Australia's Forgotten Flag

Oh! the Cross of deepest blue,
With the bright stars shining through,
That was raised, my sons, for you,
On a skirt of purest whiteness long ago,
Long ago,
Long ago,
On the field of far Eureka long ago.

Oh! the girl that sewed the silk,
Blue as skies and white as milk,
(Jeanie Scotland - of that ilk)
In the hut there by Eureka long ago -
Years agone -
Auld Lang Syne -
With her young dead digger sweetheart on Eureka long ago.

Oh! the prayer the diggers said,
With the Southern Cross o'erhead!
It is whispered by the dead -
In the graveyard by Eureka whispered still -
Whispered still,
Murmured still,
By the shades that haunt Eureka murmured still.

Oh! the brother and the mate,
In the bonds of love and hate,
Ah! the help that came too late,
When the diggers marched from Creswick to the dawn,
Years agone!
Long years gone,
Oh! the midnight march from Creswick to Eureka and the dawn!

Few, and taken by surprise,
Oh! the mist that hid the skies -
And the steel in diggers' eyes -
Sunday morning in September long ago;
And they grapple and they strike -
With the pick-handle and pike -
Twenty minutes freed Australia at Eureka long ago.

For the leader won his crown,
Though the flag was trampled down,
For it rose in Melbourne town,
Oh, it rose in Melbourne city that same year,
With a clear
Ringing cheer
Oh! it floated high in Melbourne that same year.

When the London strikers starved,
While old England's roast was carved,
And our loaf with them was halved,
Then they bore our flag through London wreathed in flowers,
Wreathed in flowers,
Wreathed in flowers,
In the dreary streets of London, brightest spot in those dark hours.

They have stained it mongrel red,
And the stars are dull and dead,
With a northern cross instead,
Oh. the bloodstain like a red star long ago,
Long ago -
Long ago -
Oh! the red star that was bloodstain on the goldfields long ago.

We're divided - we are curst,
By the paltriest and worst,
Parties striving to be first.
But the shots from far Eureka echo yet,
Echo yet, -
Echo yet.
And they rattle round my window in the wet.

Flag and banner of my dreams!
The time is not as it seems,
And the tide of freedom streams
With the spirit of the people over all.
We shall raise the bright flag yet,
Ne'er to falter or forget,
And 'twill go through many battles ne'er to fall.

Henry Lawson 1911


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2008 Selected Poetry
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