The Lost Leichhardt
Another search for Leichhardt’s tomb,
But daring men from Britain’s shore,
Rash men, that know not what they seek,
Along where Leichhardt journeyed slow
Out on those deserts lone and drear
And loud from every squatter’s door
The watchers in those forests vast
About their path a fearful fate
And then, to crown this tale of guilt,
Ah, yes! Those British pioneers
|A. B. “Banjo” Paterson OBE
One of Australia's most revered poets and writers, his famous works include Waltzing Matilda and The Man from Snowy River.
His prolific output ranged from these evocative, haunting ballads to verse of much drier whimsy. Hardships and pomposity lost their sting when looked at through Paterson's larrikin lens.
Typical is The Lost Leichhardt, the 128th of 276 works published during his lifetime. A very English scientific society is contemplating yet another search party, 50 years after the German's disappearance.
The poem first appeared in the 14 October 1899 issue of The Bulletin, and was the 11th of 18 Paterson works published that year.
Banjo's stanzas offer some sage, tongue-in-cheek advice to the august gentlemen. Australia is not the country it was 50 years before, and perhaps some 'sleeping dogs' are best left to lie.