Deep Within

Early in your colonial years, what conditions were you in?

There was no piped water for shower

Nor for soaking in, none even for the garden.

There was no power to brighten your home

And dispel the eerie feelings at night

Save the oil-lamp with its flickering light.

There was no gas for cooking

Your rations of flour, rice and dried meat,

Nor to keep your bedrooms warm

None even for brewing your gin!

All these your women with patience took in.


You didn’t adapt to the natives’ ways

Of fishing nor of their other modes of food procuring.

You faltered____ but you stood up to do better.

Visionary leaders with incentives a-dangling

Together you made inroads towards better quality of living_____ .

A hundred years later, you became an independent land

Transformed from an aborigine-scape

Into one of European heap.

Affluence flowing in, from heads of cattle to tons of wheat

Gold-, iron ore-, coal mines; commerce and flocks of sheep.

In all these your women filled in.


Another era in your life has just begun.

Modern technology has spanned

Of the twenty first century brand

Over and across the dubbed egalitarian land.

Egalitarian, they say of your society.

Have you honestly achieved this in its real sense?

If marriage is a choice for men,

Does it apply equally for women?

If men receive good pay for jobs done,

Does the opposite sex receive the same?


2018 marked the year of Australian women’s

Stormy speeches not only in public but also in the parliament.

Clarion calls for change in the male-dominated chambers of power,

Echo in cafes, parks and trains.

Calling out misdemeanours or lapses in good judgement

Should not end in repression nor revenge

For these are sacred voices for the shy, the timid

And the overwhelmed.

Modern Australia, are you in deeds egalitarian?

Only you would know______ but you have to search deep within.


Lourdes Murphy

Engl 102 Australian Lit. Intro


Submitted to Prof. Michael Griffith

ACU Strathfield

Engl 102


4 thoughts on “Deep Within

  1. Lourdes- this is really fabulous. I love especially your two lines:
    Transformed from an aborigine-scape/ Into one of European heap. That really points out a core element of the European invasion…
    Overall this poem really captures something essential about modern Australia.

    Editing Needed (and some workshop follow-ups- see Purdue Owl for help:
    * There was no piped water for shower =There was no piped water for a shower OR There was no piped water for showering [ both are possible, but in your sentence it is not clear whether “shower” is a noun or a verb].
    * towards better quality of living= towards a better quality of living- [indefinite article needed]
    *….coal mines; commerce and flocks of sheep.= ….coal mines, commerce and flocks of sheep.- [; is not appropriate here- it is usually a replacement for a full-stop when two sentences are closely linked in meaning. So it is a bit like putting a brick in the middle of a sentence and shouldn’t replace the more mild comma!
    for further details on Semi-colons see


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