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Photographs supplied by John Huth

The "Babies of Walloon" memorial commemorates Henry Lawson's poem about the tragic drowning of two young sisters in 1891. The memorial consists of two sculptures of the young girls in a mosaic pool of waterlilies. 

Henry Lawson’s 1891 poem The Babies of Walloon told the tragic story of the drownings of sisters Bridget Kate and Mary Jane Broderick who were both students at Walloon State School. The girls aged six and nine, the daughters of lengthman on the railway at Walloon, near Ipswich, Queensland, were sent on an errand by their parents and it is supposed they were attracted by some water-lilies in a pool near their home. They were found drowned in six feet of water in March 1891.


Address:Karrabin - Rosewood Road, Henry Lawson Bicentennial Park , Walloon, 4306
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.605278
Long: 152.661389
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Culture
Approx. Event Start Date:March-1891
Approx. Event End Date:March-1891
Artist:Matthew Tobin


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:2006
Front Inscription

Ah!  the children love the lilies, while we elders are inclined 
To the flowers that have poison for the body and the mind. 

Better for the "strongly human" to have done with life as soon, 
Better perish for a lily like the Babies of Walloon. 

For they gather flowers early on the river far away, 
Where the everlasting lilies keep their purity for aye.

And while summer brings our lilies to the run and the lagoon 
May our children keep the legend of the Babies of Walloon.

Henry Lawson

The Babies of Walloon

He was lengthsman on the railway, and his station scarce deserved 
That "pre-eminence in sorrow" of the Majesty he served.

But as dear to him and precious were the gifts reclaimed so soon - 
Were the workman's little daughters who were buried near Walloon. 

Speak their names in tones that linger, just as though you held them dear; 
There are eyes to which the mention of those names will bring a tear. 

Little Kate and Bridget, straying in an autumn afternoon, 
Were attracted by the lilies in the water of Walloon. 

All is dark to us. The angels sing perhaps in Paradise 
Of the younger sister's danger, and the elder's sacrifice.

But the facts were hidden from us, when the soft light from the moon 
Glistened on the water-lilies o'er the Babies at Walloon.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au