City Grammar 1963 -  New Building at Stradbroke


Below the grey and cloud-filled sky
Full of horses, dragons and witches riding on grey clouds
Full of rain pouring on the earth,
Yellow and black pom-pommed hats
Crown the men that work on the building site below.
Kings of the building site, no one to intrude,
No one to usurp their domain.
Green fields beyond, but all they care about
Is the mud of the building site.
The yellow mud squelches and squeals
As the labourers slither at their work.
Coats stiff with mud----
Men not able to move their arms----
Grey mountains of yellow clay----.
Suddenly the silence is shattered by the roar of a bulldozer
Ripping the once crowded playground.
Grey rippling puddles seem to spring from nowhere.
Earth seems to fly from the deep trenches.
Everything is damp,
A dreary dampness covers everything.
Suddenly all is quiet.
No men are singing
Even the puddles have stopped quivering
As the men go quietly home.

B. Earnshaw (1a)


STILLNESS hangs over the deserted building site like an invisible cloud. The noisy machines are now silent, standing like sleeping giants. The stretched neck of the crane towers above the sludgy ground. Constant rain has made the ground squelchy, and muddy pools give off reflections of the machines. Shovels, picks and forks are propped up against the wooden fence, which is blown down in places. A stray dog picks its way across the uneven, gritty ground. Deep tread- marks left by the mechanical diggers lie impressed in the soft clay.

As darkness drifts away, the rumble of lorries can be heared, bringing the labourers to work. The machines come to life Surveyors in clean grey overcoats pace out the length of the foundations, with only mud-spattered boots in common with the builders, who wear old, bulky woollen jumpers under muddy donkey-jackets, and trousers patched after being torn on sharp tools and spikes.

Soon the site rings with the sound of pick-axes on hard rock; then suddenly the mechanical digger shudders into action, groaning with the weight it is lifting. After a while the dumper truck arrives. Quickly the digger starts scooping earth and mud from around the stagnant pools and dropping it into the lorries, one of which, carrying stones, sticks in the mud, and the labourers have to push it out with the help of an oily bulldozer. The air smells of oil and petrol mixed. The digger stops; one caterpillar truck spins round and splashes through the pools. It resumes its dinosaur-like movements and again scoops away the mud and rock.

At twelve oclock work stops for lunch and again the site is deserted.

Vivien Hitchen and David Kitching (1b)