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Title: What is New England?
Contributor(s): Atkinson, Alan Thomas (author)
Publication Date: 2006
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Abstract: "0'er all the wide Australian land I've wandered far and near, Through dusky scrubs and dreary plains The haunts of pallid fear; 0'er valleys green and mountains high Where wild marsupials roam - Yet thou are dearer far to me My own New England home." So wrote John Wetherspoon, of Glencoe, near Glen Innes, in 1871, summing up in stumbling rhyme a real love of country. What was it he liked so much about New England? Most of his poem was a list of less interesting spots, from ancient Greece (over-rated, by comparison) to 'the red Barcoo' and the deserts of the Darling. But he did mention some local pleasures-or, as he called them, 'scenes which please my beating heart'. They included the mountains, '[m]ajesticin their height', the shaded valleys and New England's still famous waterfalls. Wetherspoon was not a brilliant poet. All the same, he was one of the first in this part of Australia to try to capture its landscape in verse. There were three places in the world he felt passionate about. One was Scotland, his native country, though he had left it as a child and he could barely remember it. The second was Australia, not yet federated. The third was New England. Only in the case of New England did he wrestle at length with his feelings and ideas, trying to put down on paper what it was like to live in a place so new and challenging. Some of his other poems give rousing accounts of the Scottish past and the Australian future, but his most interesting efforts were about the things he could see, touch and hear in his own region. He too seems to have asked himself, 'What is New England?' -or, at least, 'What does New England mean to me?'.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: High Lean Country: Land, people and memory in New England, p. 10-20
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Place of Publication: Crows Nest, Australia
ISBN: 9781741761092
Field of Research (FOR): 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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