Australian Poetry and Literature Essay Example

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‘The Man from Snowy River’

The poem is a household epic in most Australian homes either from readings in schools, universities or in culture of the Australian, films or even the opera. Most people recognise it just from the introductory line.

The man on the horse was an important person during the time of Paterson and, some people claimed that the horseman lived the kind of life Paterson had dreamed he could have had.. These beliefs are disputed by some who argue that Paterson came with a combination of characters from people he had encountered. (Paterson 2007)The poem, The man from Snowy River by A B. Paterson, informs us of a tale that talks about a horse that was of value. The horse escapes and the owner offers a generous sum for its secure return. Riders from that area all gather up to track the untamed bush horses and cut priceless horse from the crowd. The country is too much for them and, they are defeated except one man, the man from Snowy River. He is filled with personal valor and expertise and, that has turned him into a star and legend. Some people believe that the author has based the character of this man on Jack Riley who is buried in Corryong

The poem explains how a young lad from the mountain region mounted on a small pony that was also from the mountain. The lad rides along with skilled stockmen in the quest of a horse that had run away (Paterson 2007).The man is ridiculed for several reasons firstly because of his stature and secondly because of the size of his pony. Once the wild, untamed horses go into the wild and harsh rugged tracks of the mountain, the man and his pony increase in stature.

Setting of the poem.

Macarthur-Onslow 1976).This poem was written around the time that Australia was trying to develop itself distinctly as a nation around the year 1880s early 1890s. Australia at that time did not consider itself a distinct nation and, they needed to feel united as one. Australians at that time still drifted their eyes to the bush to find their heroic characters and fill their mythology. The man from Snowy River was perceived as a hero who was brave and was able to adapt to high risk undertaking. This character and his bravery symbolized a new nation from the southern region. This new nation is the commonwealth of Australia (

Macarthur-Onslow 1976).The poem has tolerated mainly because of its part in Australian tradition and making of myths with its trope of a man overcoming the challenges of his environment. At the time of its writing, it celebrates the task of an Australian male figure in the making and shaping of Australia and the character of Australia. The male characters of Paterson were the result of their bush and wild environment. This environment shaped a personality that was strong in enduring physical challenges and sturdy in principles (

The poem at first instance is thought of as a ballad because of rhythm and the rhyming of the words. The language used is easy and quite simple to comprehend. The narration of the story is explained through the use of description, action and dialogue. The writer has first established the characters in the poem and then later he has described the action in the poem. The action involves an episode that takes place in the bush which then becomes an unforgettable act.

It is a ballad in a bush setting. The author describes a typical setting in the bush of a cattle station located close to the New South Wales Mountains. The brave man is a typical Australian hero in a bush ballad who is not known by many as he is a quiet outsider who rescues the day. The hero is a stockman who the Australian bush should produce. The man is the one who makes an amazing ride down the rugged mountain and rescues the horse that got away from old Regret despite the company of Clancy of the overflow (Paterson 2007).

‘The Women of the West’

The Women of the West are an accolade to the women of the outback by George Essex Evans. The poem is a devotion to the revolutionary women who abandoned the pleasures and delights of the city to encounter the wilderness. The author wrote the poem to make sure that the sacrifice and the efforts of these women could be remembered for years to come. The women sacrificed a lot to the point they let the red sun rob them off their splendour and beauty. They also sacrificed their years because they let the slow years take away the grace that was nameless (Evans 1906). The women depicted in the poem faced the wilderness with courage and fought it and for this reason men ought to be appreciate and be very thankful. The author had come to realise the struggles of women and the harsh things that the life they lived in the bush had brought to them.

The poem is a bush ballad that talks of the early life in Queensland and the significant contributions that women made at that time. Women contributed significantly to the development of the State of Queensland and the author, Evans thought it fit to acknowledge the women for their efforts. The women devoted their time, efforts and their lives to help the members of the community with very little or at times no recognition whatsoever. The poem talks of the pioneer women who resided on the land at the turn of the very last century. The women lived in tiny temporary shelters, collected stamps from nearby paddocks, and had many children to look after. They also offered their help to cultivate and harvest the crops as well as watch over the stock (Birchley 1978).

The image depicted in the poem is of women trying to escape poverty and overcrowded circumstances that prevailed in Queensland. They also tried to escape the unfortunate health conditions in a bid to secure a favourable environment. Everyone at that time was offered a chance to re-establish and renew themselves amid conditions that were full of struggles and challenges, renaissance and opportunity. The terrain was filled with dangers, remoteness of the area, and sheer peculiarity of the scenery, the scorching red sun and the inhabiting indigenous people (Birchley 1978).Many women at that time found life as a domestic debilitating and destroying to the soul. Hard work, a bit of faith and some level of luck placed an ambitious person on the success path. Women of the West were heroic women who all the way through times that were troublesome and dangerous maintained courage and steadfast hope and heart. The hearts that made the nation were women of the west (Evans 1906).

In conclusion the two poems are bush ballads that related significantly to Australia.


Sydney: Angus and Robertson.
Evans, G.E. (1906). The Secret Key and Other Verses.

Macarthur-Onslow, A. (1976). The man from Snowy River by A.B. Paterson Illustrated. Sydney: Collins.

Paterson, A.B. (2007). The Man from Snowy River. Middlesex: The Echo Library.

Birchley, Delia. (1978). The life and works of George Essex Evans (1863-1909). Brisbane: University of Queensland.