The inaugural Bingara Australia Day Poets Breakfast on the morning of Australia day drew a large crowd to the Museum. Bingara Lions Club members were on hand serving breakfast, provided free by Gwydir Council.
About 200 people were on hand to see the flag raised by Austin Mack, and hear the five poems in the competitive section read. Landcare donated 50 native trees or shrubs which were distributed, one per household, as people arrived.
Entries in the competition were:
- ‘Our Bingara’, written by Fay Edwards, and performed by Peter Jones
- ‘A breath of Snow and Ashes’ written and performed by Julie Butler
- ‘Hidden Treasure Creek’ written and performed by Rick Hutton
- ‘Three cents a Foot’ or ‘The Ballad of Mark Smith’ written by Rick Hutton and performed by Marie Warren
- ‘I thought I was Retiring’ written and performed by Peter Jones.
The winner was Rick Hutton with, ‘Hidden Treasure Creek’ (shown at the bottom of this article). Runner up was Marie Warren, reading Rick’s poem, “Three Cents a Foot’. Judging was by audience applause.
More local poems were aired in the uncompetitive section. The first was ‘The Connemara Colt’ written and performed by breakfast Master of Ceremonies, John Wearne. Julie Butler then performed her poem, “Spirit of the Earth’, a tribute to the late John Hume. Michael Keating performed ‘Our Dear Sister’, a poem written about his mother, a nursing sister who worked in New Guinea during World War II.
John Wearne read “BSC” a poem about Council workers uniforms, written by the late Norma Coss.
The poetry concluded with a performance by Marie Warren of the Rupert McCall poem, ‘Green and Gold Malaria’.
Historical Society President, Peter Jones said the success of the inaugural breakfast augers well for a similar event next year.
Hidden Treasure Creek
This story tells of old Thomas Connelly,
With his wild boy Dan, they sought the mother lode,
In 1863 they had the “fire in the belly”,
To seek for gold along the Keera Road
Near a valley where the Bora meets the Gwydir
There’s a gully half was wide as it is deep.
Where Mother Nature’s hand, it’s told, placed in the rocks, a band of gold,
Then cut into, by Hidden Treasure Creek.
It’s not known for certain how they came upon it,
Was it by chance or the workin’s of a thief?
Some say it was the bully Dan, who forced out of a Chinaman,
the whereabouts of Hidden Treasure Creek.
Now Tom and Dan first saw a “trace of colour”,
Then bagged three ounces in less than a week,
Said Dan, “I smell the gold is near, I know the vein lies close to here,
I’ll make my pile, at Hidden Treasure Creek”.
Tom said to Dan, “we must control the water,
If drought comes there’ll be scarce enough to drink,
We’ll have to build a wall of rock, we can’t use lime and mortar,
and dam the flow of Hidden Treasure Creek”.
They set to work at once with pick and shovel
And built a rock wall, elegant and sleek,
Dan stood on it and raised his hand, and laughed “Now I am in command,
You’ll do my biddin’, Hidden Treasure Creek!”.
At Hidden Treasure Creek you may get lucky,
But a man won’t always find, what he may seek,
The chance to strike it rich beckons the daring and the plucky,
To find the gold at Hidden Treasure Creek
High up above, a mighty storm was brewin’,
With lightnin’ flashin’ ‘cross the western peak,
Then tons of rain fell from the skies, and thundered through the gully lines,
Like a punchin’ fist, down Hidden Treasure Creek
T’was Tom, who heard the wall of water comin’
“drop everything, climb for your life” he shrieked,
But Dan would never hear the man, gold nuggets sparkled in his pan,
And sealed his fate at Hidden Treasure Creek.
The hand of water grasped Dan like puppet,
Then snapped his body like a splinter breaks
it tore the flesh from off the man, and dashed his brains against the dam,
to blend his blood …with Hidden Treasure Creek.
A century passed, the story was forgotten
‘Til hikers found a skull beneath the heath,
teeth frozen in a ghostly grin, with flecks of gold stuck in between,
Dan’s laughing still at Hidden Treasure Creek.
By Rick Hutton 2004
Australia Day Web Gallery. Click image to view.