Oh, the convicts built this roadway
To another promised land
A land they may get used to
But never understand
Showing they were here to stay
They gouged their history
Up old Devine’s wild ascent
Passed twisted things called trees.

The creaking of the hand cart
With stone fill for the road
The bellow of the bullocks
As they heave their heavy load
The Great North Road is winding
Up ridges passed ravines
Helping spread the colony
And realise many dreams.

Alone, I stand in wonder
Amazed by all around
Roused from midday reverie
By a whip bird’s piercing sound
Cutting through the moment
Like an overseer’s blast
Once cursed the idle convict
And set him to his task.

Glimpses of the river
A jigsaw through the trees
Down there on the flat land
Silently it weaves
Giant, buttressed walls above
Support the new made way
Shaped from local sandstone
Surviving still today.

Oh, the convicts built this roadway
To another promised land
A land they may get used to
But never understand
The Great North Road is winding
Up ridges passed ravines
Helping spread the colony
And realise many dreams.

 

© Jim Low


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