The north wind is tossing the leaves

The north wind is tossing the leaves. John Harry Rupert Angior Wheeler* (1901-84). John Wheeler was born in the small town of Colac in the state of Victoria, Australia, and there is a local anecdote that the text was written as the result of a very hot and windy day in Colac. Leaves from the plane trees lining the streets were blowing round the poet’s feet and those of his friend the composer William James*, and both men were attempting to keep the dust out of their eyes. Wheeler reportedly said, ‘Why do we sing about robins and snow when the north wind is tossing the leaves and there is red dust everywhere?’ They went on to write a number of distinctively Australian carols, of which this...

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