On Australia Day last year, Snowy Mountain local Nick Kirshner stepped in at the last minute to read two classic Aussie poems on the country’s highest peak.
“Thredbo Resort asked me last year to do it. I said I would be happy to. I think they wanted someone else but he wasn’t able to so I stepped in. We had a really good time. There were quite a few people up there. At midday I read The Man From Snowy River and then I read My Country. It was pretty neat,” said Nick.
“It’s such a fitting scene for both of them. I wasn’t too sure about My Country. But it suited it and the crowd enjoyed it thoroughly. They told me that it was well done.”
While our national holiday is most associated with throwing a Frisbee on the beach, a quintessentially Australian option might also be heading to the Snowy Mountains and hiking through the unique alpine terrain that inspired Banjo Patterson to pen The Man From Snowy River. This iconic poem, which was first published in 1890, recounts the pursuit of a colt that had escaped and was living with wild brumbies.
“This area is my home. I have a personal connection to the poem but its part of our heritage. It represents everything this district is renowned for. Banjo did such a good job at capturing that in one poem. It reminds of the old timers when I was a young lad and the stories they told. We are searching for the true man from Snowy River but I think he is one of many or many of one,” he said.
“It talks about spirit and what it takes to make it in this country. You have to be prepared for anything. Face it head on and believe that things will get better soon otherwise you wouldn’t keep at it.”
Following from Nick’s success last year, he will again recite these classic poems on Sunday from Mt Kosciuszko. To prepare for the reading, Nick listens to how Jack Thompson delivers the verse but he doesn’t attempt to copy the great actor. To get in the mood, Nick, who runs a small farm with sheep and cattle, heads up to the paddock near his shearing shed and lets the scenery inspire the language.
But this year it will be a family affair with his 12 year old daughter, Madison joining him on the podium. She will recite a poem that she wrote herself about this country being her home. Nick tells Flight Centre that the piece, which is entitled Drought, is particularly well written and that Madison does her work justice.
After the formalities, Nick doesn’t have any specific plans how he will spend the rest of Australia Day. Last year, he bumped into a few mates and they headed to the Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery, where they told yarns well into the night.
For visitors to the region, Thredbo have organised a barbeque on the summit – making it the highest BBQ in the country. Back in village there’ll be plenty of entertainment to keep revellers occupied including a cricket match and a poolside party. Cover bands will provide the tunes through the afternoon and evening.