The Reverend Hellfire is on Holiday and has returned to the Dreaming on magickal Minjerribah (AKA Stradbroke Island). In the meantime we reprint his heart-felt tribute to this sacred place, “Stradbroke Song”…




Be Muse to me now, murmuring Minjerribah,

lying in the lap-lap of the Ocean.

I am gulled and lulled to sleep

by windsong and wave

in the ebb-web of your tides.

I am drugged to Dreaming by your breathe,

clean-scented with the she-oak and the salt-spray.

Sweet as Ambrosia to the Gods

the perfume of your breezes/ the

morning tang of wood smoke

hanging in the crystal air.

Your waters like wine the colour of

living jewels/ the colour of

green fire.

Gradience of Aquamarine shades into

Amethyst into Indigo charming the eye

with its surreptitious spell,

whilst I breathe a breeze like opium dreams,

heavy with hashish and honey.

Whimsical Minjerribah,

most of your birds are Invisible here it seems,

and speak in a cartoon gibberish.

Your insects are miniature science-fiction masterpieces.

Muscular dragons amble out of the Jurassic

to raid picnic hampers & eskies.

Your colours like a child’s drawing,

all creamy cartoon crayons,

Piling on the primary shades thickly.

Sunsets fade through delicate pastel greys

and greens. The sea slides

through several darker shades of the spectrum,

the Shadows deepen, emerging from the scrub and ocean,

and night erupts like a Van Gogh Vision.

At night the beach is a different world,

mysterious, ancient, brooding.


Like the whales returning to their haunts

year after year

the same families return to pitch their holiday tents

in the same sites.

Each summer vacation

brings this seasonal migration,

the schools of humans playing in the shallows,

the aging surfers seeking to recapture,

some long ago lost summer love,

tanned in an orange bikini.

Sometimes the dolphins remember the ancient compact

they once held with those who lived here first,

and return to frolic and play with the swimmers,

shadowing the surfers riding the waves in sport.


O traveller!

Show respect to mighty Minjerribahs power

or fall a fool

to its snares for the unwary.

Death lurks amongst the shallows and the currents

and the rocks.

Masquerading as adders sunning themselves

peaceably upon the paths.

Tread carefully friend

or feel its sting.


We stopped the bridge from being built,

and the horrors it would have brought,

umbilicaled to the mainland’s apron strings.

Still, sad signs of “Progress” have been wraught.

Once a noble breed of bush brumbies

roamed your beaches, wandered your streets

and raided peoples rubbish bins

if given half a chance.

Now the bureaucrats have had these horses

rounded up and shot,

in the name of civic ordinances

and hygiene. Soulless scum.

Now your ramshackle island charm

has been somewhat tidied up.

Your tumble-down fibro & tin weekend shacks

have been replaced

by the slick “holiday homes” of the rich.

The corner fish & chip shop has turned

into a trendy bistro.

Arrogant suburban cowboys in 4-wheel drives,

cruise the beaches, scattering lovers,

crushing turtle eggs

and Eugarie shells buried in the sands.

Shark nets kill your turtles,

greedy fishermen trawl your reefs.

Drunken slack-jawed teenagers

smash bottles on your rocks,

leave litter lying, drying in the sun.

Still, so much remains,

five minutes walk in almost any direction

will lead you to some beautiful

forgotten corner yet.


Poor scared Minjerribah.

Yes your Beauty still lingers,

though the Sand-miners have razed

and raped you.

Despoiled your dunes,

flattened the middens,

ripped out your guts for rutile.

And in return the Company

bitchumened your roads

as a public service.(It was only a coincidence

that it made it easier for their trucks to haul

their precious plunder away.)


Glad they were, the Miners,

the Planners & the Profiteers,

when that old Witch died,

you know, the black one.

Walking around like she owned the place,

putting a pox on all their houses.

I tell you we need a new witch today

to chase the tractors

and developers away.



Every fucking grain of sand here is Sacred.

Every drop of water.

Every rock.

Every leaf. Every shell washed up by the tide.

Every insect beeping to itself in the grass.

sacred! Sacred! SACRED!!!

Will those despoiling bastards never see?

Oh Minjerribah!

I weep bitter tears for your destruction,

tears more salt than your sunbaked flats,

weep for what is lost.

Minjerribah! I treasure what remains,

knowing that you bide your time.

Minjerribah, you will repair your dunes,

in a hundred years, or a thousand.

The sea levels will rise and fall,

and your cliffs shall out-face them all.

Minerribah! Teach me to endure as you do.


I promise you this, oh Island mine,

I will renew this pilgrimage

all the days of my Life.

I will return to sing more songs of you

and lie on your radiant sands again and again,

and breast the waves of your surging surfs.

I will dive deep once more

into your still, brown Tea-tree lakes

and blue water lagoons/ their mysterious surface,

rippled by the winds.

Now the reeds are whispering to themselves,

can you hear them/ can you hear

their secret, too?



The Reverend Hellfire is a practising performance Poet and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists AND the Church of the Universe.

He won’t lie to you like the others.



~ by reverendhellfire on January 22, 2012.

11 Responses to “GONE TO MINJERRIBAH”

  1. An irreverent reverend’s witty and colourful personal paradise for peasants
    and the damned.

    • you can come too.

      • I’ll be happy join you in your paradise when I die. Cani make a booking now?

