The Christmas Bell

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

6 thoughts on “The Christmas Bell

  1. Glad you’re out of your dark mood. Sounds like the winter season is on track as that’s the time of year for dark moods with less sunlight. I like a government which is balanced enough to head us all in the right environmental direction without killing off any industry which provides jobs to people without offering those disadvantaged by necessary changes alternative job opportunities and training in new technology substitutes.


  2. Hi Ian,
    I think that I am in a “dark mood” this morning (Sat.7:45am, Oct. 15) I see No hope that modern mankind – those already into the Industrial Age and those that are just on the edge and ready to break loose and ravage the land –
    have no concept of trying to save anything of the “natural world” It is greed, greed, greed, that rules the hands of mankind now!! When will it stop? Never! until the Planet rids itself of this pest called mankind. And that is all I have to say about that!
    Jim the Fee


    1. Hope you’re out of your “dark mood”now Jim. lol. People are becoming much more aware of how the rape of the environment affects us, and future generations even more. I don’t advocate going back to the stone age, but we need to have full awareness of how our industrialized societies mentality needs urgent change and action.


  3. That is beautiful I have never seen or heard of them. Great name for the plant…it does look like bells. Hugs sweet Ian


      1. Yep! I am out of my “dark mood” and reading Flicker was a real help.
        As I look at your “bigger picture” you are right in that there is a constant movement toward more people “interest” in changing attitudes about our relationship with our planet. Enlightenment is the only real answer to bringing about an intense “move to change” that begins with dedicated individuals that band together to alert everyone of the Need we have to stop the carnage.
        It is a very slow and agonizing process to bring about change in attitudes
        but it is the only way to bring about lasting conservation efforts.
        And that is really the way I think most of the time! I just have those “black mood” moments on occasion!
        Jim the Fee


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