HERBERTON 2

BIRTH PANGS

The earth up-thrust
by Rainbow serpent dreaming
red thunder roar
of twisted earth
heaving the Great Divide
where the mists came down
and dream time passed
from the people.

Other men came
seeking what the granite held
in stony grip, from Yamany [1].
Along the Wild River
hoping for gold,
they found first hardship
and hot fever
and finally, tin ore,
smelted in a tree stump
of the Malanda.

New names were heard
not known to the people
Atherton, Herberton and Cairns,
and men were killed
at Wondecla and Watsonville
as strangers came
to take the land.

They dug out mines with foreign names
Wild Irishman, Erin-Go-Bragh, Soggoarth,
all seeking where the Rainbow hid
the treasure lodes
with jealous guarding.
And a town was born
from bark hut and tent
miner’s slab cabins
where dome houses of the people’s
lives were spent.

The world has turned,
and now the rich, volcanic soil
yields other crops
of wood and sugar-cane
while Yamany sleeps
still dreaming
below the rain-forest.

[1] Rainbow serpent

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