Royal Park by Lisa Gorton (extracts)

This is a history of Royal Park in poetry.

A few short extracts (©Lisa Gorton) are given here to invite you to read the whole poem.

Published by Giramondo Publishing


‘The day / he sailed for England, La Trobe rode his horse around this place / and named it park—bounded to the west, in Hoddle’s map, / by a wavery line of circles—“Monee Monee’s Creek, / a Chain of Ponds”— “Mur-nong or Mirr-n-yong / may be seen growing on the banks of the Moonee Ponds”…’

‘Enough sky here to watch where clouds come in over the motorway / on slow dissolves of rain—Once in late-winter Burke’s cavalcade / rode past this place, “Burke leading on his grey horse, singing / “Cheer boys, cheer”…’

‘”During the past year / there have been liberated at the Royal Park Hares, Mynas, Starlings, Sparrows, Blackbirds”— / “The carp, tench, roach, and dace, and the gold-fish / have been introduced and distributed in various localities /favourable to their multiplication”—…’

‘They dug the railway cutting out by hand, / down through the sandstone, its fossil shell remains—extinct / nautilus-type molluscs, lampshells, lace corallines— / overlaid on sheets of older lava…’

‘After the First World War they levelled the hill / for a playing field where the swamp had been—“to create / an ordered public recreation area from a previous wilderness”—…’