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When I was a lad up at old Kalorama
The hills rolled away in a vast panorama
No brick veneer mansions their beauty did sully
Along the bush track to the Sassafras Gully.
I heard all around me the lyrebirds singing
On Dandenong mountain their voices went ringing
And wattle clad slopes were a mass of gold blossom
The haunt of the wallaby, whipbird and possum.
Beneath the great trees I could wander for hours
And never see mansions or great TV towers
While often I stared at a vision entrancing --
The mystical sight of the lyrebirds dancing.
And never in all my dreamiest dreaming
Thought I that man's planning and plotting and scheming
Could little by little the great mountain plunder
And sweep the great trees of the forest asunder.
On Toole-be-wong mountain a soft wind is sighing
Across the top spur where the great trees are lying
The monarchs that fell in the 'thirtynine fires
That never saw concrete or S.E.C. wires.
The spinebills of Toole-be-wong sip the sweet honey
Not knowing of man and his schemes to make money
And gentle-eyed lyrebirds sing without worry
Where wallabies browse without tension or hurry.
But from the Don valley comes clanking and humming --
The noise of the chainsaws and bulldozers coming
As man in his greed on the mountain advances
To subdivide land where the lyrebird dances;
To bulldoze the trees where the soft wind is blowing;
And Toole-be-wong sleeps in the mists, never knowing
That concrete and wires and brick veneer houses
Will stand in the place where the wallaby browses.
Dusty Wolfe was one of the leaders of the fight against the push by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria to put a power line on our mountain in 1979. We almost won... but only almost. When the power line came, Dusty went, to our loss.
Dusty also wrote a terrific book, The Brass Kangaroo, which did well at the time.
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