A Changing of The Guard

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A Changing of The Guard

Post by Terry » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:41 pm

This poem is about a true happening that occurred when the mining companies moved in and started buying many of the stations. Before this they had been owned by the same old families for generations.
They put in managers who were more often townies and didn’t have a clue about the country - or a feeling for it either.
The poem is based on something that happened to me and others.
I loved the lifestyle of the old ways, before these changes took place.

An earlier version was on the old forum.


It seems I am a stranger too, throughout this land I thought I knew,
I’m banished from this place I love; told by the Cocky to move on.
With heavy heart I’ve started back along the dusty Linden track,
still shocked from what has just occurred – an outcast now, my freedom gone.

The chap had been so rude as well, quite brusque and arrogant as hell,
he’d waved his arms and cursed a lot and ordered me to leave that day.
I could have caused a bit of strife, but much prefer the peaceful life,
despite my rights to be out here I now no longer wished to stay.

I’ll miss my camp beneath the trees that gently swayed to cooling breeze
and glistened in the morning sun then offered shade on warmer days.
My hideaway for twenty years; a cool refuge as summer nears,
a magic place of solitude that’s hidden in the breakaways.

For years this was my second home, a welcomed guest and free to roam
out through this wild and pristine place, of beauty hard to now explain.
I’d wander through eroding hills and search for gold with all its thrills,
then rest awhile and look around to marvel at this land again.

In days gone by I’d sip a brew while at the station passing through,
I’d bring along the latest news and drop in bread and papers too.
But friendliness of bygone days is fading fast in many ways,
for strangers run the stations now and lack the warmth that I once knew.

Disheartened still I move along, resigned by now, but know it’s wrong.
I note each landmark as I pass and wonder if I will return.
There’s Tin Dog flats my winter camp, a handy spot when things got damp,
the gold was always small out here, but weather was my main concern.

For years I’d camped near Red Dog Hill and faced the brunt of winters chill,
yet still I loved those days spent here down by that old abandoned shack.
But things have changed a lot of late; this station bloke is not my mate
and so, I head on slowly out along this old familiar track.

A baker’s oven rusted brown is all that’s left of Linden town,
not even ghosts would linger here; there’s not a building left to haunt.
Some broken glass reflects the sun around this place where myths were spun,
while ancient piles of old tin cans completes a scene that’s bleak and gaunt.

The Camelbacks come into view cloaked in a shroud of misty blue,
mysterious and challenging they seem to beckon me once more.
Their craggy slopes are creased and bare except for rocks that balance there,
as though defying gravity while clinging to that barren tor.

I pause awhile at Murphy’s well and think of stories it could tell,
of men from many walks of life who’d stopped to wash the grime away.
The shearers and the mining types that rested here and smoked their pipes,
while swapping yarns and bits of news as they would pass the time of day.

Then down the road through weathered hills past flashing blades of creaking mills,
a sadness now descends on me, is this to be my last time here?
For forty years I’ve come this way, will I be back, it’s hard to say,
who knows what lies ahead of us, sometimes these problems disappear?

©T.E. Piggott

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Re: A Changing of The Guard

Post by r.magnay » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:22 am

Yeah, good onya Terry, hardly seems fair really, and in fact it probably isn't. We learn to accept change as we get older, not that we are always happy about it, we sure don't need some upstart to rub our noses in either...

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Re: A Changing of The Guard

Post by Terry » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:34 pm

G/day Ross

I hear what you're saying mate and there's a lot of common sense in what you say.
I'm not suggesting that all the old station owners were super friendly because they weren't.
Some had a bit of the Lord of the Manor about them until after awhile when you'd earned your spurs so to speak.
But once you were accepted, in general you were treated OK - mind you it took time to get there with some of them.

They had a bit of an old world way about them, I guess you could say, and some of the managers that were put in were ok too.
These were mostly blokes who came from those remote areas -
mind you there was the odd mongrel among them as well which no doubt tended to cloud the issue.

In general with the exception of a couple blow-ins I had few difficulties, I always tried to do the right thing and that helps.


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Re: A Changing of The Guard

Post by Shelley » Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:04 pm

Oh, I really like this poem, Terry.

It is brimming with poignancy and memory, with a mixture of regret and resignation as unwelcome changes force themselves upon you. I guess in one way or another most of us have had to let go of cherished things, so it resonates.

Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

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Re: A Changing of The Guard

Post by Neville Briggs » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:16 pm

That's a great one Terry. Sadly nostalgic .

Good will seems to be getting in short supply in a lot of places, Unfriendliness seems to be expected , I seem to get surprised now by a friendly engagement out there. Do to others what you would want others to do to you seems a simple formula but too hard for some to grasp. I grew up in a different world to you but I still feel that twinge when I see former things being torn apart or the quiet street where I used to blow the paperboy's whistle made into urban horrors.
" Prose is description, poetry is presence " Les Murray.

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Re: A Changing of The Guard

Post by Terry » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:21 pm

Thanks Shelley

You have picked up the exact sentiments I was feeling at the time.
I still have great memories about the place in question; I loved the solitude and the beauty of it,
and had visited it on and off for over 40 years.

I really appreciate your kind words.

Last edited by Terry on Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Changing of The Guard

Post by Terry » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:28 pm

Thanks Neville

Nothing lasts forever as they say I guess.
But there are some things that we can't forget, nor want to,
and as you and Shelley both say, we all have our special memories of things that used to be.



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Re: A Changing of The Guard

Post by Ron » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:03 am

G'Day Terry,
Really enjoyed that mate, so true of the changing things in life that we seem to have to accept these days (that doesn't include P.C. though!). But it is not only the change, but the acceleration of change that seems the hard thing to grasp at times.
Reminds me of the lines in that old Sixties song (of which the title escapes me) "The grass don't grow and the river don't flow like it did in my childhood days!"
I guess we are lucky to have the good memories though.

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Re: A Changing of The Guard

Post by Catherine Lee » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:33 pm

Wow, Terry, I really like this - so poignant, and aside from anything else, also educational for me! As Shelley says, it truly does resonate with many of us as far as past times, dealing with change, and things we've had to let go of. This is a wonderful poem.

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Re: A Changing of The Guard

Post by Terry » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:14 pm

Thanks Catherine
It was a very special place and although it was on a large station, there was one particular part of it I loved. It was like an oasis, with groves of shady Gimlet and large York Gums among the break-a-ways but surrounded by harsh arid country. We always had our end of the season summer camp there. I remember one day sitting outside our camp at lunch time when a large goanna over a metre and a half metre long came up and licked Valma’s toes, she never flinched either. I don’t think I have ever been more relaxed than when I was there, I really loved the solitude found there. Valma loved the place as well.


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