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The Pioneers: No Turning Back (Poem)

Updated on January 24, 2013
BlossomSB profile image

Bronwen loves to enjoy literature and write poetry; some are in her book, 'Dithyrambles', available in her online bookstore.

'Albemarle' Passenger List 1853
'Albemarle' Passenger List 1853 | Source


'Twas the Year of our Lord, in eighteen-fifty-three,

When three brothers left Plymouth to cross the wild sea.

Cornish miners from Towan Cross, Phillips their name,

With a wife each f'Australia left parents and hame.

Albemarle was their ship, and she danced on the waves,

But conditions were cramped, so some met their graves.

CHORUS:

Hi lads, ho lads, and pull with a will,

There's work to do and stomachs to fill.

Look out for your kin and for good Cousin Jack,

Once you're embarked there's no turning back.


From low crawling in mines to fierce tossing in ships

For the days, weeks and months, with deep prayers on their lips,

'Til at last the gold beaches of Port Phillip Bay

Raised their hopes, and with joy they all shouted, "Hooray!"

Soon with sea-rolling gait they all staggered ashore

Claiming boxes and trunks, expectations galore. CHORUS


The high prices in Melbourne town were a shock

But the tents and supplies and the tools were in stock,

And they soon had amassed all their gear on a cart

For the trek to the diggings was ready to start.

With misgivings, but hopes high, they slowly began

With a child and three wives and each with her man. CHORUS

United Ajax  Mine
United Ajax Mine | Source


Up the hills, down the valleys, dark hardships untold,

Set up tents, took them down, endured rain and the cold,

And so night after night, gusty day after day,

With strange creatures abroad, and no time to pray,

'Til at last up in Castlemaine they pitched their tents

Near the mine called United Ajax; made sense. CHORUS


What a struggle it was! For those first few years there -

Summer heat and the flies, or the chill winter air.

Now, young Emma waits Richard's small life-loving child

In that tent in the cold so far out in the wild;

On the first day of winter her labour began,

And the next week she died, but blessed their child-man. CHORUS


Helping hands came around, and a wet-nurse was found,

But our Richard did grieve her, then bought some ground.

Not again would it happen, that birth in a tent,

And in Campbell's Creek shortly, a home his intent.

In the day worked in mine and at night built his house,

And when all was complete, Richard found a new spouse. CHORUS



Letitia Jane Phillips
Letitia Jane Phillips | Source

So she soon had a child, who was later my Gran,

And another three born who then died in a six-year span.

Then in twelve years more bore five sweet children alive:

Sarah, Lizzie and Fanny, and Willie survive,

With young Harry the last one to fill up the pew

Of the Wesleyan Church, built so solid and new. CHORUS


So as families grew, the three brothers worked hard

Growing vegies and fruit, cows and pigs in their yard.

Brother Philip Mine-Captain, a score in the team,

And grew rich as they mined gold and followed the seam.

Then two brothers invested, in land was their might,

And our Richard tried, too, but he bought without sight. CHORUS


Letitia Phillips and Thomas Bate on their Wedding Day
Letitia Phillips and Thomas Bate on their Wedding Day | Source

Later, driving to Melbourne Town with oxen and cart,

With his family well-dressed, they were looking so smart,

Went our Richard to view what he'd purchase anew

At the corner of Collins 'n' Elizabeth, too.

But the cart to the axle in mud ran aground

So in anger he sold it for just seventy pound! CHORUS


So some fortunes went up, but in slumps they went down,

While Papa joined the band along Castlemaine Town,

And Mama taught the girls how to sew like a dream

To observe the Sabbath, and make butter from cream,

Until Great Grandpa Richard, he down a shaft fell,

Broke his back and was transported to heaven - or hell! O-o-o-oh!

CHORUS

Hi lads, ho lads, and pull with a will,

There's work to do and stomachs to fill.

Look out for you kin and for good Cousin Jack,

Once you're embarked, there's no turning back.


NOTE: I also wrote a tune for this, so it is a song as well.


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    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Rina Pinto: Thank you for your lovely comments. Finding out about our family trees is fun and it's great for our children and grandchildren to know about their roots. You're right, it is a song - I wrote a tune for it as well. May God bless you, too.

