fight another’s battle; to heal another sore;
To fight, but not surrender. To fall on foreign earth.
Gallipoli and Flanders fields gave our army birth.
Those critics of our heritage, I wonder have they tried
To see the grim Kokoda where young Australians died?

They say we have no history, no heritage they claim
But “they” never yoked a bullock or saw a camel train.
No other country anywhere can boast a finer thing
Than Australia’s Flying Doctor doing rounds on silver wings.
Those faded ancient manuscripts of a bygone golden age
Will dim while young Australians will write another page.

Though men bound down in iron chains began our history.
With shackles gone, from that day on, Australia has been free.
A land where men can speak their minds and follow any creed,
A blend of race and culture, a brave new Aussie breed.
So guard her well all you who live beneath her skies of blue,
In days to come we’ll show the world just what this land can do.
Maureen Turner

In giving permission to reprint her poem, Maureen wrote: “I am the daughter of Irish migrants and this has probably made me the most fiercely Australian Australian there ever was. It was a remark made by one of my Irish “rels” who said ‘Australia has no history’ that prompted this poem.


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