Letter From Gympie 2020

JANUARY 2020. 

Moving to Gympie and writing newsletters has revitalized friendships.

The enjoyment of my Christmas in Sydney was extended by the euphoria of getting together with two friends a few days afterwards. The friendship goes back 53 years.

As elsewhere in Australia during December and January, Gympie had more than its usual number of very hot days. Televised 24 hour news showed bush fire fighters throughout the nation treading unbelievably in paths of danger. So many people so badly affected by bush fires were in need of practical kindness. 

Dorothea Mackellar’s poetically expressed love of a sunburnt country included droughts and flooding rains, beauty and terror. Her pitiless blue sky turned grey and hazy; she described being sick at heart on seeing the cattle die. (1) Written at age nineteen, her poem was first published in London four years later in 1908. The second verse has been described as “probably the best known stanza in Australian Poetry” (2).  

Shattered regions, towns and communities will hopefully be restored with visionary planning, innovation and imagination. But above all else, the opportunity to bring to bear world inspiring national achievement through political bipartisanship is evident (3). 

 (1) Mackellar, Dorothea, My Country.With Decorations & Illustrations by J.J.Hilder (1985).    {2}Wilde, W.H. Hooton, Joy, Andrews, Barry, editors The Oxford Companion to Australian literature (1994).    (3) Jackson, Steve Weekend Australian. (18 -19 January 2020) p2 quoting Peter Holmes a Court: “We have the world’s attention: it’s now up to us ”.