A vast waterless continent, and an island
Where high hills in the east give pause,
Before rich plains run down to the sea.
And the inland is desert dry and arid land.
Yet there are rivers rising in the Great Divide;
Big, slow-moving , wide and thrilling sweet;
Bearing their burden of salts and soil
Too short a distance from hill to plain to Pacific.
Every good Australian child learns the names
Of the coastal rivers, pride of New South Wales.
Start by the Queensland border with the Tweed
Nouri.Shing the golden twins of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads.
Next comes the Macleay with its port Maclean,
A harbour for sugar, bananas and pines.
Closely followed by Clarence, river of Grafton,
And Grafton forever is the glory of blue Jacaranda.
Port Macquarie, old convict town where ghosts walk
Has its wonderful river the Hastings,
Named for a battle the Saxons lost to Norman William,
Or impeached Warren cleared by his peers.
Taree on the Manning, how pleasant it is,
Green dairy- rich country for ever.
Little settlements marking the flood changes of years.
Ah Taree, your rich hinterland should be widespread.
Great coal city of Newcastle and its river
Hunter, named for the governor after Phillip.
Prone to floods, and noted for Hexham swamps .
And giant mosquitoes well known in legend and fact.
Last of the great rivers is the southern Shoalhaven.
Shoalhaven so sweet, so dear, so gentle.
Rolling through pastures green, grazed by Jersey and pied Friesian.
River of artists, wild birds and rich, silent beauty.