Freedom on the Wallaby Summary

Freedom on the Wallaby Summary

Stanza 1

The poem was written for the left-leaning periodical The Worker and the speaker is condemning a recent conservative crackdown on striking sheep shearers who had forced to square off against non-union counterparts. The speaker begins with the observation on the expansive size of Australia and how the idea of freedom is preparing to make a journey through that expanse. The idea of freedom is going to boomerang back on the tyrants who control it and deny it to others by firing up the spirit of revolution to those to whom it is denied.

Stanza 2

The speaker recalls that the denial of freedom was essential in the founding of Australia. Those who were denied freedom by tyrants in England chose self-exile across the expanse of oceans despite strong feelings of devotion to their homeland.

Stanza 3

The overweening oppression of monarchy upon freedom became too much to bear. The managers of that oppressive authority who stood by and loafed stayed back in England while those seeking freedom landed in Australia. This enormous island seemed too untamed to even imagine that such oppression of freedom could ever show up and bind them again. And yet, there those chains seem to be.

Stanza 4

Making this hardscrabble wilderness into a nation has been no easy task. The forefathers who originally settled here and those generations that followed have worked hard to create the civilization that was refreshingly free of the concept of lordship. When there was little to be gained commercially from such labor, the lords of commerce kept their distance. When it became clear that that there was money to be made in the hidden little island down under the rest of the world, the oppression of the monarchy was refashioned into the oppression of capitalist kings.

Stanza 5

A call for rebellion against that oppressive authority is exclaimed within the historical context of other rebellions against tyranny. Another call to join along in the singing of a rebel song where the loud sound that proclaims their number can become enough to instill fear in the smaller band of those who work to throttle freedom. And, at last, a chilling reminder that this rebellion was not started by those who were oppressed and so should blood be shed in the confrontation, it is the oppressors who must bear the blame.

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