The following verse was written by Albert J. Wood. It is reproduced here in the belief that copyright for the item has lapsed, the author having died in 1940, but if you have any concerns in this regard please contact us. The source of the verse, where and when it was published, is now unknown. Many of the families mentioned in the verse can be found in the Circular Head Pioneers Index section of this site.
A Song of Circular Head
It's story in verse by Albert J. Wood
Back to the past on Fancy's facile wings,
With retrospective eyes my spirit swings,
And once again the Bushland spreads afar
From Rocky Cape to fertile Marrawah.
No sound of wholesome, conquering toil is there,
No axe or saw makes music in the air,
Only the roaming owners of the land
Win a precarious life from hill and strand.
But soon is heard the music of the axe,
And sturdy feet soon tread the bushland tracks;
Soon rise the rough bush cabins by the spring,
Where saw,and maul, and wedges loudly ring.
Brave Pioneers! I feel a flush of pride
For those who fought and beat the Bush, and died,
Leaving rich legacy for ever to the State,
In farmsteads cleared and fit to cultivate.
Coeval with the forest house or hut,
Lo! Stanley rises underneath the "Nut";
And ever round her quaintness croons the sea,
In bellowing storm or zephyred minstrelsy.
Under the frowning "Nut" they loved so well,
Where the eternal billows sink or swell,
Soothed, peradventure, by the mighty Deep,
The Pioneers of Stanley soundly sleep!
The Fergusons, the Tatlows, and the Fords,
Who made the town, but left of gold no hoards;
The Anthonys, the Breheneys, and the Burkes,
Who ne'er believed in windy words, but works.
Nor must the Bard forget the "Grand Old Man",
Loved H.G. Spicer, ever in the van,
Whose mantle has on K.C. Laughton fell,
Who gives the old town service true and well.
Soon Forest rises from the hand of toil,
A splendid settlement of fertile soil,
Famed for its "tubers" from the very start,
Its "redskins" first in ev'ry mainland mart.
Here fought the bush the Smedleys and the Stokes,
The Hanlons, Cryans, Hortons, kindly folks,
The Wells, the Waters, Bellingers and Blakes;
And soon their pluck a splendid district makes.
Here Fergusons and Haywoods soon are found;
Here Kings and Ollingtons subdue the ground;
The Blizzards and the Spinks' bear a hand
To make the Forest prosperous and grand.
Soon Irishtown is rising in its place,
The product of a sturdy, toiling race;
Who, conscious of its rich productive soil,
Put forth their best in energy and toil.
O'Hallorans and Carrolls, Spinks' and Kays,
O'Connells, Harveys, Reids, McPhees and Faheys,
These were the sturdy sires whose stalwart sons
Still carry on the work so well begun.
Still south or west the young men press again;
Lileah and Nabageena grow amain,
A land of fertile soil and splendid grasses;
The home of stalwart sons and winsome lasses.
Next fair Trowutta's mrytle forests call;
Beneath the biting axe they quickly fall
Till now her spreading borders, unconfined,
Enclose a terrain rich as one may find.
But, all the time, the men who "made" Duck River
Were pressing on in ceaseless, high endeavor,
Possessed of vision that the coming years
Would justify the faith of the Pioneers.
Leesville arose beside the sounding sea
To crystallize the name of J.S. Lee;
A man with splendid vision in his eyes
Of Progress which the future would comprise.
And well assisted these in olden days
The Pokes, the Marthicks, Lings,Youngs and Greys
All honoured names that still live far and wide
In farmers good, who dot the countryside.
Where, erstwhile, spread the dreary Mowbray Swamp,
Fair homes arise and happy children romp;
The Isle's best grasslands spring on ev'ry hand;
Rich verdure spreads as from a fairy wand.
The Butter Factory rears its stately pile,
The best, men say, within our fertile Isle;
Fit monument to one like William Geale,
Who wrought so well for others gain and weal.
And with that name, an honoured memory now,
Join up the names of Allen and Howe,
Both sterling men who saw the work begun,
And made the Factory second to none.
Still Progress keeps its onward, steady course,
Till come the railway and the "iron horse";
And once again we honour Spicer's name,
Who worked like Trojan til the railway came.
The swift years pass; new blood comes pouring in,
Resolved to fight the swamplands, and to win;
And Mella wide, and Mowbray rich, today
Show how they fought and conquered in the fray.
New mills arise like mushrooms near and far,
From Rocky Cape right down to Marrawah;
The "horse pugs" bellow on the "sneaking" tracks,
They sturdy bushman wield the saw and axe.
The "header in" are rushing timber through,
The "pullers out" all show what they can do;
The "dockermen" are working swift and well,
"And all goes merry as a marriage bell."
This was the time of axemen strong and good,
Who'd cut their way through anything in wood;
Lou Hardwick, Hanson, Cotton, Ainslie, Gale,
Whose feats are told in many a campfire tale.
Great sawyers, too hailed from the far Nor'-West,
World-beaters these, who met and downed the best;
Wherever bushmen meet this honour is unfurled,
"George Eaves and Harry Hanson, Champions of the World."
Now Montagu deserts the good old plough,
To pin its faith upon the dairy cow;
A land of splendid grass that's hard to beat,
In turning out the fluid white and sweet.
Her pioneers deserve a word of praise,
The Ennis', Sawards, Williams', Wilsons, Greys,
The Hansons, Quilliams, Youngs, and all the rest
Who gave the old-time Montagu their best.
Last but not least, see fertile Marrawah,
Whose fame for crops and cream has spread afar;
Land where the writer saw the grass knee-high
And sign of true Prosperity.
All honour to her sturdy Pioneers,
Who fought the forest through the vanished years;
And gave to Marrawah no idle boast:
"One of the richest districts on our Coast."
Here men like Albert Hanson and the Gales
Fought on and on with pluck that never fails;
Here Fords and Wiggs, and Wilsons side by side
Toiled in the fields from morn to eventide.