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The Writers Walk

Home > Sydney > Walks | Poetry | Literary
by Mila Wood (subscribe)
I work in the Finance department of a media company, and someone who dabbles in writing of any genre.
Published February 19th 2013
The Art of Poetry at the Writers Walk
I love a sunburnt country
A land of sweeping plains
Of rugged mountain ranges
I love her far horizons
I love her jewel sea
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me

My Country (1911) By Dorothea McKellar

As an immigrant to this lucky country, I've always felt that I had been blessed. People are welcoming; education and health system are one of the best in the world. So a family gathering brought me to Circular Quay and as I was walking along the promenade, I noticed a plaque embedded on the walkway and read this amazing piece of poetry. My skin literally crawled. The words filled up my senses and summed up the feeling that I have for this home of mine. The poetry is by Dorothea Mackellar. She was born in 1885 and graced our land till 1968. A poet and a Novelist. She wrote "My Country" when she was 19. The lines mentioned above are among the best known in Australian poetry. Hence my creative alter ego instructed me to keep walking.


There are 50 metal plaques of not just Australian Writers but also those that hailed from different countries, such as D. H Lawrence, Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain, honouring their work and the celebration of their lives. These plaques are embedded on the walkway starting from the International Passenger Terminal on west Circular Quay, then the walkway between the ferry jetties and the Circular Quay train station, all the way to the east Circular Quay to the side of the Sydney Opera House forecourt. An extract of Authors writing and a brief biography are written on each of them.

Born in New South Wales of Norwegian descent, the verse by Henry Lawson in my mind is somewhat tragic, but it equally hit the notes. For me he depicted a Friday afternoon where the office is virtually empty, as the workers hit the pub for a drink. His verse was;

"And of afternoon in cities, where the rain is on the land, visions come to me of Sweeny, with his bottle in his hand, with the stormy night behind him, and the pub veranda post, and I wonder why he haunts me more than any other ghost"


But who would not love Barry Humphries. Born in Melbourne, on the year of 1934. He's a caricaturist, who created Edna Average in 1955. Then Sandy Stone, Barry McKenzie, Les Patterson and many other characters. A poet, an entertainer and a humorist. I love his pie poetry. It humours the materialism of the suburban household.


"I think that I could never spy"
"A poem lovely as a pie"
"A banquet in a single course"
"Blushing with rich tomato sauce"

Patrick White is a Novelist and a Playwright. A foremost writer of the 20th century. In 1978, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In his plaque, he talks about humility amongst mankind. Very humbling indeed.


Kath Walker adopted the name of her tribe Oodgeroo Noonuccal in 1988. It is to honour the Aboriginal's people cause. I could not help but feel the sadness to the way her poetry was portrayed. Until this moment of time, the cause of the Aboriginal people is still very sensitive and will stay close to the heart for future generations to come


There are more plaques as you walk along the promenade and I dutifully read each one of them. For me it depicted the culture that Australia has. The people made this beautiful country. At the end of my walk, I couldn't help feeling proud for being an Australian. We have vast amount of talent in our country. Some are controversial but nevertheless, conveyed to others through their poetry what thoughts they had withstanding a politically inclined notion.

And as I sat down and savour the bustling surroundings but somewhat serene of the Quay, my spirit had lifted, and the pride and joy I had felt tingled all over my body.

The hustle and bustle of the Quay

So, I urge you to do the Writers Walk. You don't have to be a poet or a writer to enjoy it, but it will leave you with a feeling of satisfaction and proud of what these Writers had achieved and in your mind you will think that history were at hand

And here is a small piece of my poetry. It might not make it to the Writers Walk, but it will be on the Weekend Notes;

As the sun rises over the horizon
Its warmth brushes against my skin
The sound waves lapping and gently touching my feet
Magnificent sand caressed my hand
Of this beach at Land Down Under

Getting there
Its approximately 20 minutes walk from Central Station to Circular Quay. About 10 minutes from Town Hall Station and 5 minutes if you are at Wynward. You will not get lost. From each station, keep walking towards the direction of the Quay at George Street.

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Why? An array of plaques with the exctract of poetry and verses from Writers from Australia and different countries.
When: Anytime
Where: At the Promenade of Circular Quay
Cost: Free
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