Sometimes music takes you into the bush and it is these times you remember who you truly are are. I’m here in Inverell for the next few months celebrating the life of my Uncle Lincoln who passed away on the 23 August.
My Uncle Lincoln represented everything it meant to be creative, eccentric and true to yourself. Though I must place a disclaimer here that being true to yourself can often create a lot of work for your siblings. He had a great love of knowledge and must have read and observed extensively as his conversations spread through bird calls, geology, bush poetry, stars in the night sky, state of origin robberies, dogs and of course, local fencing skirmishes and its associated warfare.
Over the last few days we have been cleaning up the farm ready for sale while reminiscing over old relics and memories. Crocodile skins and skulls, old shark jaws with rows of jagged teeth, bird field guides with detailed notes, volcanic rocks, hand-cut gems, bush and bark paintings, long forgotten sketches and stamps, pirate gold and hand-molded pottery.
His pottery sat in dust covered display cases for decades, finally coming out and into their glory yesterday as we laid them out, dust and all on the step. Wow. I think we had all forgotten how incredibly talented he was as we saw the Australian bush represented through his eyes and hands
Yes the bush setting at Bannockburn was perfect for his final goodbye and a small piece of pottery, his old hat and some hand picked wattle by his sister Rosemary was lowered along with coffin. Somehow a butcherbird knew what was happening and sang along after pecking away at some grubs in the dirt a short distance away.
I’ll miss my uncle and his unique (though often grumpy) ways but possibly not as much as my cousin Maya who read one of Lincoln’s poems at the funeral. I’ll share it with you now after copying it from the service sheet.
The Pioneer Valley
Beneath the steamy Capricornia skies
the curlew’s eerie call echos
across the banks of the Pioneer River,
where quondong guava and mountain ash
rise above the waving guinea grass.
Wisps of mist go floating gracefully
by the majestic Eungella mountains;
bandicoots forage under tall cane stools,
brolgas glide effortlessly overhead
while here and there on the horizon
the orange glow from a cane dire spreads
over the mushroom cloud above.
Lincoln Ward 1967
Uncle Lincoln, I will always be grateful for your knowledge, steadfast opinions and unique attitude.