Pilbara Dreaming

From a city on a river bank
The pioneers set forth
To try to make a go of it
To tame the rugged north

The task ahead was daunting
Success was not for all
But real men soon stepped forward
Men like William Shakespeare Hall

At first they brought the sheep in
To populate the runs
But poison, drought and lousy feed
Could not be solved with guns

A good year then ten bad ones
Would send the stations broke
The cyclones, droughts and sand flies
Could cow the toughest bloke

And women were in short supply
So few would call it home
While men folk went off droving, they
Would spend long weeks alone

Emma and John Withnell came
To settle and to stay
‘The mother of the north’ she was
or so the natives say

So far from city comforts
They left behind down south
They landed on a muddy bank
The Harding River mouth

They struggled on alone at first
But then more settlers came
A town grew in the wilderness
And Roebourne was its name

A stock route north was needed most
For shipping costs were high
A man called Hooley found the way
In eighteen sixty-five

From Lyons up to Fortescue
He brought two thousand sheep
Across the plains and through the hills
Across the rivers deep

Then gold was found beneath the earth
And men from far and wide
Came north to seek their fortunes
And to tramp the country side

Though many dug the barren ground
But few saw fortune shine
From Nichol Bay to Marble Bar
From Cue to Nullagine

Years came and went beneath the sun
And life and times moved on
Then cattle came to fill the north
And soon the sheep were gone

The cattle men built stations now
They brought in hardy breeds
And droving was the way of things
Tough men and hardy steeds

Lang and Stan were northern men
Who worked dry red land
They saw a way to help the north
Develop and expand

For many years they tried in vain
And they were just ignored
But in the end the world woke up
To massive fields of ore

And from that time the north was won
And still it grows today
Now iron and salt and LNG
Have made the north west pay

Though life has now forever changed
Through out the great north west
Let’s not forget the pioneers
Who came and stood the test

To everyone who ventured there
Who lived and loved and died
The north west is a monument
A nation’s wealth and pride

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