There are many famous Australian poets which have produced iconic pieces which have helped to shape and remind us of the beautiful country that we live. Dorothea Mackellar’s famous poem “My Country” is the perfect example of this, capturing the beauty of the Australian landscape. Written in 1906, Dorothea wrote My Country whilst on a trip to England where she was clearly missing her homeland. This poem was a hit from day one, being published in the popular British paper “The Spectator” under the original title of “Core of My Heart”. Only 23 years of age, Dorothea later had a successful career in Australia writing a collection of poetry books and novels.

Dorothea returned back to Australia after her trip and lived in Sydney until her death in 1968 at 82 years of age. Dorothea’s enduring legacy is her poem which help its readers envision Australia as sunburnt country which we love.

Many Australian’s are familiar with this poem but not in its entirety so we’ve produced the full version here. My Country is often also known as “I love a sunburnt country’ after the most famous section of the piece.

My Country – I love a sunburnt country

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

Dorothea Mackellar

To get a better perspective of the time in which this poem was written I’d encourage you to pick up any Dorothea’s other works.

Does reading I love a sunburnt country move you as much as Australia clearly moved Dorothea when she wrote the poem originally? Let us know if you’ve written any poetry pieces which help reflect your love for this unique sunburnt country.