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The Place That Became The Place to Become

The Place That Became the Place to Become with Imagination

By Robin Brown (1971–1973)

We look down upon this stone
and ask what is this College
which from it has grown?
It is grey bricks and mortar
settled low by Sullivan’s water.
Deep-set sombre in each wall
are long, long window lines
which perpendicular poplars tall
cross pointing to the skies.
But more, much more it is
than just what meets our eyes.

It’s a pad for launching lives
to futures but faintly seen.
It’s where much questioning thrives
of what and why and what’s been
and too, what might come yet.
It’s a place of essay toiling
perhaps in late night fret
long after the last song’s note
from the Chat Noir might float.

It’s a place of wild imaginings,
of how the world could be
of how the world should be.
And strong the song of community
within its walls loud rings.
And if we listen with great care
there are older songs which we can hear
songs of the first people of this ancient land
on which respectfully now we stand.

Now this is a place of privilege great.
And some might sad be bent
to not so noble a pursuit,
but to better humanity’s fate
much more is soundly spent
and bears abundant fruit.

And so it is well named
after that earnest man
who is quite justly famed
for the life-long race he ran.
In whose imagination
was a world of dignity
in every single nation
and true equality.

Read more recollections from Robin and wife Jill McSpedden in The enduring love stories of Burgmann College as it celebrates 50 years (The Canberra Times, 14 February 2021)

Download a copy of The Place That Became The Place to Become here.

Robin Brown and Jill Mc Spedden Wedding 4 12 76 at Burgmann College Front Lawn Then 1 2 1
Mr Robin Brown and Mrs Jill McSpedden on their wedding day at Burgmann College, 1976
Robin and Jill Lac Leman Switzerland 2013 on Cycling Tour Now 2 1
Mr Robin Brown and Mrs Jill McSpedden in 2013
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