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January 19, 2012


This Australian poet was born in 1839 near Milton, New South Wales, and began publishing verse in Sydney journals in 1859. He published his first volume of verse in 1862. His verse brought critical success, but no real income, and his life ended in despondency, alcoholism and ill health, in 1882. However, his 1880 third volume of poems, Songs from the Mountains, was a popular success, and broke contemporary sales records for Australian verse.


Grey Winter hath gone, like a wearisome guest,

And, behold, for repayment,

September comes in with the wind of the West

And the Spring in her raiment!

The ways of the frost have been filled of the flowers,

While the forest discovers

Wild wings, with the halo of hyaline hours,

And the music of lovers.

September, the maid with the swift, silver feet!

She glides, and she graces

The valleys of coolness, the slopes of the heat,

With her blossomy traces;

Sweet month, with a mouth that is made of a rose,

She lightens and lingers

In spots where the harp of the evening glows,

Attuned by her fingers.

The stream from its home in the hollow hill slips

In a darling old fashion;

And the day goeth down with a song on its lips,

Whose key-note is passion.

Far out in the fierce, bitter front of the sea

I stand, and remember

Dead things that were brothers and sisters of thee,

Resplendent September!

The West, when it blows at the fall of the noon

And beats on the beaches,

Is filled with a tender and tremulous tune

That touches and teaches;

The stories of Youth, of the burden of Time,

And the death of Devotion,

Come back with the wind, and are themes of the rhyme

In the waves of the ocean.

We, having a secret to others unknown,

In the cool mountain-mosses,

May whisper together, September, alone

Of our loves and our losses!

One word for her beauty, and one for the grace

She gave to the hours;

And then we may kiss her, and suffer her face

To sleep with the flowers.

High places that knew of the gold and the white

On the forehead of Morning

Now darken and quake, and the steps of the Night

Are heavy with warning.

Her voice in the distance is lofty and loud

Through the echoing gorges;

She hath hidden her eyes in a mantle of cloud,

And her feet in the surges.

On the tops of the hills, on the turreted cones –

Chief temples of thunder –

The gale, like a ghost, in the middle watch moans,

Gliding over and under.

The sea, flying white through the rack and the rain,

Leapeth wild at the forelands;

And the plover, whose cry is like passion with pain,

Complains in the moorlands.

Oh, season of changes – of shadow and shine –

September the splendid!

My song hath no music to mingle with thine,

And its burden is ended;

But thou, being born of the winds and the sun,

By mountain, by river,

Mayst lighten and listen, and loiter and run,

With thy voices for ever!

Henry Kendall


Bell-Birds (Kendall poem)

By channels of coolness the echoes are calling,

And down the dim gorges I hear the creek falling;

It lives in the mountain, where moss and the sedges

Touch with their beauty the banks and the ledges;

Through brakes of the cedar and sycamore bowers

Struggles the light that is love to the flowers.

And, softer than slumber, and sweeter than singing,

The notes of the bell-birds are running and ringing.

The silver-voiced bell-birds, the darlings of day-time,

They sing in September their songs of the May-time.

When shadows wax strong and the thunder-bolts hurtle,

They hide with their fear in the leaves of the myrtle;

When rain and the sunbeams shine mingled together

They start up like fairies that follow fair weather,

And straightway the hues of their feathers unfolden

Are the green and the purple, the blue and the golden.

October, the maiden of bright yellow tresses,

Loiters for love in these cool wildernesses;

Loiters knee-deep in the grasses to listen,

Where dripping rocks gleam and the leafy pools glisten.

Then is the time when the water-moons splendid

Break with their gold, and are scattered or blended

Over the creeks, till the woodlands have warning

Of songs of the bell-bird and wings of the morning.

Welcome as waters unkissed by the summers

Are the voices of bell-birds to thirsty far-comers.

When fiery December sets foot in the forest,

And the need of the wayfarer presses the sorest,

Pent in the ridges for ever and ever.

The bell-birds direct him to spring and to river,

With ring and with ripple, like runnels whose torrents

Are toned by the pebbles and leaves in the currents.

Often I sit, looking back to a childhood

Mixt with the sights and the sounds of the wildwood,

Longing for power and the sweetness to fashion

Lyrics with beats like the heart-beats of passion –

Songs interwoven of lights and of laughters

Borrowed from bell-birds in far forest rafters;

So I might keep in the city and alleys

The beauty and strength of the deep mountain valleys,

Charming to slumber the pain of my losses

With glimpses of creeks and a vision of mosses.

Henry Kendall



A historic township of Milton in the Shoalhaven on the South Coast of New South Wales. Established in 1860 and today many historic buildings can still be seen.

Milton Ulladulla, South Coast, New South Wales

The Milton Ulladulla district is on the NSW South Coast, being part of the city of Shoalhaven. Captain Cook first saw Aboriginals on our beaches in 1770. The first white Settler was Rev Thomas Kendall in 1828 who started cedar cutting at Narrawallee Creek near Milton. Ulladulla was refered to as the entire district was known as Nulladulla – meaning safe harbour. The Boat Harbour of Ulladulla was used for shipping of timbers and farm produce etc for trade to Sydney. The Post Office was established in 1842 with the mail arriving by steamer. Ulladulla has always been a one pub town with the George Inn (1841), Royal Hotel (1860), Harbour View Hoel (late 1880s). and the Marlin Hotel (1948) which stands in the centre of Ulladulla today.

Even though Ulladulla has one of the safest harbours on the south coast, it still has played havoc for some ships sailing the coastline. The North and South reefs (bomborras) and Wardens Head (South headland) were the location of ship wrecks in the 19th century. One of first industries was shipbuilding on the shore of Ulladulla Beach by Warden & Gee bcak in the early 1840s.

Many farms were established around the Settlement which became Milton. This historic private township was established in 1860 and became the commercial centre for the entire district by 1875. Milton today is listed with the National Trust and one can walk around the streets of Milton and see home and buildings dating back to 1860s.

Tourists have been coming to the Milton Ulladulla district for many years. At the turn of the century, Ulladulla was advertising fishing and surfing as highlights of the area. Today Ulladulla is a major tourist area with its beautiful beaches, mountain ranges and more. Ulladulla harbour today plays host to the largest commercial fishing fleet on the South Coast.

The Blessing of Fleet Festival is a major attraction and a festival is held every year at Easter. The township of Milton is popular for its new and unusual craft and antique shops along with its historic charm.














Historic Walking Tours of Milton November 2009

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