One of the most time consuming, although thoroughly enjoyable, items on my ‘to do’ list, is to sort through old photos I inherited from my parents. I have two brand new scrapbook style albums, which will become the new home for most of the photos, after they have all been scanned and labelled.
Another album I have to work on is a very old photographic record of my parents voyage in 1951, on the ship the “SS New Australia”, which brought them and their three young daughters from Southampton, England to Sydney, Australia, a journey taking them over one month, when they travelled across the world in search of a new and improved life.
In among a paper bag full of photos I discovered three restaurant menus, carefully saved and well preserved after all these years from their weeks on the “SS New Australia”.
On the back of one of the menus, printed Wednesday, December 6, 1950, I found a poem. As I read the poem, I couldn’t help but think what a thoughtful gesture it had been, giving these immigrants so much hope for their future lives, in particular with the line “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it”.
As they embarked on their new lives, they had the whole world in the palm of their hand!
Note~ After deciding to record these thoughts here today and researching how many others there were on the same voyage as my parents (over 1,500 people) I happened to notice the date when they arrived at their destination of Sydney, Australia.
The “SS New Australia” sailed into Sydney Harbour on the March 19, 1951, exactly sixty-one years ago today. And just by coincidence, today is the eightieth anniversary of the opening of the “Sydney Harbour Bridge”!
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“If” by Rudyard Kipling
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
And make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch and toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold On!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings, nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”
5 thoughts on ““Yours is the Earth and Everything that’s in it””
What an inspiring poem, with wonderful, timeless advice. Your parents were very brave to cross the ocean to find a better way of life – I admire immigrants for their courage and willingness to take a chance on something new. I wonder if all 1,500 people on the *New Australia* were immigrants?
Love the synchronicity of the *New Australia* arriving exactly sixty-one years ago on the day you went to post this story!
It’s a great poem, isn’t it? I read through it three times during the day and each time I read it, the words became more and more significant.
Yesterday morning I had been speaking to my sister on the phone and she was talking about her memories of going to primary school. She said to me “I started school the year I turned six, so that would have been 1952. When we arrived in Australia I was still only four, because we arrived in March 1951 and I didn’t turn five until June”. Neither of us thought about it being March now!
I hadn’t thought about it before, but perhaps some of the passengers were returning to Australia! That’s a good point Barbara! My parents only spoke of meeting other English families on the ship, but there’s no way they could have got to know all 1500 passengers!
How wonderful to have all that, Joanne! I had hoped to go through old photos that my parents had, but nobody seems to know what happened to them since Mom died.
Loved the poem, too. 🙂