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Croft JC. Imagining New England. 2006.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/9788
Imagining New England
During the 1830s, George Macdonald, afterwards Commissioner for Crown Lands in New England and founder of the settlement of Armidale, was stationed at Port Macquarie, where he frequented the great house of Major Archibald Clunes Innes, at Lake Innes. He stood one evening on the shores of the lake and looked west to the mountains of New England. He had a melancholic cast of mind and a deep reverence for the poetry and music of the high Romantic period, and his thoughts turned to the evanescent and mutable in beauty and life as he watched the sun set behind the hills of his home. He set out those thoughts in lines of his own: "The day is done! And the grey twilight sails With sightless wing athwart the fading view, Enveloping the mountains, woods, and vales With the dim tinge of evening's shadowy hue; While like thick phantoms gathering from the grave, The rising vapours cloak the lake's chill wave." And indeed, the lush landscape and the colourful and cosmopolitan society at Major Innes' establishment were soon to give way to the austerities and disappointments of life in Armidale. On the Tableland, Macdonald recorded in his diaries and logs his feelings about the local squatters and the bankruptcy of their conversation, limited as it was to the price of tallow at the Hunter, the weather and the blacks. Poets interested in serious music did not find life in Armidale as congenial as that on the coast, although Port Macquarie was still a penal settlement.