Friday, January 15, 2010

New England Granite

For those who do not know Australia's New England, the term is used in two ways.

"The New England" refers to the New England Tablelands, Australia's largest tablelands area stretching from the edge of the Hunter Valley into what is now southern Queensland.

New England without the the - also known as the North, Northern Districts or Northern Provinces - refers to the broader area covering the Tablelands and the river catchments extending from the Tablelands.

Each area has its own unique character, something that I tried to capture a little of in The colours of New England.

In a comment on UNE passings - death of Margaret Mackie (1914-2009),  Kerith Power included the lyrics of a song he had written to celebrate Margaret Mackie. I quote the chorus:

I find my touchstone in the New England granite, feel the bare bone under the skin
Walk on bedrock, feet fairly planted, see the end of all my meanings and where I begin.

New England granite! Those from The New England know the granite. Its outcrops, boulders and soil are central.

Poet Judith Wright's South of My Days is almost the national poem of those from The New England. I reviewed this poem in The Poetry of Judith Wright - South of My Days.  I won't repeat either the poem or the whole post, just one part. 

rises that tableland, high delicate outline
of bony slopes wincing under the winter,
low trees, blue leaved and olive, outcropping granite

All those from the Tablelands will immediately understand these words. The picture will come to them at once.

As Keith says, granite is the bedrock of New England. This is, indeed, the end of all my meanings and where I begin.    

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