When Angledool Was Young

words by Jim Harper, music by Jim Low

In the front of Memories Of Angledool1, Mrs Cross includes the words of an unpublished poem of Jim Harper, When Angledool Was Young. For the song I have used only two of the poem’s nine verses. He addresses this poem to an old female resident of the town. Like much of his writing, it laments “the dead old past” when “the world was wide and ways were wild” and “Angledool was young”. These quotes come from Harper’s poem. They echo sentiments about Australia’s past which are similar to those expressed by Henry Lawson. Like many bushmen of his time, Harper would have been familiar with Lawson’s poetry. Lawson’s influence on Harper is perhaps also seen in Honest John’s nostalgia for “the roaring days on the mulga scrub”.

Angledool is fading now
Its bloom has gone from view
But nothing can efface the memories
Dear, it holds for you
And summing up the years long gone
And weighing the bad with the good
Would you live through it all again?
I rather think you would.

Where are they now, the pioneers,
Who blazed the Narran trail?
And battled with the wilderness
To either win or fail;
Too little is remembered now
And deeds have gone unsung
Of those brave men and women too
When Angledool was young.

1 Memories of Angledool, edited and published by P. Cross, Mehi, Angledool. 1996