List of Claude Morris' Poems
  A Grave Situation    
  A Rum Complaint    
  Commercial TV D.T.s    
  The Draw-Back    
  The Eucalyptus Cutter    
  The Legend of Angel Creek
  The Run-up    
  The Shooting Of Sam McHugh    
  The Topaz Trail    

Claude Morris Eulogy 1908 ˜ 1996

Written by Daphne Stocks (daughter of Claude Morris)


When I am gone, if you care for me,
Raise up no stone, just plant a tree.
Plant it where no tides will reach,
Plant it there beyond the beach.
Where oft I've watched the dawn unfold
To wash the sky with rose and gold
And dim the stars and one by one
They shield their eyes to watch the sun.
Awake and rise and day is born!

The verse I have just recited is the first stanza of a poem called "Just Plant a Tree", written by Claude Morris.

Claude was born in 1908, in the old tin mining town of Watsonville, just west of Herberton, the youngest of five children, with his brothers Billy, Jack and Roy and his sister Daisy all pre-deceasing him.

His family moved to Kulara, a little town near Yungaburra, but long since covered by the waters of Lake Tinaroo. Here Claude received his schooling, and on leaving school, worked for a short time with the Main Roads, and then for six months at the Atherton Butter Factory, before joining the Queensland Railways as a lad porter at Mareeba and Millaa Millaa.

He met his future wife of 65 years, Florence May Minns, in Mareeba and they were married in Atherton in February 1931, and they made their first home in Millaa Millaa where their two children Daphne and Donald were born. Railway workers were always on the move in those days, and during his years of Railway service as Night Officer and Station Master, he later worked and lived in Mareeba, Tolga, Bowen, Longford Creek, Gordonvale, Cairns, Cardwell and El Arish, where he took early retirement in 1971.

Upon his retirement they lived in Gordonvale, Edmonton and then back to Gordonvale to 11 Buzacott St. After breaking a hip in 1993, and coupled with the complications of Parkinson's Disease, his life took a downward turn. This misfortune eventually led to a forced move, together with his wife Flo, to the Pyramid Retirement Home, where they both remained until recently when failing health caused them both to be admitted to the Mary Potter nursing home in Cairns. Sadly, Claude could not accept this last change to his life style, and his health quickly deteriorated with death coming quickly and peacefully at 1p.m. on Friday Sept 20.

Claude is survived by his widow Flo, and his daughter Daphne Stocks, son Donald and six grand children and sixteen great grand children. Claude devoted almost his whole working life to the Queensland Railways and applied himself selflessly to his calling. He belonged to that rare breed of honest men, and never knew the meaning of the word "dishonesty". In fact in this day and age he was too honest, and his honesty was only matched by his profound integrity, and he was held in the highest regard by all who knew him.

He was a good sportsman in his younger days and played both Rugby League and Cricket with considerable flair, and he played his last game of cricket at the ripe old age of 43. When he moved to Bowen, Longford Creek and Cardwell, fishing became his favourite pastime, and upon retiring, he turned his attention to fossicking and gem stone collecting, and together he and Flo spent many happy years roaming the rugged North Queensland bushland that he loved so passionately. Age gradually took its toll on his outdoor activities, and the last eleven of his 88 years were spent relatively quietly in Gordonvale.

He was a very gifted and accomplished poet, and his retirement allowed him to devote more time to his natural gift, and his little anthology of bush poetry featuring most of his poems and entitled "The Legend of Angel Creek and Other Ballads", is a glowing tribute to his prowess as a master of rhyme and descriptive and humorous verse, and no doubt will provide a legacy for generations of Australians to come. Claude's poetry was a mirror to his character and inner self, and his soul he laid bare with the magical use of his written words. No doubt with his impending passing in mind, the last words Claude penned to you, his relatives and friends, were typical of the man and provide a fitting epitaph for a person of such exceptional quality.

Those last written words were as follows:

"Good bye old friends, long night extends
To stretch from shore to shore,
When you and I must say goodbye
Perhaps, forever more".

Claude Morris, Rest in Peace.




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The Legend of Angel Creek by Claude Morris