Poems & Pics

Burkes Pass by Marion White

A tiny hamlet in the rolling hills
Knows summer heat and winter chills
Has witnessed the pioneering folks
Travelling through to the tussock lands
On horseback, with bullock wagons, horses pulling drays
To make new and better lives
leaving behind hard, darker days.
Whether bathed in icy snow drifts
Or blown by the nor’west winds
The brave collie dogs worked the sheep and cattle
Put to the test, never giving in.
The township sees the possums, the hares and rabbits run,
Whilst above the tussock grasses, and the prickly spaniards,
The hawks circle in the clear blue sky.
Burkes Pass had long been host to sheepdog trials, where afterwards, thirsts were quenched and tales told,
at the historic Pass hotel.
Fire consumed the local in 1994 taking a lot of records with her of days of old.
But we who love the place, and have the family ties,
will preserve what we can still.
Now the tourists in their thousands stream by the alpine road
Some stop to shop and take in the history as it unfolds
St Patrick’s little church and the Musterer’s Hut are two of the treasures to behold
As our pioneering family can proudly lay claim
to having played a part in the early settlement and brave toil on the land
In summers of searing heat waves across the Mackenzie basin
And winters with deep walls of frozen snow, unyielding in it’s thaw for weeks on end.
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The 5 seasons of Burkes Pass – Gavin Marriott

The wind it howled from the Mackenzie plain
The camper vans travelled slowly and with strain
should they make it on to Fairlie tonight?
at Burkes Pass the Art Gallery stop ended up right.

It rained on State Highway 8
with hay bales loaded by the gate
the winter hay for the queued up sheep
at Burkes Pass they were mustered down from the steep.

The snow did fall on the Rollesby Road
the road markers bent from the heavy load
as cars could go no further and came to a halt
at Burkes Pass the roads were gritted with salt.

The leaves around the Musterers Hut they fell
the tourists crunched on them with sounds like a bell
they walked the heritage trail with camera in hand
at Burkes Pass their photos of St Pats looked grand.

The sun it shone on the trees of Cabbage
the Heritage Trust workers sweating by the Cob cottage
the dogs took shade under tussock glistening all day
at Burkes Pass yes we all think its OK.
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Esther (t4), Jim (t1) & Lena (t3) at Marion White (t10) wedding March 1973 at Te Ngawai.