Gathering: This song was written for the 1993 Tallangatta Gathering. It was written by Jill Stevens, Melbourne geologist and singer- songwriter, who wrote the song as a gift for the Gathering. It was sung many times during the gathering weekend and promoted a special bond between all the women. Jill sang more songs that displayed a deep understanding of the rural women's plight. Ann Jarvis, a local farmer, contributed the last verse.
Author/s: Jill Stevens, 1993. Last verse - Ann Jarvis.
We came here to this gathering of farming Women proud,|
For we had the need to tell our women's stories loud.
We came to tell of love and hope at home, our struggles and despair,
And were given strength and friendship, as we laughed and cried and shared.
Some women came with heavy hearts, not sure if they could cope,
Sharing problems, thoughts and rainbows with others gave them hope.
For troubled times and ruined crops and stock have left some feeling ill,
With caring smiles and friendly hugs our darkest thoughts were killed.
Our hands are joined in strength and joy, and love,
Our race is not yet run,
So for Aussies women farmers,
Raise your voices 'We are One'!
We've ploughed the fields and harvested and raised the lambs and calves,
And we've worked from dawn til twilight, never done a job by halves.
How we shouted at the storm clouds, when our wheat was shot by rain,
But women's grit was all we had in childbirth's silent pain.
Some couldn't stop their men, who curse the land that hurts their pride,
For the banks could call the mortgage, and they wouldn't stop the slide.
Others join in equal partnerships, women, men and farm,
And some work in solitude, through season's storms and calm.
Our children run in freedom where the native grasses sway.
Our joy is in their learning and in the gifts we give away.
The future of this land is theirs, in our hands that work the soil,
Nurturing and caring in our family days of toil.
We've celebrated joyously with nature's bounty grand,
The green and gold known only to those who love this land.
The sudden change in fortunes which lifted spirits high,
Just strengthened our decision to stay here till we die.