When Philip landed in 1788 — Australia

Ladies Original Poem Award — Snowy Mountains Poets Championships, Australia 1998 (I have not been able to locate the poet’s name.)

Possible introduction to using this poem in worship:

On World Environment Day, may we be mindful of the sins against the environment and the creator that we have committed in the name of beauty, expediency, and pleasure. We may be unaware of the destructive effect of our decisions, even taking pride in our ability to overcome nature’s resistance.  Listen as I read this poem which won the Ladies Original Poem Award at the Snowy Mountains Poets Championships in 1998.

When Philip landed on our shores in 1788
He cried, “dear God, you got it wrong !.  We’ll fix it for you mate.”
Now, look at all those scraggly trees – eucalypts, I think they are called.
We’ll chop them up for firewood.  It’s great to hear them fall.

We need the land to be all bare, so we can use a plow
to grow some decent grass and seed to feed our horse and cow.
and what about my greyhound dogs?  Good job I brought some rabbits.
they couldn’t chase those animals with tails and bouncing habits.

I’m sure the bunnies will like it here.  They won’t get out of hand,
for after all, they’ll think like us… it’s pretty awful land.
So Philip started off with glee, to make it like “back home.”
And as successive settlers came, they slowly started to roam.

They cleared the land, and introduced the species called “exotic”
which only meant, they brought to Aus some flora diabolic.
like Patterson’s curse, and St. John’s wort… such pretty little flowers.
It didn’t take them long to spread about, with the wind and showers.

And then came berries, black and red… they made delicious jam.
But how they thrived and grew so well, across the entire land.
The list is almost endless of the species introduced.
The aborigines couldn’t believe the white men’s [sic] land abuse.

The chemical companies yelled, “you beaut–we’ll really do our best”
producing pesticides and drugs to kill those awful pests.
And so the great imbalance came to poor defenseless Aus.
if only we had realized the great land that it was.

But bit by bit we are seeing now, that God was pretty right.
And if we try, each one of us to work with all our might.
To do our share in fixing up the damage we have done.
Our great land Aus will shine again
beneath the Golden Sun.