Your front page of last Wednesday’s Bay Post/Moruya Examiner (27/6/12) was eye-catching for two reasons.
The positive attraction was the photo and theme, but the negative aspect refers to the unAustralian term “trails”.
It is unfortunate that those who are not familiar with our heritage and language have to rely on foreign terms and ignore the language of our pioneers.
Perhaps it is the continuing cringe, which believes that we are not as good as the traditions from England or the USA.
Americans have great confidence in their heritage and would not use the language of other countries, even for the reason of increased tourism, which Australia does without shame.
Most Americans come to Australia to experience our culture, not see it as an extension of their own.
Other than for poetic reasons, the word trail did not exist in the Australian vernacular until Australian bureaucrats visited the USA to learn fire control and national park techniques.
These people started off with the term “fire trail”. Conversely, while trying to save one part of our heritage they saw no conflict in destroying another, a part of the language that had passed down to us.
Having known pioneering stock from the Upper Deua River, and elsewhere, who constantly used bridle tracks as means of transport until recent times, I can assure doubtful readers that the term they used was bridle track.
We pay great homage to our fallen in wars overseas, but why not show respect for our pioneers who came before us, who battled the hardships of isolation, drought, bushfire, lack of medical service and other privation? They built this country and gave us our unique and often colourful language.
In his 1890 poem A Word to Texas Jack, Henry Lawson wrote: “Where’s my country gone?”.
I suspect old Henry would be rolling in his grave if he could see and hear the disrespect shown for our language today.
I suggest that if people are interested in the terms track and trail they use the website: http://simplyaustralia.net/article-tracktrail.html.
Chris Woodland, Termeil