      • I’ll be happy join you in your paradise when I die. Can I make a booking now?
        I am already a fully qualified sinner – and I can supply references of the most despicable kind.
        Otherwise I could confess my sins, be saved and sent to that other paradise up the stairs to flit around a cloud or two, meet and hopefully cavort with angel while being serenaded by the harp.
        What would suggest Reverend Hellfire? – apart from damnation – which seems to be your speciality!

      • Hassan I Sabbah used to show his followers a preview of Paradise prior to sending them off to their assasination duties, so they could perform their murderous tasks calm in the knowledge that, thanks to their master hassan, Heaven awaited them. As I recall, “Paradise” in this case included drugs, dancing girls and a rather nice fruit platter.(I don’t think Osama bin Laden was that sophisticated when training his assasins.)
        My line is this; Why wait till you die to go to Paradise? Paradise is all around us if we but have the eyes to see.
        Paradise is all around but we have turned it into a hell.

  2. I hope I may be forgiven, but I too have visited Stradbroke Island and wrote a poem about it–though the poem is not as good as yours. It was a few years back, and I have only been there once, but here is the poem:


    Green waters of Quandamooka surrounded the boat
    And splashed sea rhythms against the hull.
    South and North Stradbroke Islands rose out of the ocean
    Covered with the dark green of trees and brush.
    A dark line of cormorants flew swiftly, closely over waves.
    As we left Cleveland Harbor mangrove trees,
    With breathing roots and leaves excreting salt,
    Umbrellaed over waters that covered their soil
    And made them look like they were floating upright in ocean.
    A stiff wind blew down the channel between island and continent.
    Waves capped white, glinted sunlight, undulated in long rolls
    Across the bay toward the Pacific Ocean.

    On North Stradbroke we drove into hills
    Filled with talwalpin, grass, sand paper, mangrove, pine, and other trees.
    We turned a corner and looked down on a white sand beach
    Guarded by huge boulders spraying white waves
    Into the clear winter sky dancing with sunlight.
    The young Aborigine man with us said
    That during the right times of the year whales
    Moved slowly, like immense shadows, through the coves waters,
    Surfacing to blow great plumes of seawater into air.

    At another bay, standing on the rocky point that jutted into ocean,
    Five large pelicans swam placidly, looking for fish,
    Or sat on large round poles driven into the water.
    We were told that a midden was not far away.
    The shells of the island’s middens, we were told,
    Consisted of oysters, whelks, cockles, and periwinkles.
    The ancient heritage of the island’s people
    Is partially told in these rubbish heaps.

    After a feast provided by the elders, traditional owners of the land,
    We learned about hunting the dugong
    Using tworow nets five feet in diameter.
    We held the heavy ribs of the seal-brown dugong
    And could see how they were used to make the ribs of canoes.

    Once the Aboriginal people of the island
    Walked waist deep into the ocean, clapped their spears together,
    Slapped them on water, and used them to dig into sand,
    Making a squeaking sound, a song.
    Dolphins heard their calling and would herd fish,
    Mullet, bream, tailor, and whiting, into the people’s nets.
    The nets wove ocean, dolphins, and humans together.
    After the calling fires were built.
    Bright flames danced and smoked into a dark sky.
    Both the dolphins and the people were fed.

    That was before the sea ate away island land,
    Swallowed homes and a racetrack, and made fishing more difficult
    After the colonizers came and started mining white sand
    For those who do not recognize the elders’ great wisdom.

    • Thom.,
      Yes, I must confess I am rather possesive about my beautiful Minjerribah but I am delighted to hear you have experianced its charms and I am proud to have your fine tribute poem appear here on Sunday Sermons.
      I’m also impressed that you bothered to go and talk with the islands original guardians. (They still know a few secrets about the place that they don’t tell to just anyone)
      The best midden heaps were unfortunately destroyed by the sandminers. Some were twenty feet high and weird stuff would sometimes turn up in them, like old portugese coins. They weren’t just rubbish heaps, they represented six thousand years of feasting and plenty. Six thousand years of cultural continuity. Six thousand years of tribal traditions.
      I am old enough to remember what the seventeen mile long Main Beach looked like before the sand miners got to it. The sand dunes (among the tallest in the world) stretched in parts half a mile inland. Some were crowned with little stands of twisted banksia and filled with parrots. You’d find odd stands of dead tree trunks poking out of the shifting sands like skeleton hands where parts of the bush had been swallowed by the dunes..Standing in the middle of the dunes was like standing in another world, especially at night.
      They razed it all and spewed out what remained in one ugly compacted mass of unvariegated sand. They tried to hide the scar by planting an unrelieved monoculture scrub of she-oak where nothing else lived and called it “regeneration”
      I will never forgive them. In this world or the next.

      • I was actually on the island as the result of a meeting of the World Indigenous Higher Education Consortium, which I had a minor role in founding, so I was taken there by our Aborigine hosts. That was a truly memorable trip to your land, and I cannot tell you how exciting it was to read your poem. I shall never forgive the miners either. I will stand shoulder to shoulder with you. We’ve had enough of unmitigated greed and the glorification of greed. I would rather visit Stradbroke Island or the red cliffs of New Mexico and ponder the meaning of middens and of golden eagles dark against a bright summer sky. Thanks for both the poem and your reply to my reply.

      • A Friend of Stradbroke is a Friend of Mine.

  3. I just loved your poem.

  4. […] https://reverendhellfire.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/979/ […]

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