Lost Heritage – The Christmas Bell (Blandfordia flammea)
From the dream time of this southland till the settlers made their way
To the Wallum* lands along the Sunshine Coast,
In their season glorious wildflowers formed a carpet overlay,
Things of wonder that the tribesmen valued most.
Recent settlers soon discovered that their fragrant Christmas bell
Was of value to the Brisbane city fellow.
So these settlers picked in season, and they bundled them to sell
Cutting swampland flowers coloured white and yellow.
Struggling settlers made their living from the swampy coastal land
And the tribesmen watched it all with fascination,
In the Wallum children garnered, running through it hand in hand
While their kin-folk swatted gnats in resignation.
On the Landsborough railway platform in a blaze of orange gold
Were the bunches and the crates of Christmas bell,
There they rested at the station for the mail train it is told
Waiting Station Master’s “trains a comin” yell!
With Pacific war behind them, and our soldiers coming home
There was pressure to develop Wallum land,
Then the dozers came in convoys to prepare the sandy loam
And this action cleared the Wallums cover band.
Now the old folk tell their stories of those times of long ago
Of the glories of the pademelon** land,
Where the struggling settler harvested, now urban gutters flow
And the people work their gardens in the sand.
Is the Christmas bell a casualty of modern living taste?
We have sacrificed some treasures it is true
As we head into the future let the lesson not prove waste
Future citizens will judge us if we do.
“© Ian Grice 2011, all rights reserved”
Dreamtime is that time in pre-history in which aboriginal legends were formed.
* Wallum. Bush covered coastal lands along the Sunshine Coast, Australia
** Pademelon. Tiny kangaroos frequenting swamplands in the early days of the Sunshine Coast, Australia