The other day, on the First of May actually, we were enticed by the beautiful sunshine to drive into the country site. Not far from where we live, about 70 km is Kangaroo Valley.
On the way there and back we passed through Berry, a town on the Princes Highway. It is “old charm” town where on weekends well to do people from Sydney come to visit and do some shopping for things that do not come from China, like craft work etc.
But before we reached Berry on our way back we still passed through some beautiful scenery of Australian landscape. The Australian landscape is not as much a cultural landscape as much as the European is.
Uta wanted to see Autumn Leaves on the way back. So, we decided to visit Berry again. This is part of the new Australia where introduced plants change the land and town scapes. In the evergreen Australia it is quite a sight.
We drove a bit further and suddenly saw the town’s Cenotaph erected for the fallen of the two World Wars. The floral tribute from the recent ANZAC Day were still to be seen.
I realised then, that perhaps Berry represents, in equal parts, the modern and the old Australia and the fallen soldiers are the connecting element of this duality. Without knowing it they gave their lives for just the Australia we have become. Migrants of the countries that were fighting in the Great War of 1914/18 are now here. The French bakery and the former migrant attest to that.
And I remembered a poem I wrote a few years ago and it contains the following lines referring to Gallipoli:
When Diggers stormed the Cove
They could not know
That many years hence
Men from the other side
Would come to their Land.
Did they fight and die in vain?
Not so. They prevailed
and shared their Land.
Turned foes into welcome friends.
Every fallen soldier has a plaque in the wall and a tree planted in his name.
There was a war trophy, July 1918, too, a German heavy mortar
Among all the names I noticed two especially, one airman who was flying for the RAF, perhaps he died on an air raid over Berlin where I come from and a seaman on the HMAS Sydney. The sinking of the Sydney was such a tragic event. What a crazy world we live in. I’m so sorry all this happened. But we should look to the future and recognise that we live in an earthly paradise – Australia!
Magnolias have been around for twenty million years. It has been introduced into Australia but it is fitting for such an ancient plant to be here in Australia.