The Murray Mallee Stories.

Stories and cameos about things and people in the Murray Mallee….Joe Carli.

The Eroticism of Hildegarde Hempel.

An incident borne out of an innocent remark can inflame old resentments among a confined people. ‘Folk will have their ways’, goes the old saying. Such was the occasion of the spread of the accusation in the little parish of Saint Paul’s in our little mallee town of Sandleton a long while ago and it … Continue reading

Mallee Blow-ins.

They come “home” to track and camp,

They come home to the Mallee forest.

They come with their swag of detritus,

They come to seek anonymous.

Weakened with loss of fortune’s favour,

Vulnerable to each and every slander,

They seek the quiet and secret ways,

Far from gossip’s intrusive meander.

From a time when life was wholesome and pure,

When prospects were rich and expected to endure,

From a time of life in search of “the divine”.

From a time able to proclaim; “what’s here is mine”.

But as hailstones strike with shuddering force,

A delicate flower trembles and suffers remorse,

For where it was planted and cultivated in vain,

These, turn their eyes brimming with pain,

From the gaze of others who care not their name.

And so strikes a seed to the chance of the wind.

They come now bruised, beaten and inclined

Never more to say ; what’s mine is mine,

To search a life in but the shadow of the divine,

Ted and Edie dance the Rumba.

  “I saw it happen an’ that’s how I knows it…and I know why it’ I’m sorry it didn’t happen a long time ago, back when they could’ve made something with it.” Swertzy took a drag on his cigarette again and settled into the chair outside the Sedan Post Office and reflected on times … Continue reading

The Collected Poems of Adam Lindsay Gordon.

  Once upon a time, out in the deep Mallee forest near the Murray River there lived three sisters, aged sixteen, fourteen and thirteen…for as was common in those days, children came in quick succession. Their names being..from the eldest : Tess, Maggie and Rose. It was the years of post-Great Depression and the second … Continue reading

Adagio Dancers of the Mallee.

The Mallee trees hold rock solid,

Like a pair of adagio dancers,

Feet fixed on stage, last step’d,

Posed, poised and arms svelte-twist’d to the applause:

Of the rasping cry of cockatoos in delight,

Sillouhettes against the striking light..

Silvered limbs naked sheen,

The dancers twirl under evergreen

Rustle of sequin’d leaves.

A glimpse of heaven in between.

The adagio dancer can never seem,

As slender-limbed , as argent-sheened,

As the Mallee trees I have seen.

The Seven Weeping Men of Sedan.

A stinker of a day in the middle of winter…rain, rain, rain…from the moment I started out on the delivery run to Swan Reach and beyond till I came toward home. One of those steady, drenching rains that every farmer dreams about and every delivery driver hates!…Standing with the sack-truck at the door of a … Continue reading

Haunted by History.

So I drive to the town, pick up a few groceries, check the mail, chat a while..a bit of goss..a bit of this an’ that and then hit the road to home again…and that is where the haunting starts. You’ve seen them, out here in the mallee country as you drive along the main roads … Continue reading

Incident on the Bulldog Run.

If you turn off the main ‘Halfway House Road” there about seven mile out of the town, there onto a dirt, bush track ; “The Bulldog Run” and go a few mile down that track, you’ll see away there off the side in the mallee scrub; Rhidoni’s old place…a small cottage built in that old … Continue reading


You can stand, transfixed,

For as long as you can bear.

Staring at the thistle flower,

A spot of yellow bliss in an ocean of dust.

The sun beating down on your back,

A thunderous beat as heavy

As the lumbering speech of a stupid man.

The only bright bristle ,

In a field so barren,

Is that one yellow flower of the courageous thistle,

Pleading for its life to the open sky,

And I wonder and wonder..for the life of I.

The end of stories.

I can remember exactly when that feeling came over me that here was one of those moments when, through some “native intuition”, you can feel that it is the ending of an era…a passing of a moment in time when something important is being lost… I was at my aged mother’s house doing some regular … Continue reading

A Quiet Little Corner of the World.

  A  respectable tradesman I have known for many years told me of when he was a young blade, he and some friends rented a flat above a funeral director’s office and “workshop”. If they were busy and short-handed, they would call on him for some work. He didn’t mind as it helped pay the … Continue reading

Y’ know..

I go outside in the mornin’

Pause..take in th’ weather..;yawnin’,

Mark how the dawnin’ sun

Gives the silver’d branches of the Mallee

A dun coloured sheen…nice ‘n clean.

Matching the wing of a galah

Tight-cling’d there…..on a spar.

An’ I’m thinking..

In this quiet, morning haste

That one oughta’ feel some poetry

Whilst in such a place..

But then…’d just be a waste…

Joyce Delivers the Flowers.

“Joyce Hartingdale .. Secretary” the writing on the triangular wedge of wood prominent at the front of her desk was written in bright, gold paint. It was there the first day she came to the job at the office situated at the front of the “Shoebridge Furniture Factory”. A job she had come all the … Continue reading

Danny and Moira.

The large, plate-glass window of the lounge area of the “River View” aged care home overlooked the willow-lined banks of the Murray River in the centre of that regional city that had been home for him and his family for these many years…known for its fruit and wine industry…Mr. Daniel Flannigan lay quiet in a … Continue reading

End of stories.

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