Northern Rivers

‘Northern Rivers’ was a birthday present from Paul. He passed me the words, handwritten. They revealed he might have a deeper understanding of my roots than I thought I’d shared. The song is not really mine, or even about me anymore. It’s for anyone who can imagine themselves there, I suppose. – Siân Darling

– Paul Kelly

She was born by northern rivers
Where the land breathes fire and flood
She can tell the coming weather
In her bones, her body and her blood
I was born here on a southern bay
Concerning myself I don’t have much to say 

She grew up on northern rivers
Coloured birds sang her out of bed each day
She made friends with wild creatures
They were her dreaming, her study and her play
She’s kind of wild too, hard to keep in view
The more I know her the less I do 

She came down from northern rivers
Made her home here on a southern bay
The winter winds here make her shiver
But she discovers new wonders every day
She’s God’s own wonder, I’m telling you
The more I know her, the less I do 

Now the birds here have had their season
They’re all fed up and getting ready to fly
She will always have a reason
To take her leave in the good old bye and bye
Whatever she does, to herself she’s true
The more I know her the less I do 

I was born here on a southern bay
There ain’t much more now, that I need to say 

Northern Rivers lyrics © Sony Music Publishing (Australia) Pty Limited 

Artwork: Dan Kyle. December Downpour (Detail), 2021. Oil and mixed media on canvas, 180 x 110cm