Poems of War

Since Queensland separated from NSW in 1859, its poets have dealt with war, first as part of an empire, then as an expression of Australian nationalism. Often poems before a war look forward to the involvement of our armed forces; too often the poems written during and after war reflect on its terrible cost.

Click on the poem titles in the table below to read some of the best early Queensland poetry of military themes.


First line



At Lytton Past the Fort on the fairway, where river and sea are met, Mary Hannay Foott 1902
At Toowong They met to honour the brave young dead  Emily Bulcock 1922
Australia in England  He called….The quiet nurse stole to his side,  Zora Cross 1918
Australia Undefended The blue sea skirts her slim, sun-ambered feet, Mabel Forrest 1909
Barbaric Night From the distant village/ Comes the throb of a native drum,  Howarde Tilse  1944
Blue  The blue waves break along the shore , Peter Austen 1919
Brownout You’re the tight twist in my heart  Peter Miles 1945
Cenotaph Death leers from the jungle – mockingly,  Howarde Tilse 1941
Dark Angel The wings of the great dark angel – I heard them brushing,  Llywelyn Lucas 1943
Doom Let them glide bravely while the night-time lingers, Gary Lyle  1939
Gallipoli -April 25th 1915 Upon the crimson-mottled landing beach  Colin Bingham 1925
How's that Umpire? Well done, Queensland! How's that Umpire?t   George Essex Evans 1901
Men of Brisbane They come in from the country, they trudge in from the town  Thomas G Rabbets 1915
Reverie Have you heard the bell-birds calling, thro' the grey Australian bush  Peter Austen 1919
"Rub! Dub! RRRub- Dub-Dub" Rub! Dub! R-r-rub-dub-dub!  Thomas G Rabbets 1915
Sky Death  I shall wait impatient for the day
When I shall leave this land of mine 
Pat Galligan 1944
Soldier's Valediction I shall not cheer at your triumph for I shall be dead,  Frank C. Francis 1944
Spring, 1916 The purple jacaranda bells are fluttering in the air  Alice Gore-Jones 1917
The Fallen  Soldier   All through the years have we not seen your eyes Paula Fitzgerald 1941
The Heroes of Tobruk Who comprise those gallant heroes, and where did they come from James Sweeney 1943
The Lists These are the lists of death ::; Alice Gore-Jones 1917
The River How was that boy who laughed a-down the river Garry Lyle 1944
The  Mother Somewhere in France he lies- Peter Austen 1919
The true memorial What mean these monuments of bronze and stone Maurice Little 1923
The veteran's song Left-right-left! left-right-left! list to the marching feet! Maurice Little 1923
There was a Day     There was a day, when insolently gay , Peter Austen 1919
To Those at Home God grant one letter from home today Shawn O'Leary 1941
To America in 1915 We watch your attitudes with candid eyes  AA Bayldon 1915
To my brother in the navy I remember now, as the storm wind from the bay Garry Lyle  1942
Troop Trains Troop trains troop trains passing on their way    Alice Gore-Jones 1917
 Windsor Castle Barracks  The Third Battalion Grenadiers  S. Metford  1885