Heading photographs by Harry Whaite (1912-2011)

 

 

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Contents

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Bushwalking Poetry
The Poems listed are from 
"Sing With the Wind", Colin Gibson, editor. 
Envirobook 1989
Contents
Introduction

 

Alex Colley

 

Bushwalkers reading these poems will re-live the feelings and experiences they have enjoyed in the bush even though they may be unable to express them in the verbal music of poetry.

A number of themes recur in the poems. The main one is love of the bush. Poetry is the ideal medium for describing its beauty and variety. Next comes companionship enriched by humour. No social activity equals bushwalking in bringing people from all stations of life together and creating close friendships. Another strong theme is escape from the "crowded life and gritty of the dusty dirty city". In the early days the bush was simply an impediment to be destroyed to make way for rural expansion.

Later, as cities grew, the "open spaces" came to have an appeal akin to the American west. Folk heroes were mainly bushrangers, drovers, shearers and stockmen. Then, as the cities grew, citizens sought relaxation in what remained of the bush, and many realised that it is only on foot that one can really "get away from it".

As many of the poems depict these pleasures don't always come easily. Walkers must be prepared to leave their cosy homes, soft beds, television sets and even their cars, and carry their packs over rough country, through thick scrub and up steep mountains. They will encounter heat, cold and wet. But for those who are fit and experienced the effort and the exercise of the bushcraft skill necessary to enable them to camp comfortably in the bush, are part of the enjoyment They know that the easy life is often a dull one and every walk is something of a challenge and an adventure.

Love of the bush makes bushwalkers ardent conservationists. Today's burgeoning nature conservation movement was originated by the early bushwalkers, and many of today's leading conservationists are bushwalkers. One of the five objects of our oldest bushwalking club is "to establish a definite regard for the welfare and preservation of the wild life and natural beauty of this country"

Alex Colley, OAM.

1989