Dorothea Mackellar’s My Country is one of Australia’s most widely recited and beloved poems. Reflective of the author’s great love of the Australian landscape, the poem has become one of the most recognised and celebrated pieces of Australian poetry ever written.
In tribute to Dorothea’s iconic poem and as homage to the stunning Australian landscapes she evoked, The Perth Mint is delighted to issue four beautifully illustrated silver coins each inscribed with famous lines from My Country.
Dorothea Mackellar (1885 – 1965)
Dorothea Mackellar was born in 1885 at Point Piper, Sydney, the third of four children and only daughter of Doctor Charles Mackellar and his wife Marion. From an early age, Dorothea had a keen interest in poetry and story-telling, and had many of her poems and novels published throughout her lifetime.
Dorothea Mackellar OBE
In 1904, after spending an extended period abroad in London, and feeling homesick for Australia, Dorothea began writing My Country. Several re-writes later, the poem was published in The Spectator in London in 1908, under its original title, Core of My Heart.
Inspired by her experiences on the family’s rural properties near Gunnedah and the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Dorothea’s poetry reflected a love and appreciation for the variety and beauty of the Australian bush and country living, and My Country was no exception.
The poem presented a contrast between the English and Australian landscapes at a time when many Australians still considered themselves to be British. The poem’s first stanza acknowledged this feeling, but Dorothea left no doubt as to where her personal preference lay. Revealing her sense of great national pride, it was the second stanza that would resonate most powerfully with Australian audiences for more than 100 years.
I love a sunburnt country,
(Mackellar, Dorothea 1907 – 1908, ‘My Country’ (Ref: A1605001). State Library of NSW.)
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!
2015 Sunburnt Country 1oz Silver Rectangle Coins
The four rectangular coins are inspired by Dorothea’s ‘sweeping plains’, ‘ragged mountain ranges’, ‘drought and flooding rains’, and ‘jewel-sea’, which are artistically represented on the reverses with well-known Australian animals. Each coin is inscribed with the immortal words I LOVE A SUNBURNT COUNTRY, together with the appropriate line from her second verse.
Issued as Australian legal tender, each coin has a maximum mintage of just 5,000.
This month, we’re pleased to present the magnificent 2015 Sunburnt Country 1oz Silver Four-Coin Set, which has an Issue Limit of just 750.
Also available in individual presentation packaging with an Issue Limit of 4,250 is the 2015 Sunburnt Country – A Land of Sweeping Plains 1oz Silver Coin. (The remaining three coins from this delightful series will subsequently be released individually on a bi-monthly basis.)
Dorothea was extremely humble about her talent. She “never professed to be a poet. I have written—from the heart, from imagination, from experience—some amount of verse’.* These coins reflect the significance of My Country and just how much her unforgettable words are treasured in Australian hearts.
*Ref: Australian Dictionary of Biography.
© 2015 DME
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