Long Poem #4: Dead at Deep Creek
I'm Dead at Deep Creek
Lexington, April twenty-sixth eighteen
forty seven. Or rather, at three
o'clock in the morning, after a day's
severe fatigue shifting a hut for
the purpose of lambing down a flock
at the sugar loaf hill. I retired
to bed about seven o'clock and
after having slept about Three hours,
sleep refused any further solace.
I arose at two o'clock, made up
the fire in the sitting room, and
to amuse myself have recourse to
the expedient of noting some
trifles for the divertisement of
myself and my children hereafter.
It has often struck me that a note
of passing events might not only
in after times become pages of
valuable reference to myself,
but also contain interest and
instruction for my dearest children.
In fact I lament deeply having
allowed so many years to escape
without any such memorandum.
(I shall not write The Currency Lad,
with convict stain, who ran away to
sea, nor shipwreck in the Philippines,
nor dusky maiden in marriage mine.
It is all lies in any event.
From start to finish, the truth is bent.)
I must bear testimony here to
the unrepining devotion and
uninterrupted affection of
my dear partner. For without her mild
christian virtues I should have been a
basque tempest in a sea of passions.
She has been my star of destiny.
From a wild youth, she has centred my
affections on our domestic hearth;
may they continue to blossom there.
Should the Almighty spare the life of
of my son he will doubtless remember
the pure love of that mother, so that
whatever may be his course through life,
he will, from his early recollections,
be assured that the chief study of
man should be the cultivation of
-- a mild and virtuous partner.
On Wednesday, whilst riding under the
mountains to the right of Mount William,
I saw Three native dogs, Two Emu
and many Kangaroo. Yesterday
Ned Kenny, with a ewe flock, just on
lambing, had his flock 'rushed' by black's dogs.
One ewe killed and two young lambs, one ewe's
leg broken and many bit. Followed
them to Cole's station, determined to
shoot some of the dogs, but the blacks had
taken another direction. On
Sunday last we caught a native dog
in our box trap -- the third taken
in it. Today I gave a black's dog
a dose of poison. Their dogs destroyed
four of Kenny's ewes besides wounding
others. (I will not write of shooting
Coombermin and Mittecum, nor write
or Wob.bur.rer.min; Djab wurrung dead
by my gun in eighteen forty one.)
Almighty God, strengthen this household
in the fear and love of Thee, I pray.
Now to bed! (I can neither write
nor two lubras we shot, nor their two
infants "left without milk".) My children!
My little chickens continue well.
At this moment Cedric calls "Mamma!
Mamma!! Mamma!!! Want some tea!"
Poor little fellow; he dreams and is
asleep again. May the almighty
spare him to comfort his parents and
do credit to his country. Amen.
Captain Fyans called here Saturday
last. Miss Emily very saucy.
Captain Fyans remarked she had a
very bold eye! Trim your lamps, Miss Em!
On Monday last Tom commenced the
Multiplication Table. I shall allow
him a week for each new number.
He asked his Mother "If it was the
Money Table he was learning". "No".
"Ah" he said, "I ought to learn that first".
Sunday evening last I studied
and explained part of New Testament
to Tom -- I am not at all convinced
of the nature of the punishment
to be hereafter awarded to
sinners. From the infinite mercy
of the Almighty I doubt if a
'second death', as somewhere stated in
the testament, is not the award.
I shall glean various passages
which speak of this matter -- and then
reconsider them, but the more I
study the scriptures, the more I feel
convinced of their truth generally
-- as Historical Documents.
And during the evenings of the
past week I have re-read 'Addison's
Evidences of Christianity',
and I with pleasure affirm that from
Conviction I am a Christian,
for without his divine assistance,
man cannot correct the evil
propensities of his nature --
I was under the necessity
yesterday morning of inflicting
correction with a stick upon one
of my shepherds for his determined
peverseness. I also had some angry
words with the shearers whilst washing sheep.
It is usual with such men I am
sorry to say on these occasions
to run riot, if not kept under
strict government -- my words stayed their
ill conduct, and since then, they appear
satisfied. Opposition to order
and sobriety of demeanor
appear natural to the heart of
man. Two men whom I have just hired
as shepherds having deserted their
station Tuesday morning last, taking
with them a new pea coat and one pound
of Tobacco which they drew the night
before -- I followed their tracks four
hours after their departure with two
Blacks 'Tom and Jerry' and Jack and I
succeeded in overtaking them
at Mount Cole. They surrendered all the
property. Owing to numerous
quantity of ryegrass seed in the
wheat, we are compelled to have it hand-
picked by the black lubras. Yesterday week
my two outstations towards the Mount
Ararat were robbed of three double
guns and other property. Pursued
as far as Kirk's on the track where our
horses lost their fastenings, returned
home. One of the guns which was left at
Kirk's we recovered. (I dare not write,
my "lady in white" came again last night,)
How beautiful, how sublime are the
psalms of David! I trust that my dear
children will hereafter, perusing
these sentiments, humbly follow my
counsel, and spend their Sabbaths in the
high praise of their heavenly Father.
(and in her pale light I saw their
journey north droving ten thousand sheep
through shimmering Queensland heat
until they reach the darkened waterholes
and unload their drays in a bowl
of withered scrub and half-sleep in sweat
beneath canvas limp and heavy in the
noonday hush, and demon figures 'rush'
and spears rip tents and green-stone axes
crush skulls and brains and blood spill on sand.)
Look after, my boy, those ten thousand sheep.
My dearest son Tom, I'm dead at Deep Creek.