'The 60 poems in this collection appear in their original, or near original, form and are wide-ranging in their subject matter: animals, the countryside, the struggle of bush life, early transport, sport, growing old, being young and having fun with words! But whether they are humorous, serious or playful, they are simply a joy to read!
'No matter if we grew up reciting these classic poems at school, quote from them on important occasions or are meeting them for the first time, there is no doubt that these classic poems embody what it is to be Australian.' (From the publisher's website.)
'Among the mass of letters I have received since the appearance of the article on 'An Australian Poet,' testifying to the strange fascination of Gordon's muse, came a communication from a lady who had been a fellow-passenger of his in the ship Julia, which sailed fro Adelaide on the 7th of August, 1853. This lady remarks: - 'I urged him to write in my manuscript book. He was shy of doing so, saying he had never tried his had at verse-making. However, he wrote the enclosed verses - his first essay - in which you will recognize he style.' What caused my correspondent to detect a poet in the exiled youth so moodily leaving 'him' I cannot say; it is only another illustration of the superiority of woman in the insight born of sympathy. This slight poem has all that strange blending of outward cynicism and inward emotion which distinguishes Gordon's reflective verse, and is very similar in tone to the more powerful poem addressed to his sister on his leaving England, to be found in the appendix to the collected edition of his works, and which, it appears, was written before he set sail, so that his 'hand' was not quite 'untried' at verse-making. But though this unpretentious little poem cannot lay claim to the distinction of being the first effort of the poet's genius, many persons at least in Australia will be grateful to its preserver, to whom I return my best thanks for the permission to publish it. [A.P.M.]'(p 523)