    • Rina Pinto profile image

      Rina Pinto 5 years ago from Dubai - UAE

      Hello BlossomSB ... wow! - A lovely way to introduce you family linage - A Narrative Poem/Lyrical-song! .. I am glad you did find your ancestors down the line .. beautiful way of keeping them alive in this Poem/Poetry Form.. Loved it .. God Bless you and the lovely talent you have in you. .. and like we all see a Beautiful Display of an Aussie - God Bless Australia and the ppl too.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      rahul0324: Lovely! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      oh! what a lovely score indeed! Magical creation.... i was humming all along....

      lovely

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Vellur: Thank you for visiting again and I'm glad you enjoyed reading about my ancestors. I think our family roots are important and it's good to celebrate them.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Visited again to read and enjoy this beautiful and awesome work of yours. Voted up and awesome again.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      stars439: Thank you for your comments. Australia is about the same size as the USA, but is not divided into so many states. It ranges from tropical, so yes, some parts are hot and humid, a large part is desert, and as we travel south it becomes cooler. We get snow on the mountain ranges in winter here in the south, but, having lived in the tropics. I revel in the changing seasons and love them. God bless you and happy hunting.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Interesting story, and you put some good work in it because it came out mighty fine. Sounds like being and Australian took a lot of hard work. Here in America , Australia is depicted as a tough probably hot land to live in , and we usually just see the Aborijaneez. I know I had to spell that word wrong. Movies are getting better , but not fast enough. Of course the best way to learn is to crack a book, or check the country out maybe by computer. After I get up off the floor today from ballancing the washer I will look up Australia. God Bless you Precious heart.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I'm glad you enjoyed visiting Sydney, although you missed the best State - Victoria!

      I think the early pioneers in the US did not have it easy either.

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      I visited Sydney once and loved it. I am in awe of the hardy people who settled Australia.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      the girls: Thank you. It's good to 'meet' you. God bless you, too.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      davenmidtown: I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I think a person's roots are important and we have so much to thank those courageous ancestors for. Thank you for your comments. By the way, I really enjoyed your hub about the bees.

    • the girls profile image

      the girls 5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Beautiful verses. Hope I can also "jam" with you BlossomSB! Blessings :-)

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Blossom! A great poem... It is something my dad would have sang while drinking a pint... or two...I found it an awesome piece of work because of the intricate way you have captured the hardships of life, travel and then life again for those pioneering people and prisoners. well done and Hi lads, ho lads, and pull with a will!

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Deborah Brooks: Thank you Debbie. Actually doing the research was a blessing, as well. It was so exciting finding that my ancestors and so many of my present-day connections are enthusiastic Christians, too. Lots of folk in the 'tree' have been musical and the day I was researching in some archives hidden away in a building and found a newspaper of the day that said my Great-Grandfather was a lead bass in the church choir as well as playing in a brass band, I couldn't help bursting into tears, it made him seem so real.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      tobusiness: I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Researching my family tree took several years, but it was great fun following up various leads; not so much when I reached a 'brick wall.' It also meant I found lots of cousins and family connections I didn't even know I had.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      this is so good blossom..,, like tobusiness said just brilliant.the poem and the story behind it.. awesome

      voted up

      Blessing to you

      Debbie

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Blossom, This is just brilliant, it felt like I was in the center of this epic, A pleasure to read all the way through. Even more so, when I realized this was your own family history, thank you so much for sharing.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Dear Joyce, thank you for your vote. We're proud of our soldiers and what they did to try and gain peace in the world.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      sgbrown: Thank you! Ancestors are important and give us roots and a feeling of belonging.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Vellur: It's not always easy to keep up the rhyming and the rhythm. I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      always exploring: Thank you. There are so many descendants that I seem to meet family connections in lots of places, but not many have the surname of Phillips any more.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I enjoyed this wonderful story/song. My Mother's father was an Australian spoldier.Voted up and beautiful, Joyce.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is a beautiful piece! Well done! Voted up and beautiful. :)

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      This is really awesome, enjoyed reading each and every word. Voted up.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      What a beautiful way to tell a story..Loved it..Bravo..

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      DrTruthman: I'm glad you enjoyed it. You probably do have relatives here. There are quite a lot of Australians whose ancestors arrived here that way, sometimes transported for something as trivial as stealing a handkerchief. Thank you for your vote.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Frank Atanacio: Thank you. You are quite right - I did write a tune for it as well.

    • Drtruthman profile image

      Drtruthman 5 years ago from Harlingen, Texas

      Loved this Blossom. I am so interested in the history of Australia. Supposedly I have relatives there.My people came to the Georgia Prison colony here in the USA from England and Debtors prison and were separated from many relatives who ended up going to the "prison colony" of Australia. My last name is OUTLAW. Is it any wonder I have that name?? LOL I voted UP all across.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

      what a wonderful score.. creative fun to read and hum along to ..