The men who blazed the track!

by Will Ogilvie


Since the toasts for the absent are over,

And duly we've pledged in our wine

Our Land, and our Friends, and our Lover,

Here's a toast for you, comrades o' mine :

To the fighting band that won the land

From the bitterest wastes out-back !

From hut and hall to the kings of all —

"The Men Who Blazed the Track!"


They rode away into the forest

In mornings gold-studded with stars,

And the song of the leaders was chorused

To the clinking of rowel and bars;

They fought for the fame of the Islands

And struck for the Width of the World,

They fashioned new roads in the silence

And flags in the fastness unfurled.


Their tents in the evening would whiten

The scrub, and the flash of their fires

Leap over the shadows to brighten

The way of Ambition's desires;

By the axe-marks we followed their courses,

For scarcely the ashes remain,

And the tracks of the men and the horses

Are hidden by dust-storm and rain.


The seasons from June to December

Are buried and born as of old,

But the peoples have ceased to remember

Who won them the laurels they hold;

Yet sometimes the North wind comes bringing

Those keener of hearing and sight

The music of lost axes ringing,

The beat of lost hoofs in the night.


Our pride is the path of our fathers,

Our hope's in the sons of our home,

And wherever our nation foregathers

Our nation is foremost to roam.

But the valleys that smile to our tillage,

The bills where our banners unfold,

Were won by the men of the village

And bought with their axes of old.


And we only ride with the flowing tide

As we follow the blazed line back,

So we'll drink the toast of the vanguard host,

And "The Men Who Blazed the Track!”


Will Ogilvie, ‘The Men Who Blazed the Track, Saddle for a throne, Adelaide, 1952