C.J. Dennis, Australian Poet made his home in the ancient forests of Toolangi during the early 20th Century.  

He writes ~ sentimentally ~ of Healesville and the hills that call her.


C. J. Dennis(1876 – 1938), Australian Poet



Healesville is a smiling lass,

    'Mid her encircling hills,

Where down full many a mountain pass 

  The gold of wattle spills.

She holds her hands out to the Spring,   

E'er upon pleasure bent;

Yet knowing that each year will bring –

 When comes the time of blossoming –

    Profit for her content. 


Healesville is a sorceress,  

 With magic gifts imbued:

 For each year, with the wattles' dress,

   She finds her youth renewed.

So, ever young and ever gay,  

 She bids, at each rebirth,

The weary toilers here to stray,

And pass the sunlit hours away 

  In idleness and mirth. 


Healesville keeps a boarding-house --   

She likes to entertain;

 She scorns to play the country mouse; 

  But, pert and rather vain.

 With lip-stick, rouge and marcelled hair,

   Would add to her renown

For carefree mirth;

 and seeks to wear

The smart, sophisticated air

   Of flappers fresh from Town.


Healesville calls you to her hills,

   While summer suns look down,

To join the carnival that fills 

  With merriment her town.

Then as late autumn's shadows creep  

 Across the western plain,

 And winter snowfalls clothe the steep.

 She settles to her beauty sleep   

Till springtime comes again.  

Herald, 17 January 1934, p6



Healesville Calling Hills

The hills that circle Healesville, they are calling to the town;

They are crooning, they are calling night and day:

“Come you hence, you city toiler! Set your weary burden down:

Tarry here with us a little while to play.

No rest is there in city streets, and little ease to find:

But the hills that shelter Healesville hold content and peace of mind.


“Have you sighed for peace in cities?  Has it fled you by the seas?

Seek our vales and we will give you grateful rest –

With green wonderland above you and ferns about your knees.

Where the mountain thrush is fluting by the nest;

Where the shy grey thrush is piping and the golden whistler calls,

On the hills that shelter Healesville, by the tinkling waterfalls.”


Then to linger in Toolangi when the sun is on the hills,

And the tall trees reach aloft to rake the clouds,

Or to wander through the wattle by the laughing mountain rills –

Is to gain a joy unguessed by fretting crowds.

And here is balm for jaded hearts, and salve for weary eyes:

For the hills that shelter Healesville are physicians old and wise.


So the wide old hills shall shield you, and a benison be there,

And a mountain melody to cheer the way:

While within the scented forest shall you know curcease from care

Mid the hills where it is playtime all the day –

The crowning hills, the crooning hill, the calling hill that stand

Gay sentinels of Healesville, green-walled by fairyland.



C.J. Dennis (1928)

Published in “The Weekly Times”, December 22, 1930

Re-published Healesville & Yarra Glen Guardian, Saturday 28 March, 1931, p 4

Found in Nora's Kitchen dresser, now sitting pride of place in The Willow House


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