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John Shaw Neilson

In the Wimmera Mallee Country where the Wimmera waters flow
To the old brown and dry paddocks the Seasons come and go
Once the countryside of a famous poet now in literary renown
He lived in a little cottage on the outskirts of Nhill Town.

For years he worked in hard labouring jobs in his slow hard climb to fame
And the World was better for him living in it John Shaw Neilson was his name
And though not well educated his poems stand the test of time
Perhaps Aiustralia's leading lyricist when he was in his prime

One of those rare and special people born with the wordsmith skill
From his birth place of Penola as a young boy he moved with his family to Nhill
One who fell in love with Nature he wrote beautiful poetry
And he reached the peak of perfection when he penned 'The Orange Tree'

For some nothing in life comes easy and everything comes at a price
Neilson lost most of his poems in the Mallee destroyed by a plague of mice
And late in his life due to his failing sight the great one ceased to write
His poetic gems of beauty which gave so much delight

In Melbourne Neilson grew old and in Melbourne he did die
And the beauty in his verses to his greatness testify
The great poet of the Mallee and few as great as he
Yet despite his works of genius he died in poverty.

by Francis Duggan

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