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Song of the Queenslander

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:25 pm
by Shelley
Having read Gary's latest forum post in the thread "The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry", and marvelled at his authentic and detailed model of an old Queenslander house, I thought I should post my "golden oldie" which pays tribute to this icon of our Sunshine State.

The poem is now being marketed in a range of merchandise featuring graphic art, in collaboration with local artist Jackalina Designs. The range of merchandise can be viewed here on my website: http://www.shelleyhansen.com/67/queenslander-collection

Song of the Queenslander
(c) Shelley Hansen

When you’re travelling North of the Border
and you’re passing through cities and towns,
keep an eye out – you’re certain to notice
(from the Tropics right through to the Downs)
the “Old Queenslander” – that’s what they call me.
I am etched in this State’s chequered past,
dating back to a time less oppressive
when the pace of life wasn’t so fast.

When the white men first came to this country
from their homelands, their house plans they brought,
and created a copy of Europe –
to preserve their traditions, they sought.
But in Southern States, weather is cooler –
they don’t have weeks of long summer days
when the coast is sweat-bathed from the ocean,
and the western plains bake to a glaze.

As necessity mothers invention,
so it was that my birth came to be.
When the settlements spread further northward,
very quickly the builders could see
that a new style of housing was needed –
raised on stumps, with a strong hardwood frame.
So for families living in Queensland,
soon the homestead of choice I became.

For my rooms were both airy and spacious,
and my large windows captured the breeze.
My verandah stood cool and inviting
in the shadow of large leafy trees.
But I’m sure I have rightly suspected
it was “under the house” they liked best –
where the kids scraped my dirt to play marbles,
and the old folk sat down for a rest.

I have housed both the rich and the famous,
generations of “working class” too;
and at times I have been out of fashion
when they wanted to find something new.
But opinions keep turning full circle
and I’ve come into favour again,
and I smile with a secret amusement
at the follies and foibles of men.

For they talk of the “Climate Smart Option”
to ensure that our footprint is “green”;
and it reads like a specification
of the things that I always have been.
So I still grace the streets of the suburbs,
and my grand design passes the test –
which just proves, though the fashions keep changing,
that the old ways are often the best!

Re: Song of the Queenslander

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:06 pm
by Terry
Hi Shelley

I saw plenty of them in my (much) younger days when still in my teens.
A mate and I spent a few months wandering up and down Queensland looking for work.
We eventually found work at a place called Ayre (is that how you spell it).
They used to say that it and Home Hill were twin towns as they were either side of the Burdekin river. It seemed almost every house was an old Queenslander, and most would have a great bunch of Banana’s hanging underneath; good to see you immortalising it in verse.
You still see them up north here and also in Darwin.

Regards

Terry

Re: Song of the Queenslander

Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:46 am
by Shelley
Hi Terry

Thanks, and yes, they certainly are a feature of Queensland - and Darwin. The town is Ayr and yes, it is a twin town to Home Hill. Sugar country.

Cheers
Shelley

Re: Song of the Queenslander

Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:56 pm
by Neville Briggs
I haven't been in one but I guess they did the job of coping with the climate. Nowadays houses are built to rely on air conditioning to survive the heat, such a fine idea when cost and supply of electricity is becoming problematic. Of course you can squeeze more air conditioned houses into a subdivision and make lots of lovely money.

Re: Song of the Queenslander

Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:24 am
by Maureen K Clifford
I miss my old Queenslander even though it was an endless money pit (as they are), and I love your poem immortalizing these old darlings. They are ideally suited for the Queensland climate and being on stumps of course they can withstand floods as well with minimal damage

Re: Song of the Queenslander

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:11 pm
by Ron
Good one Shelley,
(phew! for a minute I thought it was going to be about State of Origin. ;) ) They were certainly built for the climate weren't they and as Neville mentioned, not like todays eave tip to eave tip in the modern estates!! At least with the old girls there was room to move!
Enjoyed the read,
Ron

Re: Song of the Queenslander

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:21 pm
by Shelley
Thanks Neville, Maureen and Ron ...

Yes, certainly an icon up here, and a feature of Maryborough, my home town. But as Maureen rightly says - lovely to look at, but a money pit to own! My husband, a painting contractor, has painted many in his time!

But when it comes to coping with the climate, they really took advantage of the natural airflow.

Cheers
Shelley